We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Jean Kelley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara Jean, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Honestly, I have given up many times in my life. Given up, quit, moved on, moved around, come back, redirected, and everything in between. I’ve spent time with regret and anger in these places for not ‘sticking to it’ or ‘persisting at all costs.’ But now I see that by giving up when I needed to, I gave myself the space and time to really understand what I want and who I am. I think the ‘at all costs’ mentality lends itself to some serious costs. Sometimes giving up in necessary to gain some perspective: we tend to get so wrapped up in the task at hand that we forget why we’re doing it or whether or not we even love it. Through all of that I learned that the most important thing you can offer yourself is grace. Grace, understanding and most importantly– forgiveness. Giving up is probably the best gift I’ve given myself– by giving up music when I did I was able to try other things and come to the realization that music is who I am and what I want to do. Because of that I am more myself than I have ever been and more determined to follow my passion than ever. I say if you think giving up is the right choice for you, then do it– but do it with the intention of finding what IS right, and not just because it got a little hard.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a Nashville based musician and my latest ep “Black Snake’ has been rolling out over the last few months and will be out in the world officially on November 19th. I’ve had many challenges along the way. Most specifically quitting music for 3 years and then coming back to it late 2019 in a completely new landscape and community. The lesson I keep learning over and over again is forgiveness. Forgiveness of myself, of my friends, of my ex’s, of my countrymen. Though I certainly never expect to be perfect at it, I intend to put it in practice every day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My best friend and I would go to Wilburn Street Tavern. It’s my favorite bar in Nashville because they have quiet booths and cheap drinks. That’s all I want: to talk and drink with my friends.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents: who always support my choices, whether they think it’s the right one or not.
Aliegh Sheilds, Joshua Black Wilkens, Gabriel McCurdy