Singing Her Heart: Grants Pass Songwriter Shares Meaning Through Her Music
Sometimes when we’re searching for answers, we find them in a song—the lyrics, the melody, the beat, all help convey the way we are feeling. Singer/songwriter Sarah Dion Brooks has opened herself up to be a source for healing, through her life and music, but even more from the power of words.
“Most of my songs have a meaning behind them, not to preach, but for myself. I write my blog, my meditations and my songs so I can become stronger and better,” she says (she’s also a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner). “So the more I say it, the more I believe it and become it, and if my music and the words help other people, it’s wonderful.”
She says she can’t really categorize herself with any particular music genre—maybe because she’s a conduit for what needs to flow through her at that moment, appearing deep and gritty, light and sarcastic or, as found in her jazz, sensual and direct.
“Channeling is a new word to me—there’s probably a lot of other words for it, but I like that one, it’s like plugging in and downloading,” she says. And dreams play a big role as well. She’ll often find herself awakened with snippets of lines, like from her Hugh Jackman dream which spawned her Broadway-like song, “Behind The Curtain.” She say, “I love it—it’s fun and the more I trust it, the more it comes.”
It hasn’t always been easy to let the song complete itself. “Find Me” is her deeply personal expression of grief after a friend’s death, and its video a heart-wrenching memorial to help raise awareness about depression and suicide.
“It took me 10 years to finally get the guts to finish that song and share it with the world—I really wanted to have an impact versus it just being a depressing song,” the soft-spoken artist explains. “I had no idea of the mental battle (my friend) was dealing with, and look at all the beautiful faces, beautiful souls we’ve lost to this; I want people to know they’re not alone.”
Meditation has been key to her stability and liberation as she took on her healing and self-realization journey. Ten years ago, after becoming a history major and “reading a lot about wars, hatred and dissonance in the name of God”, she chose to leave all organized religion. Soon after, she also felt her 18-year marriage dissolving.
“I remember driving to work one day, I was just feeling lost at that point in my life, like, who did I used to be, who was that person?” she shares. She was moving through divorce while balancing work as a bartender and server at two different restaurants on top of an office job during the day. “I just remember gripping the steering wheel hard and squeezing it and I just screamed, ‘I am fucking amazing!’ over and over. It was incredible, and I felt so much better by the time I got to work.”
Music has been her comfort, the balm for her continual release and restoration. Even the song titles (“Let It Hurt”, “No Power Over Me”, “Enough”) read like a road map of her life. Although, on a recent performance for Grants Pass live-stream venue, Live At The Hivve, she exposed a more vulnerable and humorous side with her show-tune-style, confessional opus, “Humble Pie”, saying (with a smirk) it was one she “really needed to write”.
When she’s not coaching NLP or high school track, Brooks performs 1940’s boogie woogie for retirement communities, plays Southern Oregon wineries and sits at her 1921 grand piano, composing with all her heart.