Who knew Western University was home to its very own Taylor Swift? Sarah Kimber, a second year criminology student, is also an aspiring country-pop singer from Aurora Ontario. She is currently competing to win a 20-minute opening set for Tyler Ward, a YouTube sensation who is known for his flawless covers of popular songs.
Tyler is looking for openers for all of his shows on his North American tour, and Sarah entered her cover of Taylor Swift’s “Red” for his Toronto show at the Sound Academy on December 20th. Artists are competing through the website Topblip.com. Contestants all go through a number of rounds - the winners are determined by a team of judges that is 1/3 fans, 1/3 Tyler Ward’s Management, and 1/3 Topblip. At the moment 52 people are in the competition with Sarah currently coming in at fourth.
Sarah has been singing ever since she could speak. She started playing the guitar when she turned 14 and also started to write her own songs around the same time. “My first time performing was when I was 4 years old on my balcony while all my kindergarten teachers who I invited were watching me from the driveway,” she laughs. Sarah has performed at her high school talent shows, coffee houses and I recently had her first open mic experience at Carey’s Bar and Grill in London.
Writing her first song at age 14 called “Pebbles” about a boy she had a crush on, Sarah has continued to grow as a songwriter. Although she is predominantly a country-pop singer, Sarah often finds herself surprised by the music she writes; “[Sometimes] I’ll write a song that doesn’t fit into that [country] genre. [My music] tends to be brutally honest because I write about things that happen to me that have a significant emotional impact on my life, whether something makes me happy, sad, angry... whatever happens I love turning it into a song.”
Though her favourite artist is Taylor Swift (who is also a main reason why she started to play music), Sarah has a very eclectic taste in music. “I honestly don’t think I can pick a favourite genre of music because I have a mood for everything. It all fits in somewhere.” Sarah is at-home when she is on stage. She explains how she only gets nervous for ten seconds before her name is called. “It’s the best kind of nervous,” she mentions. “I’m always so excited about it. Once I get singing my nerves calm down and it’s just really fun from there.”
Before deciding to attend Western, Sarah toyed with the idea of taking a year off and pursuing her dream of playing music. However, Sarah found it hard living in a small town. “University seems like ‘the thing you’re supposed to do’,” she says. Sarah has fallen in love with Western, and is truly grateful she is able to experience life as an undergrad student.
Between singing, song-writing, going out to The Ceeps, attending school, and keeping in touch with her family, Sarah is able to prioritize her time, but not without sacrifices. “I usually sacrifice sleep,” she admits. “It’s the same with someone who loves to dance or play hockey. Right now I’m realizing music is a top priority of mine. My friends are so supportive and always boost my confidence when it comes to singing or performing.”
In five years, Sarah hopes to make a name for herself by becoming a professional musician. “I want to be happy with whatever I’m doing. I’d love to be singing, performing, writing songs, and making other people happy by doing that.” Winning the contest and being able to perform at Tyler Ward’s concert would only further Sarah along on her undeniably bright future as a musician. So, why should you vote for Sarah? “If people enjoy my version of ‘Red’ and want to see me take a step further towards being where I want to be, I would be so completely thankful,” she discusses. “I really don't have words for how happy I'd be if I got to open for Tyler and perform and I'd owe those individuals who helped me out so much. I want people to vote for me because they think I'm talented and believe I deserve their votes.”
To vote for Sarah, fans can go to her link at http://www.topblip.com/w/15519. Once the video is viewed, voters can give her five stars to continue to push her towards the top! You can vote once a day, so be sure to get one in every day! Also keep a look out for her YouTube channel coming soon.
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