Ready to Hit The Road with Sarah Segal-Lazar

woman by pool Sarah Segal-Lazar.

Sarah Segal-Lazar is one of those artists who seems to excel in every field she pursues. She’s well known in the drama scene, having been involved as a playwright, director, and actress. She’s appeared in productions ranging from her own quirky Fringe shows to starring in a major production at the Segal Centre. She’s also established as a folk singer-songwriter who plays solo as well as with her own band. Now, with a second album under her belt since 2023, she’s ready to hit the road on tour.

Creating the second album was not a given. In fact, she had intended to shelve music prior to the COVID outbreak. “During the pandemic, I had the opportunity to take stock of what I was doing. Acting, directing, playwrighting, music — I took stock of what I was doing and realized something needs to go on the back burner,” she says. “What made the most sense was music because the other three go together.”

But during the pandemic, she found herself back on PEI. The island wasn’t under lockdown, and she began playing music at bars and restaurants. “It was validating,” she says. “It made me feel good and that I was contributing. It shifted my perspective. I decided that once things opened back up, I’d go for it with music.”

She connected with Canadian producer and musician Matthew Barber and crowd-funded to record her album live off the floor in Toronto in just two days. “It was an incredible experience and I have no regrets. It was so special.” The 10 songs recorded resulted in her second album, Valleys.

Segal-Lazar says the songs are “a scrapbook of moments over the last few years.” They were written at different stages of her life. “There are many different ways I did songwriting on it.” She recounts how the track Better in America was built out of the tension between her own personal experiences and other women’s experiences. “I wrote what it means as an artist to feel really good there, but know my body as a woman is not respected.” As soon as she wrote the song, news came out about the US Supreme Court’s decision to revisit Roe v. Wade, reversing the ability for women in many states to have access to an abortion. “That was wild,” she says, wondering how she was so prescient. “As a friend said, it was in the air. You’re writing for the moment.”

In This Old House, she tried to write a personal song about how come she couldn’t stay on PEI even though she loved it. “What came out was a song about a neighbour of mine who I have a lot of questions about,” she says. “I thought I knew him, but there were all these questions that came from other people, about how he’d been married and where was his wife now.”

Segal-Lazar recorded her album with a band, but most of her tour is solo. “The show in Montreal is special because I have my band. It would be my dream to take them on the road with me,” she says. “But when you’re solo, you can sleep in your car or on a couch. It’s a lot harder for four people to do that.”

Segal-Lazar enjoys touring solo. “I love the relationship with the audience,” she says. “I do a lot of storytelling and banter and vibe with the audience. People come to me sometimes and say, I love the music but I’m here for the banter.”

“Touring is amazing,” she says. “You show up every night in a different town in a different venue and you’re lucky if you’ve seen photos on line of the place.” Segal-Lazar does all her own bookings and she even goes to places where she doesn’t yet have a fan base. She notes that there’s always someone she can connect to in the audience. “It’s just great to know that every show leads to something,” she says. “Sometimes I’m tired or I think my voice is giving out, but there are always people who are into it.”

With her musical career currently lit, the acting and directing have been set to the backburner for now. “The playwrighting is still strong,” she says. She is planning to see one of her shows staged in BC while on tour. She also remains active in doing voice work.

“I love using my voice,” she says. “With music and voice, I show up authentically. Music you can love me or hate me, but I’m just me. The stories and music are mine. When I’m on stage, I’m 100% myself, but maybe with a bit more hyperactivity. My jokes are mine. Everything is me and something really feels like it clicks there.”

“Things have shifted and I need to remind myself that nothing is forever,” she muses. “Music is working for me now and in a year or two, who knows, I may get back to acting. It’s whatever gives you life in the moment. You need to enjoy what’s happening, and for me, right now, that’s music.”

Check out Sarah Segal-Lazar with her full band at Quai des Brumes (4481 Rue St Denis) on June 18th at 9:30 p.m. HERE. Tickets and info about all upcoming shows in the Maritimes, Ontario, and BC can be found HERE.

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