A young singer chases her dream moving around from a European city to another. Her love for music has pushed her far away from home with a backpack full of creativity, commitment and curiosity. An eye constantly on the international music scene, Sara Ci has shaped her artistic identity craving with the desire to leave her mark. Her journey doesn’t mean she’s “running away”: it’s a sign of a constant quest for new inspiration triggers.
We are honoured to report the pleasant chat we had with Sara Ci in order to get to know something more about her dreams and her music.
Berlin was a real life-changing experience, for me. I’d never been to Germany before moving, but I’ve been lucky enough to immediately find a great band and some wonderful people that helped me settle in and enjoy my time inside and outside school.
Hello Sara! Tell us something about you for those who still don’t know you.
Hi everyone, my name is Sara Ciscato, aka Sara Ci. I'm a top liner, songwriter and independent artist from Varese, a small town of northern Italy. Music has always been an important element in my family. My older brother Edoardo, my cousins and I have been involved in the world of music since our childhood, learning to play the violin and the transverse flute for over 5 years. In the meantime, I started taking singing classes as well: group classes, at the beginning, then growing up my voice begun maturing too, so I switched to private classes. When I was younger, I was really into drawing, so I attended a high school focused on artistic subjects, where I specialized in design. Right after graduation, I decided to move to Berlin in order to keep studying music at the BIMM (British Irish Modern Music Institute), where I’ll graduate next November. Berlin was one of the most significant experiences of my whole life: that’s where I released my first single, where I had my first session and my first live performances. Another chapter of my life is about to begin very soon though: next year I’ll move to Holland, where I’ll be pursuing my goals trying to improve more and more my style and music.
When did you actually start enjoying music? Is there any particular person or significant episode that made you realize music was your way?
I've always been fond of music, ever since I was a little girl. As I was saying before, I ‘ve always felt familiar with it because many of my family members are musicians and my house has never been quiet, as long as I can remember. Singing came later. I have such a clear memory of the exact time I realized I really enjoyed singing, even more than playing violin. It was third grade and I was given the solo part in a musical organized by my school. The song was "Oh Happy Day", Hawkins' famous gospel song and it was the first time I'd ever come on stage with a microphone in my hand, singing all alone while my classmates were singing in the back. Fun fact: I still have the musical DVD my family recorded! When I watch it my heart warms: that’s where everything started!
How did you end up in Berlin? Do you like living there? What’s the music environment like in Germany?
Berlin was a real life-changing experience, for me. I’d never been to Germany before moving, but I’ve been lucky enough to immediately find a great band and some wonderful people that helped me settle in and enjoy my time inside and outside school. I will always keep them in my heart. Speaking of music environment, one of the reasons why I chose to move to Berlin is that it offers many opportunities in this field: the city is filled with artists and every spot is the perfect location for a jam session. Thanks to BIMM I also had the chance to meet a lot of people in the music, business and management industry. However, even though I’ve had a great time here and I feel connected to Berlin in many ways, I didn’t met the contacts I was looking for. Luckily, I found some artists outside of Germany interested in my work, so I started producing my music with them. That being said, if you love music, art and well... beer (LOL)... I highly recommend living in Berlin, at least for a while. I know many people who, unlike me, managed to get many opportunities there and who are very happy. Berlin is a city that will always have a special place in my heart, even when I’ll move elsewhere.
Tell us about your music style. How did you realize that this mix of pop and RnB was in your vibe? Have you ever experimented with other music genres?
I've tried all kinds of music styles. At BIMM they taught me how to sing in any situation, so that I could perform any kind song if I needed to. And that’s great! It really helped me understand what I actually liked to do. Through my vocal training and listening to many kind of songs, I became aware of the music I wanted to throw myself into, pop and Rnb, but this doesn’t mean that's all I want to do. I'm passionate about many genres of music. (A little spoiler: I've got a disco song coming out soon!)
Where do you find inspiration for your music?
Honestly, I’d say in everyday life. My lyrics are mainly based on what happens to me. I'm sure many artists are inspired by the emotions of the moment or by what they felt in significant episodes. When feeling a bit down, I find it easier to write songs, which is not so great for my mood LOL. Maybe it’s because I can find more topics to talk about and music becomes a way of letting off steam. Besides, listening to other artists is very important. Imitating singers might be very helpful when it comes to find new sources of inspiration; sometimes it's even surprising, because your voice does unexpected things when you try to imitate another artist’s style.
I'm sure many artists are inspired by the emotions of the moment or by what they felt in significant episodes. When feeling a bit down, I find it easier to write songs.
Have you ever experienced the typical creative block? If so, how do you find creativity in moments of complete blank?
Yes indeed. A creative block is very normal, it's hard to come up with brand new ideas all the time. Especially nowadays, there are a lot of artists and standing out of the crowd becomes more and more difficult. This is what any emerging artist does, or at least tries to do. Every time I have a block I try not to stop and not to bring myself down: that's the important part. Even if you have a block you need to remind yourself who you are as an artist and as a person, be strong and go on. To overcome a creative block I usually keep on writing, even if I don't produce good stuff, I try to just put myself to work. I also have to admit that I once tried to write something down during a block and I didn't like at all what I came up with. A few months later though, I got back to it and some new ideas came out of that riff that I thought was so bad.
It's all in our head, it's up to us to fight back!
I wrote it during a time of my life when I didn't believe in myself, not even in my music. And just by writing those words my mind felt free, so I started to work on myself, something that I keep on doing.
Give us some music advice: who are your favorite artists and which songs must always be part of your playlist?
My dream collabs are Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande. Cool dream, right? These two artists need to be in my playlist, because they are my main source of inspiration. They both experiment with so many music genres and it's great to see what they come up with.
Is there any of YOUR songs that is particularly significant to you? And why?
My song “Running Away” is the one I love the most. I wrote the song with Daniel Wullems, the guy who produced, mixed and mastered it as well. A very talented and kind person I had so much fun writing with. It's the first song about me and myself alone: it's about the insecurities that can trick your mind at certain times. It's about the part of me that needs to “run away” from my negative thoughts. I wrote it during a time of my life when I didn't believe in myself, not even in my music. And just by writing those words my mind felt free, so I started to work on myself, something that I keep on doing. The way I act with other people and with myself has changed over a year, and it is also because of this song. The chorus says: “Tell me it’s alright now, losing my mind, now. Finding my place, running away - If we do it your way (in this part I talk about my thoughts), it won’t make me stay. Finding my place, running away”. Now I’m grateful for my music, every single day.
Last year you landed on Spotify with your first singles. What was it like to go from singing in the shower to having your own songs on a platform used by millions of people around the world?
I cried! And then I had a good drink to celebrate. I remember I was in Amsterdam with some friends when my song came out. The moment I saw my name appear on Spotify I said to myself "okay, now there's no going back: I broke the ice". It's a step that many emerging artists like me are struggling to take, I know people who are not yet on any platform because of their fear of breaking the ice and showing themselves to the world. Believe that everyone has to take their time to do it, but at the same time there comes a point where you literally jump in and there's no turning back. When I woke up the next day I immediately went to check my profile and I was proud of myself: that was my starting point and it is a feeling that I will never experience again.
For the new generations of artists, social media play a key role in making themselves known to a big audience and achieving a wide recognition. As an official member of the so-called GenZ, how important have been the social media during your artistic career?
For emerging artists like me the social media are very important. My relationship with online platforms changes from day to day, but overall I'm slowly building a character and it's important for me to share it with the world. To be honest, I also met many interesting artists on Instagram and worked with dancers thanks to Facebook. These two platforms are often underestimated, but you can really create some great connections through Instagram's direct messages and Facebook messenger. As you said, social media play a key role in making new artists known, I do agree with you. Unfortunately, I know many incredibly talented emerging artists that only have 500-1000 followers, which is not very much. Growing followers is not so easy and actually some people don't even care much about it because they don't make music just to be popular. I don't make music to become famous; I like to connect people through my lyrics, so I guess this idea is sort of related to popularity. Although at the moment I have a group of fans who support me and I'm grateful for that every day. It's cool to see people getting excited when you let some new music out, it's a crazy thrill!
I don't make music to become famous; I like to connect people through my lyrics, so I guess this idea is sort of related to popularity.
Are you involved in any projects right now? And what are your plans for the future?
My current project is called "My Planet", and it's a concept EP: let me explain. As an emerging artist I prefer to produce singles rather than EPs or LPs, because this way I can reach more people gradually every time I release a new song. But somehow I wanted to create a world behind these songs that I am releasing, since they're all produced during my crazy twenties: I’m a young girl who is in love, has fun, and lives her life day by day. That's why I called it "My Planet," but actually I won't let it all come out at once. Maybe someday when they're all out there, I'll turn all of them into a whole thing, but we'll see. For the future I have some songs ready, but I'd like to focus on songwriting. I would like to work with more artists, write for other people and also start to produce something of my own, because right now I still rely on other producers.
And finally: what's your biggest dream?
My dream is to keep on writing, never to stop. For myself and for other people too! For some great artists maybe. But it would also be very cool to perform with some insane choreography and outfits, I love the stage. One of them will come true; in the meantime, I keep on going and keep on working on it because I'm just starting out.
How has the lockdown affected your work as an artist?
I had to strip down to basics since I was away from the studio for months. For a while I was not able to produce any work because there was just too much to process.
What are you currently working on? How is that going and can you share something about the project?
I have a group show coming up in Milan this September called “Narcisi Fragili” so I’m currently planning that, while also completing a series of drawings and texts for a publication.
What do you see in your artistic future? Where do you want to be?
When it comes to my artistic future, I see a studio.
It’s hard to know precisely which doors I will push or will open for me, but I think that as long as this core element is present, I won’t have to worry too much about the rest.