Sara Groves Biography
Last updated: 03/19/2012 12:00:00 PM
Imagine how thick the air would be if every word from our mouths flew up toward the sky and hung there, like a cloud. Like the dialog in cartoon strips, only floating free above our heads, without a bubble to contain them. Now imagine the shock of seeing the words we think, but never say, gathered there as well. Our pride, our anger, our doubts, our fears all spelled out and undeniable. How could we live like that?
For Sara Groves, whose music speaks into existence words most of us would never dare, as vulnerable at that would make us all, it's a prospect worth pondering.
From a very young age, Sara always wrestled with words. She'd get them down on paper and even put music to them, but she never really considered their worth. After graduating from Evangel College in 1994, Sara taught high school English and History for four years and began singing her songs 'on the side.' But the more her relationship with God began to be challenged and shaped by life experience, the more Sara felt compelled to do more with her words. Music became driving force because life simply left her with too much to say.
As a result, in 1998, Sara, with the help of husband/manager Troy, recorded Past the Wishing on a shoestring budget as a gift for family and friends. By word of mouth, the album project grew in popularity, becoming one of the standout independent recordings of that year. Sara's concert schedule grew exponentially, and major labels came calling with recording deals, but Sara chose to remain independent to focus on developing a ministry and growing as a songwriter.
Speaking From Experience
Encouraged by the reception of Past the Wishing, Sara recorded her second album, Conversations, at The Sound Kitchen, by invitation of Pamplin Music's Dino Elefante. The album released independently in 1999, and in 2000 Sara met industry veteran and owner of INO records Jeff Moseley. Sara felt Moseley's innovative and new way of doing things met her desire to have more marketing support and larger distribution of her albums, but also allow her to remain very involved in her career. In fall 2000 Sara recorded new songs for the INO release of Conversations, which will release March 2001.
On this project, Sara was able to give her poignantly honest songs the musical attention they deserved. There's a distinctive clarity in the production that enhances the rich acoustic folk/pop settings in which Sara frames her lyrics. Musically Sara is reminiscent of Shawn Colvin and Sarah McLachlan, and although her lyrical style is uniquely hers, she has been compared to Rich Mullins. Complex in its simplicity, powerful in its weakness, whimsical but wise.
Conversations gives the listeners a chance to eavesdrop on scenes in Sara's life-from struggling to talk about faith with a friend in the title track, to asking God to speak up when faced with big decisions ("Hello Lord"), to trying to comfort a person facing death ("What Do I Know").
"These songs are all real experiences," Sara explains. "I hope to unveil the things we feel but don't always say...about life, about our relationships with each other and with God... and basically to say it's okay. Because I think God is saying 'It's okay.' He knows who we are, and he knows when we're trying to put on a brave face, and that's such a joke. He sees us for real, and it's okay."
Conversations is an album that communicates, in subtle and forthright ways, that faith is not a subject to be shied away from, that honest discussion among friends--believers and non-believers alike--can only make us stronger.
"I believe every person has a next step with God, something next to do," she says. "I want my music to challenge people to take that next step. Whatever that next step is, even if it is coming from a place of doubt--where you aren't sure God even exists--say that, that's a step.
Yell it out."
The Universal Language
Sara Groves knows that music is a universal language, and she is excited about the opportunity to speak it on her own terms, as a songwriter with a Christian worldview. "It's amazing to me the doors music can open. You cannot say five words to someone, but you can talk to them about Christ and who He is...in the music," she says. "I used to struggle with the fact that I don't write as poetic as some people... I used to think good music was something you couldn't understand, all these veiled literary references that the average person couldn't decipher." But, she says, when it comes down to it, "My music is not so much about the poetry or the art, as it is about being understood...."