Checking in with Sarah White


What were you doing when we called?

I was at work when you called. Not a very exciting answer. I was updating a video game database. I work at Category 4 Web Design. It’s Downtown, on the Mall.

It’s been a busy summer for Sarah White and her band the Pearls, who played FloydFest and joined the Dave Matthews Band Caravan in Atlantic City.

What are you working on right now?

We are working on the preproduction demos for a new record. It’s going really well, so I’m actually going to work on that today some more. We don’t have a release date. These things always take longer than one would like. I’ve been saying I’ve been working on a new record for about three years. I think it will be done early 2012.

How do you prepare to work on something?

When I’m writing I usually pull lyrics from proverbs. I also scribble a lot in notebooks and journals. I might show the recording to the guys in the band and we’ll rock on it for a while. I do my most successful songwriting right after waking up in the morning, when things are silent and my head is fresh. It’s hard to get home from work and turn on the poet, because usually that poet is a little burnt out by the end of the day. I’ve written, like, 1,000 songs but maybe 10 are good. You just keep doing it and sometimes stuff sticks.

Do you have any superstitions about your art?

When performing, I have my lucky charms that I rely on, but I’m afraid if I say what they are it’ll ruin them. I do always have to wear this one certain thing.

Tell us about a recent concert, exhibit or show that has inspired you.

My band played on the Dave Matthews Band Caravan in Atlantic City, and that was awesome. Now they’re off to Chicago, and we’re not going. The show itself was inspiring, just because there were so many people having fun. It was quite a spectacle.

Tell us about a work of art that you wish was in your private collection.

I’ve never thought about this ever before, so this is kind of a fake answer, but, I’ve always loved that statue at UVA in front of the library, the winged memorial to the fighter from World War I. I would love it if that were on top of my house. That would be pretty cool. Or maybe a Gustav Klimt painting. There are several paintings of his that are some of my favorites ever.

Which of your works are you most proud of?

I love this song called “Married Life” that’s one of the ones we’re recording right now. I’m not sure why. Maybe I like it because it seems to touch people. Some take it at surface level, but there’s actually something more meaningful in it, and it was almost a surprise to me when I found it there, because I didn’t really know where it came from. The first lines are, “Married life ain’t easy, child”—that kind of a lonely country song. It’s about failure, too, thinking you want something until you achieve it and realize it doesn’t satisfy.

What is your first artistic memory from childhood?

I remember singing a song. I lived in the country and we had a two-mile walk to the bus stop every morning. Once I sang a song to my sister that I had made up, and I tried to convince her that it was like a song from someone famous. Eventually I was like, “Haha, I wrote it. Fooled you.” I had a very awesome childhood in the country with a lot of freedom, a lot of time, and a lot of silence. Nature and entertaining yourself, and all that. A lot of times I think of these kids today who need DVDs and iPods and all this stimulation to fill their imaginations. I basically remember sitting there with a mud puddle and a bucket and thinking that the universe was just freaking awesome because I had a mud puddle and a bucket.

Items you splurge on?

Shoes and blueberries.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Probably jump out of an airplane and skydive. I’m really afraid of heights, but I love to fly and I would love to get to parachute or whatever. But I’m definitely too chicken to do it. If I knew I wouldn’t fail I would jump out of a plane, especially if there was a huge mattress on the ground waiting to catch me when I landed. I guess failing is a pretty big deal when you’re skydiving.