Sarah Loucks

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Bio

If the titles of Sarah Loucks' albums sound like long treasured, personal mantra's it's for good reason; Loucks has a way of distilling the experiences she's gained and choices she's made into finely crafted folk songs that are somehow both intensely personal and universal. While instrumentally sparer than her 2006 debut, Keep What You Keep, 2009's Be As It Should finds the Toronto based... more

If the titles of Sarah Loucks' albums sound like long treasured, personal mantra's it's for good reason; Loucks has a way of distilling the experiences she's gained and choices she's made into finely crafted folk songs that are somehow both intensely personal and universal. While instrumentally sparer than her 2006 debut, Keep What You Keep, 2009's Be As It Should finds the Toronto based singer expanding her reach as a songwriter substantially, exploring longing and loss without ever losing sight of the hope that first drove her to choose music as her career in the first place. That said, for Loucks, pursuing a career in songwriting and performing wasn't exactly a choice. "It's never been a matter of can or can't, it's just been I'm going to. There's no other option. There's never been anything else that I have contemplated doing. There's nothing else that makes me happier." It's a passion Loucks has consistently backed up with hard work – booking her own tours in Canada and the US, financing her own recordings and managing her career completely independently – an approach that's paid dividends both personally and professionally, fuelling her growth as a songwriter and reinforcing her commitment to her craft. Originally trained as a dancer and classical pianist, the stage has always been Loucks' second home, and though early on she debated what discipline to focus on, music always won out. "At some point I had to focus on the one thing I couldn't see myself leaving behind. I could see myself living without theatre and dance, but I couldn't imagine not writing, recording and performing music." Although Loucks always assumed she'd study something academic in university, when the time came to choose a school and program, she decided to further her education in performance. After graduating from a one-year program at Victoria, BC's Canadian College of the Performing Arts in 2003, faced with a choice between continuing for a second year that focused heavily on acting, or coming home to record her first record, she relocated to Toronto. "I just really wanted to get into a recording studio and I figured I could either go into debt with school or take that money and go into debt making an album." While both Keep What You Keep, and Be As It Should are inspired by her personal experiences with grief and sudden, often unwelcome, change, rather than dwell on the damage done by those experiences, Loucks tends to celebrate the strength she's gained through them. On her latest release that strength is more evident than ever, and nowhere more so than on the record's title track, Be As It Should. When Loucks sings "you can talk all you want about me, but I refuse to be unhappy" it's not so much a comment on any one event in her life, but a mission statement that's driven her need to write, record and perform since she wrote her first song at the age of fourteen. That first song set the hook, she says, and two years later, after buying her first acoustic guitar with money she'd saved working a Peterborough area dance studio, she taught herself to play. Ever since, songwriting has been Loucks' preferred form of communication; a way of finding her place in the world that depends as heavily on her own experiences as it does on her observations of others. But as much as Be As It Should is about Loucks' past, it's also about searching for a way forward, finding opportunities to grow and to realize her dreams without compromising. "We're always looking for happiness and peace in the midst of chaos as life gets more complicated. We're always trying to recapture the peace that we had when we were younger. And maybe that's what it's about; trying to get through those first losses and big changes and still being okay and believing that everything will just be as it should." Although she's been compared to artists ranging from Sarah McLachlan to Norah Jones and Kathleen Edwards, Loucks has a sound all her own. Hers is a signature style that treads the line between straight up country and sweet soulful folk, characterized by a voice that is increasingly self-assured and a talent for imbuing songs about catastrophic personal change with an irrepressible sense of hope. A talent that, if tracks like album opener 'One Last Shot', or her loving tribute to her late grandmother, 'A Fraction Of Her' are any indication, only seems likely to grow exponentially over time.

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