Sara Dell's real life story is remarkable, colored by an astonishing number of unusual, heartbreaking and incredible experiences - all of which she somehow transforms into beautiful, uplifting but sometimes haunting music, telling the stories with a voice that seems to travel straight to the soul.
Somewhere around 20,000 hours have gone into the making of this young artist's music, from a little girl's first years of piano lessons to the thousands of live shows that have brought this vibrant new artist to the brink of stardom. Winnipeg-born Songwriter/Artist Sara Dell has been cooking up super-catchy, masterfully crafted pop songs since around the age she learned to ride a bicycle. After studying classical piano for nine years and recording her first Independent EP, the bright eyed young girl packed her piano, studio gear and clothing into a rented minivan and pointed it toward Toronto to pursue her dreams in music. Sara promised herself that she would have to make her living through music alone, believing the need for survival would probably be the fastest and most solid route to reach her musical potential. Knowing hardly a soul in the city, she hit the pavement of Toronto in search of everywhere and anywhere to perform, beginning with a few mostly unknown little piano bars where she is sure nobody would ever take their mother for dinner. The next many years were spent performing and teaching wherever she could, and any free time and money were spent writing, producing and recording her songs in studios around Toronto.
Four albums later, and having persevered independently through over a decade of the ever-changing and often treacherous maze known as the music industry, Sara was faced with the loss of her voice over a four year period leading up to January 2015. The same vocal cord issues that had paralyzed the voices of musical artists Adele, John Mayer and Celine Dion had become an insurmountable obstacle to performance for Sara unless she underwent vocal surgery requiring many months of strict silence, rehabilitation and rest before and after surgery. In fall 2014, Sara began preparing for her surgery, recording five new singles with her band and struggling to finish recording her vocals the week before her surgery in January 2015. While recovering in silence - using texting and good old fashioned paper and pen to communicate - she and her co-producer Mark Shannon finished mixing the new singles for radio release.
Sara's vocal surgery was a perfect success, and she was excited to return to the stage with her new voice and her trio in June 2015. She released her new single and music video KEY TO A LOCKET in spring 2016 and headed south to check out Nashville.
Upon her return to Canada in June, Sara was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with a extremely rare and wide rooted skin cancer which drastically changed her life and career plans, threatening both the quality and length of her life. "The only way for me to express how terrified and devastated I felt facing these circumstances was to write songs about it. And writing music was also the only way I could cope with the intense amount of fear and sadness I was experiencing. All of the plans I had made for my life, everything I had worked for, hoped for and dreamed about, it was all very possibly over and gone - just like that. I have never cried so much in my life, never felt so defeated." , Sara explains. She wrote and recorded the very emotional and soul piercing "HAPPY ENDING" during this experience, and headed south again to work with the American Cancer Society raising money for cancer research before her scheduled cancer surgery.
In the meantime, her family, fans and friends, and many other people raised enough money online in a two week period to pay for Sara to receive the very best cutting edge surgery/treatment available in North America -at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. On August 25, 2016 she underwent the surgery which successfully and completely removed the tumor. She spent the fall recovering and in November received a very unusual medical report: the tumor they had removed, though confirmed cancerous at biopsy was now confirmed to have become benign at the time of excision. The doctors involved had been scratching their heads and comparing the tissues for three months following the surgery and eventually concluded this to be a case of spontaneous remission which is to say that Sara's body somehow healed itself between June and August of 2016 and that there was no longer any cancer to be found. "I received a gigantic miracle that summer. I am so grateful to be alive and healthy, and I am now more inspired than I have ever been to be my best and achieve the highest level of my potential in every area of life. I feel like I was given one more chance and I'm not wasting it."
In January 2017, after receiving her clean bill of health, Sara once again packed up her life and headed south to the legendary Music City to continue her musical career. She is currently writing and pursuing music opportunities in Nashville TN, while performing across Canada and the US with a fresh mix of her new releases, songs from her previous four albums and hot new renditions of other songs that boast a general consensus of being awesome. Check out the SARA DELL TRIO and all 5 of Sara's albums right here on saradell.com, available for purchase on iTunes and other digital stores.
Stay tuned for the release of brand new singles to iTunes, festival performances and more new music videos!
Photographer: Anthony P Mineri