TFword in Conversation With Sarah De Warren

Following mammoth collaborations with Markus Schulz and Christina Novelli, we sat down with revered vocalist and songwriter Sarah De Warren about her music, inspirations, collaborations, and more.

An accomplished vocalist, songwriter, artist, engineer, and publicist as well; she dons several roles in a day and aces them to perfection. This is one of the many reasons why Sarah De Warren serves as a role model for several up-and-coming artists from various backgrounds.

Painting intriguing tales through her power of words, and now having bossed the art of crafting raw emotions into lyrical masterpieces, every Sarah De Warren release is a magnum opus in its own right. Intense, energetic, and evocative, Sarah’s music has the ability to touch the deepest recesses of the human heart. With over a million listeners on Spotify and streams that are in multimillions, Sarah De Warren has racked up massive collaborations with giants like Kaskade, Gareth Emery, Mike Perry, Martin Jensen, Tritonal, Adventure Club, and Excision, to name a few.

Her capability to harness the raw power of words in the studio has been seamlessly translated into a live setting, with Sarah De Warren mesmerizing large-scale crowds at festivals like Ultra Music Festival, EDC Las Vegas and Ministry of Sound.

Now that she is fresh off two mammoth collaborations with Markus Schulz and Christina Novelli, we had a chat with Sarah De Warren about her latest tunes, how she goes about writing her music, her inspirations, plans for the rest of the year; and here is what she had to say:

TFword: You have been the driving force behind some of dance music’s most emblematic tunes. How has the journey been for you?
Sarah de Warren: It’s been a challenging, but deeply rewarding journey so far. I have been grinding for years, working up from small releases to major dance records. It sometimes looks like a career is defined by a handful of huge moments, but for me, it’s been about a steady stream of small breakthroughs that have gotten me to where I am now.

TF: We’ve witnessed some incredible music from Sarah de Warren in 2023. How would you sum up your experience with the year thus far?
Sarah de Warren: This year I have been travelling like crazy, so I haven’t actually had much time to stop and reflect on it all yet. I used to spend most of my time alone in the studio, focussing purely on writing and recording vocals, but this year I’ve been to festivals like Coachella, Ultra and EDC, to writing camps in places like Ibiza, Paris and LA, and I performed live at Parookaville, Creamfields and the iconic E11even in Miami with Markus Schulz.

I also had a crazy experience with a vocal sample I’d put on splice, which got picked up by Eli Brown and became the song of the summer – ‘Be The One’. I’ve been hearing my voice absolutely everywhere it’s nuts.

TF: Having worked with some of the biggest names electronic music has on offer. How has the experience been for you?
Sarah de Warren: It’s been varied. Not gunna lie, some artists are challenging to work with, but some are absolute legends. The DJs that have a high level of respect for the songwriting process, that credit and champion the vocalists on their records are a joy to work with.

TF: Vocalist, songwriter, artist and an engineer; you perform roles that require serious persistence and patience. How do you keep yourself motivated?
Sarah de Warren: So although I’m a solo artist, I actually collaborate all the time in my songwriting and recording process. I found that having good, talented people around me really helps me stay motivated and allows me to consistently turn out high quality work.

TF: Talk us through the earliest days when you started making music; how and when did it all begin for Sarah de Warren?
Sarah de Warren: I started writing songs around the age of 12 and I didn’t fit in with other kids at school, so I spent most of my time alone in the school studio or piano room working on my music. It was a blessing in disguise because I had my sad girl teenage emotions, and hours of time by myself to channel them into songs.

I had an amazing teacher (s/o Dan Baker) who taught me how to use the school studio so that I could start recording demos of the songs I was writing. This is when I started experimenting with vocal production and it evolved into a key part of my writing process.

Fast forward a few years, I moved to Manchester and fell in love with EDM. My high school emo days were officially over and I’d blossomed into a rave chick. That’s when I started to notice how much I loved the vocals and songwriting on my favorite club records.

I didn’t have any connections in the scene, so I started randomly messaging up & coming EDM producers on Soundcloud to send me beats so I could record vocals on them. Because I could write and record a song from start to finish, I was able to send them professional sounding vocals that worked perfectly over their beats. I did this for years from my bedroom and I gradually worked my way up from releasing on small Soundcloud blogs to the biggest dance labels in the world.

TF: Your presence and your voice have been an inspiration for so many up-and-coming artists. What would your message to them be?
Sarah de Warren:
My message is to look after your mind and your heart. Chasing awards, accolades, statistics, streaming numbers, chart positions, ticket sales, money, followers, etc. is a dangerous game in this industry as so many factors are out of your control. Instead, seek fulfillment in a loyal fanbase, having good people on your team, celebrating small wins, work/life balance, the joy of waking up and getting to make art every day.

TF: What would you describe as your best festival experience?
Sarah de Warren: Performing at Ultra Music festival with Gareth Emery in 2022. We had a live set up with drums, keys and guitar and I performed 2 songs with him, ‘Calling Home’ and ‘Electric Life’. We had the golden hour slot so the vibes were immaculate.

TF: If you could travel back in time in dance music’s history; what time would it be?
Sarah de Warren: Probably the 90s when trance music was first evolving and becoming popular, but before the 2000s when uplifting trance took over. I think that would’ve been a really interesting time to be a music maker and I would’ve loved to have been writing on the very first trance records.

TF: How does Sarah de Warren plan to close the year 2023?
Sarah de Warren: I’m going out to LA to write more for my own project and also focusing more on my live set so I can play shows next year. I’ll also be practising a lot for that! Come see me at a show 🙂

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