How have you been?
I have been doing great — just so busy, but very grateful for being busy!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Honey I’m Fine”?
I wrote it in a simple way, just about how everyone always asks each other how they’re doing and it’s usually the same response, “I’m fine, how are you?” No one really goes into detail, so it’s just about the reality of that and how we all hide emotions under the surface.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I write from my own emotions and experiences but I also use my imagination to picture events, almost like a movie in my head. In this case, I imagined an older woman who was playing music at a bar, fed up with her husband. I tried to write from a point of view of an old woman in a crappy relationship who kept lying to herself, but then letting go.
I wrote the story for the music video from another point of view I had. Sometimes I write from my own experience or something I’ve gone through, but sometimes I just write stories.
How was the video filming experience?
It was absolutely incredible to see my vision come to life through these actors. I didn’t want to be in my first music video (just for a second), as I just wanted it to be focused on the story. I am in it for one quick second at the end. I was channeling Quintin Tarantino for a moment, where he puts himself in his own films but just for a quick 5 seconds. I’m in the entire second video (out later this month), starring Wes Studi.
The single comes off your new album Freedom – what’s the story behind the title?
Writing this album really helped release me of many things, and I wanted to make an album where it would be a whole journey. Like when people use to lay down on the ground and put an LP on and listen to the whole thing. The songs on the album are about truly allowing yourself to be free from people, places and things that are toxic to your life. It’s about loving other people for who they are and loving yourself — and truly walking into freedom in life and being your complete self.
How was the recording and writing process?
Recording is always a dream because you get to take what you’ve written and hear it come to life; that’s always a blessing. I’ve been writing since I was very young, and I wrote most of this album. I’m already starting on the second!
What was it like to work with Marshall Altman and how did that relationship develop?
Working with Marshall helped grow me in many ways. He challenged me to be even better and give my best. I am so very grateful for Marshall and honored I got to record my first album with him.
How much did he get to influence the album?
He really helped with getting me to sing certain notes, and pushing me to give 100%! He also took my music and directed the instrumentalists to elevate everything in the studio. It was an incredible experience to sit behind the glass watching Marshall with the amazing musicians bring everything to life.
How much did Nashville influence the sound on this record?
Nashville definitely had some influence on this record. There is a southern vibe to a few of the tracks, and also I am from Birmingham, Alabama — you can never take out the southern grit in a southern girl!
What did you learn from your time in The Voice that you put in action on your career now?
To know that everything is an experience and that your career is always happening and moving everyday.
What aspects of freedom did you get to explore with this album?
Freedom of self from people, places and things that are toxic.
Any plans to hit the road?
YES!!! We just got off tour with The White Buffalo, and got back from performing at the Cayfilm Film Festival as well. The band and I go on tour on our own starting in August too November 1st. Dates coming SOON!
What else is happening next in Sarah Simmons’ world?