Sarah Johnson was two when she wrote her first song. Three decades later, the Americana singer-songwriter is poised to release her first EP. “Volcano,” a six-song record out on Friday, Sept. 18 and produced by Dallas music veteran Beau Bedford, is the result of three decades of work playing everywhere from churches to basement stages. At 32, she knows that some people will say she should already be much further along in her career. But she’s focusing on herself and the music.
“I took a leap of faith with this EP,” she says. “I put my savings into these recordings and also got very personal in my songwriting. It actually feels like the perfect timing.”
Johnson is almost as excited to represent her hometown as she is to release her first record. Johnson has spent most of her life in Dallas. Her twenties were filled with gigging, writing music and building her own business. One day, she heard a song by Dallas artist Frankie Leonie, and started doing homework on Dallas music. Johnson discovered Leonie and scores of other Dallas musicians honed their craft at Modern Electric Sound Recorders, home of talented producers like Bedford and Jason Burt. She managed to get Bedford’s number from a mutual friend and reached out.
“I left a very awkward voicemail about how I’d like to work with him,” she admits, “and didn’t know if he’d call back. But he did. In his own words, Bedford liked the storytelling qualities of the songs Johnson sent him.
“[Her songs] are poignant and purposeful,” he says. “Add in her smooth, forever easy-to-listen-to vocal performance, and I was hooked from the start.”
The two built a quick and easy rapport, and what started as a three-song project soon became a six-song EP. The title track and lead single, “Volcano,” is an example of the kind of powerful storytelling that piqued Bedford’s interest. The track is quintessential Sarah: it’s guided by a smooth guitar and her dreamy vocals, and a solid backing beat gives her the room to tell a fully fleshed-out story.
“These years of things building beneath the surface are finally going to erupt,” she sings on the record. She’s singing about her own journey, but she’s also singing about yours.
“I’m 32, not-married, and a lot of times people feel like they should’ve pursued their dream when they were young,” she says. “But I just don’t have that mindset at all. If “Volcano” can be inspiring to anyone, I hope it tells them, ‘If you love something, go for it.’”
Sarah Johnson’s debut EP “Volcano” will be available for purchase on Apple Music and streaming across Spotify and other major platforms on Friday, Sept. 18. For more information about the artist, please visit www.sarahjohnsonofficial.com
01 Red Bandana
02 Lookin’ for Someone
05 Look What You’ve Done
06 Body Betrays Me