Meet Sarah Barrios, the 21-year-old small-town girl chasing her dream. Music has always been a part of her life.
In their college days, Sarah’s parents, Trish and Eduardo Barrios, were a part of a band called Masquerade, where they performed all covers for about six or seven years.
Sarah always wanted to take music to the next level, she just didn’t think anyone would take her seriously. She just wanted that chance, and finally an opportunity came knocking on her door.
Sarah Barrios is one of five finalists picked to perform on the West Coast in the Guitar Center Singer Songwriter Competition, with all expenses paid. The event will take place March 4 at the legendary Troubadour in West Hollywood. The competition will be in search for the next great American songwriter. What makes this really special is that Barrios was chosen by Ariel Rechtshaid himself. A producer-song writer, Rechtshaid has worked with Usher, Adele, Vampire Weekend, Beyonce, Madonna, Major Lazer, and many more, according to his Twitter account.
“He chose her over 14,000 people, that is a huge accomplishment. It’s just such a great honor and accomplishment and we’re just so proud of her,” said her mother, Trish.
Trish Barrios is also Sarah’s manager.
“It’s been a learning experience, we’ve been doing this now for about three years. The business is about building relationships,” her mother said.
Sarah Barrios was born on April 6, 1994, and was raised in Winsted. She started playing guitar at 13 and that’s when she started writing music. At that point she said she really didn’t know what to do with her music, so she decided to focus on school. She attended Torrington High School, then Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted, where she studied elementary education and photography. It was during college she realized she really loved music, and it was what she was passionate about.
Barrios started participating at Infinity Hall’s open mic competition, which she ended up winning. From there she decided to focus on her music career and dropped out of college. Her parents were supportive of the idea, and told her she only had one shot so she should take it, and she did.
Barrios got to open for Melanie Martinez at the beginning of this year. The show was sold out, with a crowd of about 1,500 people, at the College Street Music Hall in New Haven, according to Barrios.
“I’d never played to that many people.” Barrios said. Martinez has been her favorite person to perform with so far. She hopes to work with singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran in the future.
Barrios describes her music as “bluesy/pop” that is radio-friendly. Her favorite song to perform to is “Name in a Song.”
“‘Name in a Song’ is a song about a boy that decided cheating on me was a good idea; it wasn’t,” she said, chuckling. “So I wrote a song about it. I like it because it has a nice groove to it, it gets everyone to like a sassy mode.”
On the day of a show, Barrios and her mother/manager have a pattern they go through to prepare.
“We talk about it days before, but on the day of its more of, ‘what are you wearing? Do you have your guitar? Do we have to stop for food?’ About a week before she’ll be practicing and rehearsing over things,” her mother said.
“I practically practice all the time. Sometimes I even change what songs I’m performing depending on the crowd; you get a feel for it,” Sarah Barrios said.
The hardest part about this journey for Barrios has been being taken seriously, as a teenger who dropped out of college to pursue music as a young female artist. The best part has been connecting and meeting people, according to Barrios.
On a typical day Barrios works part-time doing graphic designing with her father, Eduardo. After that she spends her time writing music and updating her social media accounts and website.
“She writes every day,” her mother said.
Sarah Barrios enjoys reading books in her free time. Her favorite books are “Looking for Alaska” by John Green, and “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. Along with reading she likes to watch “Pretty Little Liars,” and “Vampire Diaries,” eating, and hanging out with her friends.
Barrios is inspired by everything around her.
““Books I’m reading, sounds that I hear, shows that I watch. Sometimes I just pull from whatever I’m hearing,” Barrios said.
The advice Barrios lives by is, “Be you, be different, who cares about the rest.”
“Be yourself, dress the way you want,” Barrios said. “As long as you feel comfortable doing what you’re doing, and you feel that you can be happy and you respect yourself, that’s all that matters. The important thing is stay true to yourself.”
The winner of the Guitar Center Singer Songwriter Competition will receive a four-song EP with Rechtshaid, mentoring songwriting session with City & Colour, a performance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” $25,000 cash, performance showcase at the 2017 Winter NAMM show, and experience the 2016 ASCAP “I CREATE MUSIC” Expo. To stay posted on all Barrios news, follow her on Twitter @SarahElizB or her official website, http://sarahbarriosmusic.com.