Local Soul Singer Sarah Bollinger Releases Debut Solo Album, Both/And

Miriam-Danielle Black
Sarah Bollinger
What I like most about St. Louis is...
Sarah Bollinger: our city's heritage of jazz and blues. We have a really rich musical history in St. Louis, which makes me feel like I'm part of a larger musical legacy. Living here and playing music here makes me feel like I'm walking in the footsteps of some of the greatest artists of all time and living into something bigger than myself. I also love that St. Louis has a big city vibe while still maintaining a small town feel. I love that I can both pack out a show at a big venue like The Pageant and also run into three people I know at the grocery store on the same day. It's a great big city where I also know all of my neighbors. I'm super proud to be a St. Louis girl!

I make music because... I am compelled to. Because I can't help but sing! I've been singing and playing piano ever since I can remember, and I just can't imagine doing anything else. I wake up singing and I go to bed singing. It's part of me. Music is ingrained in who I am.

I'm most inspired by... authenticity. I most appreciate artists who are real and raw. It's obvious when musicians are genuine and these are the kinds of people who inspire me to write, play and sing.

My most memorable show was... at Off Broadway when I saw Mumford and Sons. Off Broadway is a small, intimate venue here in south city, and I had the privileged of seeing Mumford and Sons here right before they went big. It was an amazing show and a packed house. The atmosphere was so great and the whole crowd was singing along. I felt like I was in on a beautiful secret right before it was shared with the rest of the world.

The best post-show food in St. Louis is... South City Diner, of course.

Five current artists worth listening to are... This is a tough question! There are so many! I've really been digging ZZ Ward recently, she has an amazing voice. The Alabama Shakes. I adore everything by Ben Folds because he can play piano like nobody else alive. Emeli Sande has a killer voice. I also can't get Macklemore and Ryan Lewis out of my stereo.

The most difficult lesson I've learned while playing music is... that unfortunately, some people don't always have my best interests in mind. As a musician, the challenge is to remain open to beauty while simultaneously being unshakable. You have to be both vulnerable and resolved, accessible and edgy, impressionable and tenacious. It's a tough line to walk. It's a both/and.

Location Info


The Gramophone

4243 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Music

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