Songwriter Sahara Moon Discusses Drive, Industry Challenges, Making Musical Connections

Feb 01, 2017
Courtesy of: Mary Helstrom Songwriter Sahara Moon

The popularity of independent music is growing, but the artists that contribute to the scene face difficulty in receiving recognition and support from big names in the music world. A voice among these struggling creators in Ocean County is 18-year-old Sahara Moon, a songwriter, vocalist and musician.

Having written her own music from the age of 14, tunes that classify her style as singer-songwriter with jazz and folk influences, Moon has come to understand early the obstacles of her desired career. Inspired by artists such as James Taylor, Norah Jones and Carole King, Moon is resolute about keeping her work authentic and representative of the kinds of stories that apply to the life of the listener. Her song “Please Don’t Wait For Me,” recorded at Clear Track Studios in 2014, exemplifies this goal.

“It’s talking about how society labels people, especially in high school,” she explained. “It’s saying, ‘Let me be who I want to be; let me grow as my own person.’” Writing with partners at Rad Kidz Productions, Sahara has recorded two original songs at a production studio and one in a home studio setup. This transition from studio to home recording is the beginning of the coming transformations in the music industry, according to Moon.

“Years ago people had to actually go to studios, and nowadays it’s home recording and cultivating it yourself.” She further commented, “I think studios definitely have their purposes. They’re great when you know exactly what you’re looking for.” As far as what she desires to see in the industry in the future, Moon hopes for a maintained, intensified and complete connection between music artists and their audiences. “What I hope to see is people being able to unite, because everyone’s feeling the same thing. And I think a musician or an artist can greatly portray the general public’s feeling through music, through lyrics. I want that, and I know I want to be a part of people feeling connected and letting people share that passion.”

Moon is fully aware of the tribulations on the journey to sharing this musical affection, though. Explaining that her songs “stem from everyday experiences,” she is one of many artists who feel the pressures of producing, at least for the time being, independently. It is common for solo artists to face challenges in finding venues that will give them free range and control to share their work without management constraints. Experienced enough to understand this, Moon hasn’t stopped for a second.

“You definitely have to have a drive to get things done,” she said. “A major thing is that you have to have an endgame, but you have to know the steps of how you’re going to achieve that goal exactly. It’s just all about getting exposure as much as you can, playing with people you never thought you’d play with. It’s a huge learning process.”

As for her own performing schedule, Moon occupies most of her weekends with showcases at spots such as the Grapevine Restaurant in Tuckerton, How You Brewin’? and Firefly Gallery in Surf City.

It has been through her many performances that Moon has pinpointed exactly what it means to share music as a culture. “Everyone has a different take on music, and I think as a listener the most important thing is to be able to respect someone getting up there and expressing themselves in such a vulnerable way. No matter what range of talent or skill, letting everyone have that chance to flourish and feel good about themselves, I think that’s important.”

With plans to release a demo EP this summer, Moon has great determination for it “to be a natural feeling, an organic sound like how I perform. Just simple.” Though her music and drive are candid, rest assured Sahara Moon is accomplishing things that are nothing short of complex and, for the future, hopeful.

To check out her upcoming gigs and listen to “Please Don’t Wait For Me” and other songs, visit saharamoonmusic.com.

— Liz Serviss

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