Spotlight Artist: Sarah Violette
Posted on December 14, 2020
On this episode, Sarah Violette talks about:
- Growing Up In Maine
- How she found her love for Hip Hop
- Her unique rap style and inspirations.
- Her rise to recognition, performances and winning a NEMA.
- Her initial struggle with sexuality within the Hip Hop scene.
- What’s on the horizon.
- And more…
About Sarah Violette Hip-hop is a genre of music which has mostly been dominated by males and by misogynistic points of view. However, there are many people who see this genre as needing to change. People such as Beyoncé, Iggy Azalea, and Nicki Minaj have been trendsetters taking the music industry in a different direction. Now, the new upcoming female rapper in the industry is from, of all places, Maine. Her name is Sarah Violette; she goes by her stage name, Essence. Sarah is an alumnae of Bonny Eagle High School. Since graduating with the class of 2007, she’s been one busy woman. By day, she works at Harbor Fish Market in Portland. By night, she writes rap lyrics and has recorded three albums. Recently Sarah performed at the famous State Theater in Portland and at a benefit to raise money for the families of the victims of an apartment fire in Portland. Sarah has a degree in media studies from the University of Southern Maine. In high school, Sarah was fairly introverted and hated the idea of rap and hip-hop. “People were telling me guys like Eminem were good musicians and I replied with no. No they’re not,’’ Sarah said recently in an interview at the Gorham Grind. Sarah then decided that she would try rapping for herself. Like many predecessors, she started out being misogynistic and rapped mostly about drugs and violence. But before long, Sarah found it relaxing and somewhat therapeutic to put all of her life problems into a verse or two. “It became a poetic outlet for me,’’ she said. As if being a female in a male-dominated industry wasn’t hard enough, Sarah was also fighting a battle with herself over her sexualtiy. While she was using rapping to discover more about herself, she found herself at a crossroads. After seriously considering how she wanted the world to see her, she made the courageous decision to announce that she was in fact, a proud lesbian. “I just felt like I needed to camouflage myself,’’ she said about her early struggles. Sarah started recording during her senior year of high school and released her first album shortly after that. “I hated my first album,” she said, ‘’It was so messy and unpolished.’’ Soon thereafter, Sarah released two more albums which critics say have kept getting better and better. While some of her former classmates and teachers might be surprised at the ways in which Sarah has blossomed since high school, others say the roots of her career were always there. “I saw Sarah as someone who was always true to herself. She never bent to anyone’s will,” Mrs. Meghan McCrea, English teacher at Bonny Eagle said. “She’s been through a lot. The fact that she always managed to stay true to herself is a remarkable achievement.” Sarah says the key to her success is trying new things. “I never like to stay stagnant or in my comfort zone,” she said. Sarah is now being recognized on a huge level for her skill as a rapper, and she has no intentions of stopping. An indication of just how far she has come was her Dec. 5 performance as part of a fourth annual Big Fogcutter’s Big Band Syndrome. A show in front of 1000+ people at the State Theater in Portland. She shared the stage with singers and bands from all over Maine. “It went incredibly well,” she said. “I got to perform in front of 1,000 people and didn’t forget any lyrics. It was amazing. I also got to watch the Ghost of Paul Revere, who are also former BE students, perform an incredible set. It was phenomenal. The fact that we both got to share that stage after growing so much from our high school days was rather surreal.” Sarah is now being recognized by local music critics for her skill as a rapper, and she has no intentions of stopping. Her goal as a rapper is to “be helpful to anyone in some way. I feel like music is the best way to do that.”