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Arts and Entertainment

LAist Interview: Sara Melson, iTunes Hot Pick & LA Local

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Sara Melson has been in LA for some time now after graduating from Harvard with a degree in English (she's shy about this fact). First it was acting, now it is music. She loves living in classic Los Angeles area neighborhoods, especially those with history, roots and the word "canyon" in it. Currently living in Beachwood Canyon, which she describes as a "true oasis," her past homes have been Topanga Canyon and Laurel Canyon, both places seeded for artistic inspiration.

The Yoga loving, Nettwerk label represented singer/songwriter's album was released yesterday and is currently under the "What's Hot" section of the iTunes homepage, which was a surprise to her and everyone else.

So you woke up Tuesday morning and...

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Let's just say it was totally surreal. First people from the East Coast who were already awake were emailing me going, Dude, open up the itunes store NOW. I was sitting there with my boyfriend and my roommate just staring at the screen. I could not believe it!

It's really cool, because the way that itunes selects their features is different from other record stores and such. They're digital, so they don't need to get paid off to feature people. They just put up their favorite stuff. So the fact that I got the votes of the itunes staff is truly pretty awesome. I'm very honored.

Listen While You Read

"Feel It Coming" - Sara Melson





You define your genre/style as...

My music is such an amalgamation... I have a ton of different influences from Zeppelin to James Taylor. The cool thing is that iTunes defines my genre as pop! Which is so cool. I've always felt like my music is totally mainstream, and I'm actually really proud of that. I would be thrilled if it could reach everyone across the boundaries of perceived "genres," you know?

What's the Sara Melson story?

I grew up in Indiana and went to college in Boston. Yup it's true, I did go to Harvard. I'm driven to explore a lot of things. In high school I was a very serious ballet dancer, and then in college it was all about learning guitar. I already played piano and a bit of violin, and was obsessed with writing and singing. I also got very into acting there, which is why I ended up coming out to LA, in fact.

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We're going through old episodes of 90021... wait, did we just see you?

I did a lot of bigger guest starring roles in shows like Frasier, Wonder Years, 90210... if you're really interested you can go onto imdb.com for a list of random stuff. It was fun and I do hope to revisit my dormant acting career someday, but it just wasn't nearly as compelling to me as getting my songs out into the universe. In one instance, you're mouthing someone else's words, whereas in the other, you're singing your own words, that you wrote. Such a deeper form of expression.

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What's tough about going independent in the LA music scene? What's easy?

I've been pretty DIY for quite a few years now, so I've gotten somewhat used to having to do a whole lot on my own... pretty much everything. Now, having a label to help out with not only macro but also micro details is like a dream come true, literally. One thing about LA that's great too is that in random daily encounters, you can end up meeting people that can change your life and your career instantly. That doesn't happen so much in other places.

Your favorite places to eat? Drink?

I'm into healthy food... M Cafe, Nite Moon Cafe (at Goldenbridge), Elf Cafe, Erewhon's Salad Bar, Sushi Ike, The Mustard Seed Cafe, Cliff's Edge... I also love French food---Figaro on Vermont and Cafe Stella in Silver Lake. For super special occasions, Matsuhisa and Georgio's... My all time favorite place to relax with a drink is the lobby of the Chateau Marmont. So quiet and airy and lovely, and they let me play the grand piano. :)

"Never Been Hurt" - Sara Melson





You can catch Sara next on March 12 at Crane's Tavern and March 30 at Tangier.

Top Photo by Josh Rifkin. Bottom Photo by Alex Winterstellar