Detroit rocks. That is a given, but the trouble I have is finding out about all of the Detroiters that rock. There are just so many great musicians popping up all of the time, it is hard to keep up. Detroit Rock City's reputation as a breeding ground for creative, talented, and driven musicians has never waned -- in fact, one of my favorite local banks, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., just killed it on Conan O'Brian this past Monday.
Well, Guitar Center, through its Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter Contest, is making my job of finding local talent a little easier. They just announced the top ten finalists of their Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter Contest, which seeks to discover the nation's best unsigned singer-songwriter. Grammy award-winning producer John Shanks selected the top 10 finalists (out of 17,000 hopefuls), and one of the finalists is local singer/songwriter Sarah Bella (Rochester Hills, Michigan). Sarah will compete on Feb. 18 at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, where one winner will be selected to win an array of career-altering prizes including a three-song EP produced by Shanks -- whose resume boasts 60 million records sold, 43 #1 singles and 67 #1 albums with artists including Sheryl Crow, Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Bon Jovi and Alanis Morissette, as well as $10,000 cash and gear from Fender, Taylor, Shure, and Ernie Ball.
Before she travels to L.A., TheDetroiter.com reached out to Sarah to learn more about her career and this contest.
TheDetroiter.com: How did you get into singing/songwriting?
Sarah: I have been singing and songwriting as long as I can remember... I clearly remember writing lyrics during recess in elementary school. Although, I didn't make it public because I just thought of it as a hobby. I never thought I was good enough to do anything with it until I put some of my songs on YouTube. I am still taken back by the emails I get from people that tell me how my music has helped them.
TheDetroiter.com: Are you primarily a singer or a songwriter?
Sarah: I can't really say I am more a singer or a songwriter... it is really both. Although I will say that songwriting is my favorite aspect of music.
TheDetroiter.com: How would you describe your style?
Sara: It's really hard for me to define my own style, but it is definitely a mix of country, folk and rock.
TheDetroiter.com: Who or what inspires you?
Sarah: I am really inspired by truth. I think honesty is so important in songwriting, and that is what makes others connect.
TheDetroiter.com: Who are your mentors?
Sara: I am a really big fan of singer/songwriter Lori McKenna. I love how she's a mother of five and a wife and an amazing artist. Though I've never met her, she's like a mentor to me.
TheDetroiter.com: What is the Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter competition?
Sarah: Guitar Center's Singer songwriter contest is a search for the best unsigned singer/songwriter. Hit producer John Shanks has teamed up to hand pick the winner.
TheDetroiter.com: How important is this competition to your career?
Sarah: This would be the biggest door that has ever opened for me. It is a chance to record with an amazing Grammy winning producer and a chance to network within the industry.
TheDetroiter.com: What happens if you win the competition?
Sarah: If I win, I would work one on one with John Shanks on a three-song EP. I would also win $10,000 along with many other prizes from the sponsors.
TheDetroiter.com: Prior to this event, what was your biggest performance?
Sarah: Prior to this event, my biggest performance was the half-time show I played at the Detroit Piston's Game where I performed two of my songs.
TheDetroiter.com: Where do you want your career to be in five years?
Sara: In five years, I would love to be doing what I love for living. It is a dream to make my passion my job.
You can listen to some of Sara's music on her website SarahBellaMusic.com
Follow Colin Darke on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@colindarke