For aspiring singer-songwriter Sarah Browne, dream became reality when she released her debut album last year.
When the 24-year-old Pleasantville High School alum released her first album, “To You,” in December featuring 12-tracks showcasing her vocal range, musicality and poetic lyrics, she said she found the most positive outlet to impact others and pursue a career that truly makes her happy.
At an early age the folk singer always felt drawn to music and eventually taught herself how to play the guitar and piano listening to her favorite songs on YouTube. When she was 16, she began jotting lyrics down, but her love of songwriting didn’t blossom until her sophomore year at Ithaca College.
While Browne enjoyed singing, her lack of formal training stopped her from pursuing a musical education. Despite majoring in Spanish, she began hearing melodies in her head and felt compelled to see them through. After she wrote her first song, “My Sisters Keeper,” Browne said she knew she needed to continue writing.
“It was the most fulfilling thing I had ever done to finish writing a song and it was a rush and I wanted to keep doing it,” Browne said. “I felt songwriting was my thing and it really made sense to me and helped me make sense of my emotions.”
“It’s hard to finish a song, but that song specifically was a very emotional song that really dealt with a lot of emotions I wasn’t sure how to verbalize.”
When friends and family praised her work, Browne built the confidence to perform during open mic nights while studying abroad in Spain. She said the language barrier eased her nerves and helped her feel more relaxed performing in front of a crowd.
After graduating in 2015, she moved back to Pleasantville and began playing shows either solo or with her band at venues throughout New York City and Westchester, including The Delancey, Leftfield on Ludlow, 12 Grapes, the Pleasantville Farmers Market, the Ossining Village Fair and many others.
Last April, she enlisted the help of producer Joe DiGiorgi at Headline Studios in Mamaroneck and began recording her album.
“It was really fun,” Browne said.
With her album officially released, Browne recently left her job as youth coordinator at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church in Ossining to devote herself to her music. While she will continue to babysit and substitute at the Pleasantville School District part-time, she said she wanted a flexible schedule that would allow her the opportunity to gain more exposure.
“Now is the most committed I’ve ever felt and I just want to take the next year and really go for it,” she said. “So, this year I think is going to be a big year and I’m going to see how it goes.”
Browne also wants to use her platform to spread awareness about Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare genetic disease her cousin Matthew Rupel died from last summer. She credits her cousin for being supportive and encouraging her to pursue her passion. Through music, she said she hopes to one day find a cure.
Over the next year, Browne has gigs scheduled throughout the county and is excited to distribute her album, gain more exposure and share her music. She also hopes that her music will inspire others to pursue their own passions and dreams.
“Losing my cousin really reinforced that life is short and you just don’t know how much time you get,” she said. “I know a lot of people are in this business, but if you’re drawn towards something you’re meant to be drawn to it and that’s your purpose so why would you ignore that? So, I’m trying to go for it now.”
Browne will be featured on 107.1 The Peak on Wednesday during the 9:37 local segment. For a list of upcoming show dates or to sample her album, visit www.sarahbrownemusic.com/home.