Sarah Sample



Where you work:

All over the country

What you do:

Singer-songwriter (and I just graduated nursing school)

Where did you grow up?

Santa Barbara, California: I didn’t own a winter coat until I was 17.

If you attended college, where and what did you study?

I graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Arts in music therapy in 2005, and this May I graduated from Sheridan College with an Associate Degree in nursing.

How did you end up working as a musician?

I have known since I was a child that I wanted to write songs and be a singer. Music is a universal language and a powerful way to connect with people. I made my first record in 2004 and jumped into regional touring from there.

You recently released a new album and you’ve been traveling and performing. What has been your favorite place to perform (other than in Sheridan, of course)?

One of the greatest parts of my job is touring around the United States playing music. I’ve had the chance to see so many gorgeous parts of this country and meet wonderful people along the way. I love getting a taste for the different cities I’ve played in. In Nashville, you eat hot chicken and listen to Vince Gill play with the Time Jumpers every Monday night. In Nebraska, you play a string of sold-out small-town shows, and your sound man may have been on a tractor earlier in the day. In New York City, you witness the incredible energy of 8 million people living in close proximity, take the subway, and see “The Waitress” on Broadway. I have lived in many states, and some of my favorite shows are the ones where I return to communities I’ve been a part of in the past. My heart is full every time I play in Austin, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Santa Barbara.

How has the Sheridan community supported you in your musical pursuits?

The Sheridan community has a rich tradition of supporting the arts in all forms. I have been very impressed with the level of talent from artists in the region along with the many local programs promoting development of creativity for all ages. The best way to support a musician is to listen to their music, come to live performances, and purchase albums. Community members have supported me in all of these ways.

Who is “your person?” You know, the one you turn to with any and everything? Why is having that support been so important in your life?

My person is James McDonald. We have been married for 15 years and are raising two beautiful daughters together. James makes me laugh — every day. He taught me how to back up a trailer, cast a fly line and pitch a tent. He is a true outdoorsman: more at home in the mountains of Wyoming than anywhere else. I love him because he supports my independence and bravery; he encourages me to walk fearlessly through the world. He has carried awkwardly heavy speakers, sold CDs and run sound for countless performances. I love James because of his integrity; he is consistently kind and respectful in his interactions with others. He also makes a mean cocktail.

The under-40 crowd often gets painted as being unengaged. Do you think that perception is true? If so, how do we change that?

I have to disagree. I think the younger generation has never been more involved in our country. We all have an opportunity and an obligation to stand up for the causes that matter to us.

What is your favorite thing about Sheridan?

I love the wilderness surrounding Sheridan. The title track to my new record “Redwing” was inspired by a backroad drive on Soldier Creek Road years ago.

There is a beautiful balance between the community and the natural world here. We are so lucky to have access to public lands in Wyoming; we need to protect them. I also care deeply about the people in Sheridan. James and I cherish the incredible friendships we have developed in the past four years. The people who make up this community and the opportunities to be involved here constantly inspire us.

You’ve already done really well in the music world. What would be a dream-come-true moment for you?

I have so many big dreams. How many can I list? I would love to perform in beautiful theaters across the U.S., win a Grammy, become a labor and delivery nurse, eat at a few Michelin three star restaurants, do 10 pull ups, backpack in Patagonia and take my children to visit other countries.