Star Spot with Sarah Rose, a Top Ten songwriter and InterContinental Music Awards winner

Sarah Rose Shawcross: From Overcoming Challenges to Winning Awards in the Music Industry


Welcome to this episode of Star Spot! I’m Merry, and in this series, I interview InterContinental Music Awards winners and insiders, bringing you exclusive insights into the music industry. Today, I’m thrilled to have with me Sarah Rose Shawcross, our brilliant winner of 2022.

Exclusive interview with Sarah Rose Shawcross, a talented songwriter and musical artist who has made a name for herself in the music industry. As a Top Ten songwriter and InterContinental Music Awards winner, Sarah has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with. Her influences include Imogen Heap, Kate Bush, Caroline Polachek, and Sia, and her collaborations with Angel City, Long-View, Flashbrothers, Kush, Lisa Scott-Lee, Oxfam, and Jacob’s Creek have made her a sought-after artist in the music competition and music contest scene.

In this interview, Sarah will share with us her challenges and inspirations as an independent artist. With a portfolio of material recorded with Armistice Records/Arcadia Music Group and performances at iconic London venues such as the Bedford, Water Rats, and Slaughtered Lamb, Sarah has made a name for herself in the music industry. Her song ‘Next Year’, released in 2020 by BRIT nominee Sarah Class on Pretty Decent Records, was awarded Finalist position in the World Music Awards 2020. Additionally, Sarah has also lectured at Winchester University and mentored as part of the Ivors Academy and Help Musicians’ Music Creators Mentoring Programme in 2020/2021.


Let’s dive right into the interview summary and tap into Sara Rose ‘s vast knowledge and experience. The full interview is available on Instagram – click here to check it out.


Could you tell us a bit about yourself for those who are just joining us and would like to get to know you better?

Of course! My name is Sarah Rose, and I’m a songwriter and producer who also performs my own material. My style has evolved into a unique blend of dream pop and singer-songwriter. Before this, I primarily wrote songs for other artists and have had several commercial releases, including a top ten hit. I’m also currently involved in writing music for film and television.


Are you currently working on any new material, such as an album, that you can share with us?

Absolutely! In fact, I just released a single called “Heaven Sent” last Friday. I’m also working on several other pieces of material that will be released throughout the year, including about three or four other releases. So stay tuned for more from me!


Can you tell us how you first got started in your music career and how you knew that this was what you wanted to do?

 My love for music started at a very young age. I began playing the piano when I was just a child and have always enjoyed being a part of choirs. As I grew older, I started writing my own songs and knew that music was going to be a significant part of my life. I’ve had the pleasure of singing with bands, releasing my own music, and even working in music education. So, I’ve been pursuing my passion for quite some time now!


Where do you draw inspiration for your music?

My inspiration comes from various sources. Sonically, I listen to a lot of different types of music, and that inspires me to create unique sounds and styles in my own music. Recently, I’ve been particularly influenced by Lana Del Rey’s music. In terms of lyrics and narratives, I draw inspiration from different sources such as films, television shows, books, and stories. All of these different mediums provide me with a range of perspectives that I can incorporate into my music.


What do you hope your listeners take away from your music?

 I want my music to have an emotional impact on my listeners. I believe that the sound, the lyrics, and the delivery of a song should work together to create a moving experience for the listener. I’m looking that my music touches my listeners on a deeper level and that they feel a connection to it that lasts. Whether it’s a particular melody or a powerful lyric, I want my music to evoke a range of emotions in my listeners that they can carry with them long after they’ve finished listening.


Could you tell us about your creative process when working on a new piece of music?

 My creative process varies, but typically I start with an idea of what the song will be about and then begin on the computer with a beat, chords, and a sound that inspires me. Sometimes I have a little melodic hook or rough idea of the story beforehand. I then work on the top-line melody and build the song from there. My inspiration comes from a variety of sources such as sound, books, films, and even stories. There’s no specific recipe for my creative process as it varies from person to person. Sometimes I hear a song in my head and need to get it down or I’ll tinker around with chords on an instrument until something comes to me. The vibe of the music usually grows from there.


How has the music industry evolved, particularly for female artists?

In terms of female representation, the music industry has improved, but there is still a long way to go. The biggest gap has been in production, with few opportunities available for women. However, Sarah has seen some changes in recent years, with more female producers emerging, making it a more accessible career path for women. Sarah herself has also started to delve into production. Despite the fast-changing nature of the industry, Sarah believes that there is much progress to be made, particularly with the advent of new technologies such as AI.


How was your experience with InterContinental Music Awards?

My experience with ICMA was great. It was a very professional competition with great judges, and the prizes and mentoring sessions were fantastic. The competition was well run and not too expensive to enter. Winning the competition was a huge honor for me, and I learned a lot from the experience. I highly recommend it to other musicians looking to showcase their work and get valuable feedback and exposure. Overall, it was a very positive experience and a great opportunity to connect with other musicians and industry professionals.


Have you ever thought about collaborating with other ICMA winners?

  Yes, I didn’t realize it was something we could do, but I would love to collaborate with other ICMA winners. Especially since it’s an international award, and remote collaboration is much easier nowadays. If there’s a group for other winners of this award, I would be happy to draw for it. Let me know, and I’m sure it would be an incredible experience.


What challenges have you faced in your music career?

 The music industry is an emotional rollercoaster, full of ups and downs. One of the biggest challenges is handling the constant rejection that comes with pitching songs. For every acceptance, there could be 10 rejections, so it’s crucial to have a thick skin and come back stronger every time. It’s also important to be able to criticize your work and use feedback to grow and improve. Writing loads is another key to success, as the more you do it, the better you get. Dealing with criticism can be tough, but it’s important to move on from it and continue your path.


What advice do you have for young artists who are just starting their career and want to get their foot in the door?

 My advice would be to create music that you love. Don’t write music to please others, write something that you love and believe in. If it comes from the heart and is authentic, then other people will connect with it too. It may not happen right away, but if you continue to write what you love and believe in, you will eventually find your audience. Remember that there are always people who feel the same way as you, and they will be drawn to your music. So, keep writing and stay true to yourself.


What is the best advice you’ve received on your music career?

 I can’t think of a specific answer, but I believe in reaching for the stars and aiming high. There was a quote that said, “reach for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” I think that’s very sweet and unique advice. Ultimately, I believe in aiming high and pursuing your dreams with passion and dedication.


Is there anything you would like to share with your fans and viewers?

 Yes, if anyone out there has listened to my music or wants to have a listen, thank you. There’s lots more to come and I’m just as inspired now if not more than I ever have been. To other musicians, just keep doing what you love. InterContinental music awards have been a part of my journey, and winning the competition was a nice affirmation. It came at a really good time and just helped to propel me forward. So, thanks!


Sarah Rose Shawcross Contact Info:

Click here to watch Sarah Rose Shawcross ‘s  full interview on Instagram Merry and Sarah Rose (Sarah Showcross) smiling to the camera during the star spot interview.

InterContinental Music Awards Team

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