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Why we are obsessed with singing queen Sarah Saint James

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Sarah Saint James has the makings of any legendary recording artist. She oozes cool girl vibes, has an insanely amazing voice and a charismatic personality to boot. 

But what makes Sarah and her music even more relatable and is the incredible backstory to her life.

The Mad At God hitmaker recently chatted with Girlfriend (which she says was a “full circle” moment in her life) about her conservative Christian upbringing, being bullied for her weight, coming out as bisexual at just age 11 and the incredible creative process behind her song writing.

WATCH Sarah Saint James performs Mad at God

Sarah says that growing up, she was blessed with an abundance of creative energy, but her undeniable knack for singing didn’t come without turmoil in the schoolyard.

“I had ADHD so I always thought I was a bit out there. There was a lot in me I couldn’t express,” she says.

“The only times I tried to do [sing] while I was in school I was bullied for it. I was made fun of for posting a video.

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“Any energy that I had was put towards being weird.” (Credit: Instagram)

“My entire childhood was stifled. Any energy that I had was put towards being weird or being over the top. It took me a really long time to be comfortable expressing my thoughts and even writing my ideas.”

Despite being naturally gifted from a young age, Sarah’s fears of being made fun of briefly quashed her budding music career.

“If it wasn’t for that I would have started music when I was a toddler,” the 27-year-old says.

“Coming into it as a grown up, I have a very thick skin now because I’ve heard it all and I’m a lot more secure now.”

Sarah Saint James
Sarah says that growing up, she was blessed with an abundance of creative energy. (Credit: Instagram)

Sarah, who grew up in a conservative Christian household, also opened up about her sexuality journey after coming out as bisexual in primary school.

“I never actually came out to my dad. My parents got divorced when I was three and I had a pretty fractured relationship with him. I still do,” she says.

“So he’s seen stuff on social media and put two and two together.”

Meanwhile Sarah’s mother was initially quite dismissive of her brave admission.  

“Mum just didn’t believe it because she grew up very conservative and she didn’t think it really think it was a thing. She did the general mum thing and said it was a phase, that everyone has those thoughts and that it will pass,” Sarah says.

Sarah Saint James
“I have a very thick skin now because I’ve heard it all.” (Credit: Instagram)

“When I got to 18 I was like ‘it’s still here guys’ and I had to re-come out to her when I was 22.

“It’s just an interesting one. My whole family is very close and I think it’s not just the Christian element, they’re also just conservative. They’re awkward about lots of stuff.”

Sarah says that while her family is now fully aware of her sexuality, it isn’t exactly a topic that’s discussed over diner.

When it comes to advice for other young people who are struggling with coming out to their loved ones, Sarah says the sooner the better.

“The number one thing is to just make sure you’re in a safe environment. That means different thing for different people,” she says.

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“It’s sad we still have to come out as queer.” (Credit: Instagram)

“It feels like a weight off your shoulders. It’s sad we still have to come out as queer. It’s a shame because it does feel like a weight on your shoulders to explain who you are.

“The earlier and faster you can own who you are as a person, you almost become untouchable.”

But all the triumphs and tribulations of Sarah’s life have helped hone her craft, and by listening to just one song we know her music comes from the soul.

Sarah encouraged other young aspiring artists to “just go for it,” but warned it won’t be a smooth road to success.

She recalled a particularly heartbreaking experience from 2016 that hit her confidence hard.

Sarah Saint Jame
Sarah, who grew up in a conservative Christian household, also opened up about her sexuality journey after coming out as bisexual in primary school. (Credit: Instagram)

“Early on in 2016 I wrote a song and it got sent to a major label here, and I was told they laughed at the song,” she says.

“It was really rough. I wish I started earlier because now I feel like I can write good songs. But it took hundreds of terrible ones.”

When it comes to practical advice, Sarah says it all starts with putting pen to paper (or thumb to phone in your notes app).

“You have to write. As an artist in this day and in the age of TikTok, you have to be able to write good songs. So even if your voice isn’t the best thing in the world, your [thoughts] are such an important skill as an artist,” she says.

In true millennial form, iPhone notes are Sarah’s best friend when it comes to writing music.

“Ninety-nine per cent of my songs will come about because I’m lying in bed trying to sleep,” she says, adding that her mental guard is down at night, making song writing come more naturally.

“I’ll have an idea at 11 o’clock at night, roll over, grab my notes on my phone and write in a lyrical idea.

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Sarah said her hit Mad At God was written on the shower floor. (Credit: Instagra,)

“Every few days I’ll have a new lyrical idea that I add and go into it. When I book a session with a producer, I say ‘I want it to sound like this song or that song’ and lay down some chords and make it fit.”

Sarah said her hit Mad At God was written on the shower floor, while the inspiration for Heather came while she was lying in bed.

As for what’s next for Sarah, the sky truly is the limit.

“I have an EP that’s done, the songs from that are going to start being released soon,” she says.

“I’d love to perform at festivals. It’s a dream to do Splendour in the Grass, Groovin’ the Moo, as big as I can get. The big dream is to perform at Coachella one year. The next 18 months is going to be releasing more and building on what I’ve done.”

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