Interview with Singer Sarah Koolbeck

Hello, Folks,

I am honored today to have an interview with a beautiful young singer, who happens to be the daughter of a fellow Johnny (St. John's College, Annapolis, MD).

Below, she talks about singing and what has inspired her to pursue her dream.


How did you come to chose singing as the dream you wish to pursue?

Ever since I can remember I have wanted to be a singer. When I was much much younger I decided it would be good to be a singer because singing was my favorite thing in the world to do, and I thought I would like my life if  I could spend it singing. Also, I loved wearing pretty dresses  and as a child I thought singers spent their lives wearing pretty dresses and singing. Somehow along the way, the rest of the world convinced me that I was not only not good enough to be a singer but that I was simply not good enough, and I gave up my dream, or so I thought.

I didn't realize that it was really what was sustaining me through high school and college, until I was close to graduation from college in a major I liked but did not love. I realized I was not ready to be an adult, and I did not want to be an adult that had not given her all trying to make my dream a reality. I realized that it no longer mattered if I would look silly, how many times I would get told I am not enough, or if I simply failed.

I knew I had to try. So here I am, chasing my dream. 

You spent some time in Korea, and you can sing in Korean. How did those two very different things come together for you?

Honestly, my love for Korean language came from my love of music, as well as a desire to understand other people. Korean was the first language that struck me as musical, and I fell in love with the cadences of spoken Korean. I found that I wanted to learn what those beautiful sounds meant. Now Korean is not a tonal language, unlike Chinese, and so that kind of tonality is not present when one is speaking the language.

But just like in English, the tone one uses at the beginning of a sentence and the end of a sentence are different. Tone imbues the words with meaning. It indicates what is a question and what is an answer to the other person. So much for how I became interested in the Korean language.

When I was learning Korean, I had a few friends who liked to sing in Korean as part of our Karaoke nights. That is what really got me started with singing in Korean. My Korean friends really delighted in sharing their culture and modern music with me and that encouraged me to improve my skills.

I remember one friend meeting me over and over again trying to help me learn how to pronounce Korean properly, so that I could do a good job on an audition that I convinced her I had to send in a video for.

Do you sing English songs, too?

Yes, I do sing in English, as well as in Korean and Italian. I occasionally attempt French and German as well.

Can you share with us some of those who have inspired you?

I am inspired by people who pursue their dream.  I am most often inspired by people in my life, because I see how hard it is for them, and they just keep on going.

Artists that inspire me are Delandria Mills, Joe Duffy, and Maureen Berry. Each of them had a dream and made it work. Maureen went from being a young dance major to touring the world with Riverdance and now owns  her own very successful dance studio and is the head of an excellent dance company.

Joe Duffy was a little boy who wanted to be a dancer. He worked hard and he recently toured with Michael Flatley on Broadway.

Delandria Mills changed her major to flute in college, got a masters degree from Peabody conservatory and now has multiple CD's published and is a successful flute instructor and a children's book author.

Each of these people had dreams and vision and followed their dreams to completion. Rachel Platten was an International Relations major in college who decided that she wanted to be a musician so she made it happen and now is very successful and some of her tracks have been on America's Top 40 charts.

Whose work led you to your current love of singing?

I would have to say probably Frank Wildhorn and his adaption of the Scarlet Pimpernel for Broadway. I distinctly remember listening to the songs over and over again and trying to make my voice sound like that of Christine Andreas, the lead soprano in the Original Cast Recording of the show.

      What style singing do you do?

I sing anything from Classical Arias, Broadway songs, Light Opera, (perhaps more well-known as Operetta), Ballads, K-Pop, Contemporary Christian Music, to American Popular music and Country songs.

I tend to choose songs individually instead of choosing them by genre: if I like a song I will change the way it is done to suit my voice instead of letting genres completely dictate what I sing.

Can you give us an example of other artists whose fans might enjoy your work?

I think that people who are fans of Brooke Fraser, Hyorin or Sistar, Rachel Platten, Baek Ji Young, and Evanescence will particularly enjoy my work. I hope that people who are fans of FT Island, CN Blue, Jayyesslee, Juniel, and Boa will also enjoy my work.

Into the woods 3

Any final words?

I would just like to thank you for featuring me on your blog for this week and thank my friends and family for all their love and support. Please check out my YouTube channel! You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and SoundCloud.