We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Peacock and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Real success and real money finally began to come when I started treating my art like a business. That’s not an easy thing to do for many creatives. By nature, artists are whimsical, spontaneous, a bit flighty, and we tend to have a reputation for losing track of time or being unorganized.
As an artist, making art was all I really wanted to do or cared about doing. It was all I was trained to do. No one taught me how to run a business. We didn’t learn that in music school. But I quickly figured out that if I wanted to turn this into a career that I needed to learn how to monetize my art.
It was trial and error for me. I made a lot of mistakes. I learned how to do business by being bad at it at first. It was hard to find the balance between being an artist and being an entrepreneur. Sometimes it felt like the artistic side of me became crushed by the need to constantly stay on top of the business/admin side of things. After all, focusing on that is what monetizes my art to begin with.
I won’t lie. I’ve reached burn out on many levels more than once. The road is so hard. The music business is hard. It all feels like too much some days. What helped me the most was learning how to compartmentalize and creating the time and space for each gear to turn in its own way – the touring, the writing, the producing, the emails and admin, the website building, the social media management and marketing, etc. And, also realizing that while I can do all the jobs, it doesn’t mean I should. I started seeing much more success at a faster rate when I began to hire other people that could do these certain jobs better than I could. My brand looked shinier with a professional graphic artist handling all the imagery, everything felt easier.
For me, it’s so important to set time aside to write, brainstorm, and be creative. My business/entrepreneur brain is the loud Jewish mother in the room. My artistic side is the shy, quiet little girl sitting in the corner wondering if she’s worthy enough to have a seat at the table. And, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Balance is key. It’s true that if there’s no business there’s no money. But if there is no art, there is no business. The music and its message is at the heart of it all.
Diversifying my brand has also brought in a bunch of new layers to revenue, which has been amazing. I wrote a children’s book last year that really ties in with so many of the underlying messages in my music. I’m also a chef, so I’m in the early stages of a cookbook and developing that side of my brand as well. I’m very passionate about the anti-bullying movement, so I try to stay involved in that by speaking to kids at schools when I’m on the road. When you create layers and connect business to causes greater than yourself it opens up a whole new world.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out. I’m a work in progress, always learning as I go. But I’m grateful for the journey, and I can’t wait to see how my music and brand continue to make a positive impact for change in the world as I grow.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a singer/songwriter. But, I had no clue how to really get out there and do it. When I started out, I was sleeping in Walmart parking lots, playing 4 hour gigs for less than $100, and barely paid my bills. I’ve been caught up in a bad contract or two that robbed me of a few years, a common story among musicians.
One of my most pivotal moments was in 2016. My tour bus caught on fire at a Love’s truck stop in California at the beginning of a 4 month tour. I lost everything; equipment, merchandise, personal items, I almost lost my dogs. The way my tribe came together for me during that time has had a major impact on my entire life. Never has there been a moment where I wanted to give up more. Watching all that I worked so hard for go up in flames was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I just didn’t feel like I had the energy to keep going. But, my fans started showing up in some incredible ways. Every need got met and then some. Someone donated a motor home for me to finish my tour, it all worked out.
What that told me is that my message is important. It means something to someone. And if people were paying attention, I needed to get very serious about how I wanted to use my platform. So I started tapping into parts of myself artistically that I had always been too afraid to discover. My authenticity began to shine, and my intentions got stronger with my message and my brand.
It hasn’t been an easy road for me. Being a female in music who also happens to be a member of the LGBTQIA+ community has caused me to shy away from my own worthiness over the years. I was never a cool kid growing up. I got made fun of a lot. But what I love about the music community, especially the fans, is that it helps us open up to ourselves. Music saved me. We’re all looking for a piece of ourselves in the story, and that’s what I aim to serve to those who will listen. For someone to show up to a concert or listen to an album and feel just a little less alone and a little more joy – that’s the goal.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Not sure if you want LA or Nashville, which is where I live full time so I’ll do one for both. You can choose which fits your vibe better for this.
Los Angeles – One of my favorite places to hang out in the LA area is Venice Beach. I could eat poke, get FROYO, drink good coffee, surf, and longboard to Malibu and back 5 days a week. If I were going to spend a week with a friend in Los Angeles, the ocean would be a huge part of that. I’m also a huge health nut, and I love that California has so many raw/vegan food options. Everywhere you turn there’s a healthy place to eat. I’d do all the gay things in West Hollywood because of course it’s the best place to people watch.
Nashville – I’m a huge foodie, and Nashville has one of the hottest food scenes in the entire country. I’m not really into fried foods, but you can’t come to Nashville without making a stop at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. I usually like to take my friends who visit on a drive tour of Nashville to scope out the difference neighborhoods. I’m a big fan of 12 South and East Nashville. The Country Music Hall of Fame is also really interesting. Live music is where it’s at here. There are so many live music venues, everything from dive bars to the Grand Ole Opry, and I’d make sure to hit up a variety of spots. If you can see a show at the Ryman downtown, it’s guaranteed to be one of the most memorable live music experiences of your life. It’s fun to go honkey tonkin’ down on Broadway too, every bar has a live band. The party starts at 10am and goes until 2am every single day. Nashville has great parks, and there are tons of outdoor things to do. A hike at Percy Warner is a must, and a kayaking trip down the Harpeth River should be on every agenda for summer trips.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My biggest shout out honestly has to go to my fans. Hands down. My entire career has been carried by their love and support even through the darkest of times. When my tour bus burned down in 2016 and I lost everything, they were there for me. Someone started a fundraiser, one person donated a motor home for me to finish my tour – it’s just so magical to see a community come together like that. There are so many mind blowing examples of how they’ve shown up for me through the years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. There really is nothing more important to me than my relationship with my incredible tribe, and I’m so thankful for their loyalty and love.