....Poet, writer, rapper, rhymer. 2015 Hilltop Hoods/ APRAAMCOS Initiative winner.
Sarah Connor - Interview
Photos: Michele Grace Hunder
What is your backstory? How did you get into music and the hip-hop music scene?
I loved Salt n Pepa and Missy Elliott when I was younger. When I saw people freestyling on stage for the first time I thought it was awesome. I wanted in. Many many years later I still can’t freestyle to save my life lol! But I kill it on the writtens they say.
If you could describe your style in up to 3 words what would it be?
Bold. Fearless. Honest.
If you could be any other animal what would you be and why?
A wolf. I’d love to run with wolves.
Do you get a chance to perform in Melbourne often? If so where is your favourite venue to perform at? /What is the best hip-hop venue in Melbourne in your opinion?
I have never performed in Melbourne but want to. I was lucky enough to plan a spare of the moment trip to Melbs about 2 years back for the second Robert Hunter Cup. We stayed in the backpackers on Albert Street near Fitzroy and went to the Espy, and I think the social club. I want to check out all these iconic venues you hear of and feel you know because of the live music scene including. I want to go to Revolver, the Laundry, Howler, The Bandroom, The forum, Corner Hotel. They are all places you hear of, but don’t know.
If only I also got to see Nirvana at the Palace back in like 1992 but I was a child lol.
How do you find being a female in such a male dominated industry? Have you come across many roadblocks because of your gender?
I think the issue with hip hop in Australia is there are so few spaces to maintain in the industry currently. There are only so many spaces for play on radio, only so much media space allowed- no one wants to give up what they’ve got. When you’ve worked hard to get your spot, you don’t want to hand it over to another guy let alone another girl. That being so there are some awesomely progressive guys out there. Thundamentals have a lot of knowledge to offer as well as Big Village and I am always trying to pick up knowledge from people who know what they are doing.
It can be nice sometimes being one of a few girls, but also a little daunting... eg. when I played at Come Together Festival this year we were the only girls on the bill. Everyone at Come Together was super nice and very helpful. Seth Sentry was incredibly polite. But when I busted out on stage I was wondering why I had four rows deep of people (a lot of them kids) just staring at me. I got off stage asking myself did I do my bit and do a decent performance when one of my mates pointed out, half of those kids may never have even seen you rap before, let alone a female rap before so they may not know how to take it first. I’m loving the path that we are continuing to walk down. Older female heads created that path and I’m grateful to people like Spice, Thorn, Maya Jupiter, T.R.E.Y, A-Love... And I’m forever loving what Tkay, Coda, Dawn Laird, M.O.C are doing right now!
Congrats on winning the Hilltop Hoods APRA/AMCOS Initiative 2015 and being a feature artist on Triple J's Unearthed AND being selected to play Come Together festival.... How has this impacted your personal brand and your place in the music world?
It's given me a spotlight and the tools to do what I need to do. The initiative is so much more than money. It’s a once in a life time opportunity and a legitimate foot in the door that you had to earn. I really try to put myself out there and make the most of it. Sometimes this means asking for help when you need it such as being bold and contacting someone for an opportunity. If you don’t ask, you don’t know. Recently I was amazed at another young MC (18 years of age) who scored an amazing support act spot with one of Australia’s biggest hip hop artists. I asked him how he did it. He said he asked.
Come Together was an opportunity to be part of something big. My cousin travelled all the way down from the Gold Coast just to see me, even though she is not the biggest hip hop fan, but she was just so damn excited for me. Having been gigging for several years and encountered everything from not being paid, to shitty sound systems, to turning up for a hip hop night and being told they don’t know what Technics 1200’s are, to asking for the turnies and being pointed to a CDJ, to fights, to brawls, to venues shutting you down mid gig - what a blessing it is to rock up to something so well organised and put together like Come Together!
What advice would you give to other female artists looking to start their journey into the industry?
WORK. ASK. LEARN. Do not be afraid. I was afraid for too many years and wasted too many years. Also, ignore the Naysayers and ALL their bullshit. I let other people’s opinions of me and telling me what to do hold me back to my own detriment. Where I am at now has been a long time coming.
What do you do to "get in the zone"? Where is your happy place?
In front of a laptop with a set of headphones on and a pot of tea in front of me. I drink way too much tea. I would love to tell you it’s the dance studio but currently I’m injured and can no longer dance and may never pole dance again. Oh well, I am thinking of starting break dancing next. (LOL)
What is the message you are communicating to the world through your music?
To love everyone a little bit more, for Pete’s sake. This world is a brutal brutal place- and where I am at and the universe I am in, is not even middle of the road. I want everyone to be a little bit more happier, a little saner and little less alone.
What is next on the cards for Sarah Connor? Where can we catch your next show?
I'm taking some time off from performing to finish my album. However, I will be a part of One:Sydney on 9 August - run by the Equal Project at 10 Mitchell Street Marrickville. It’s a donation on the door as funds go to the Asylum Centre Resource Centre. People should come and check these things out because it’s a lot more intimate. These are the types of places where you hook up and make new connections and build relationships. I’ll be around if anyone wants to chat or connect. Each one, teach one. Let’s build.
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