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Student Highlights - The Composers

Sara Richardson knows the million-to-one odds that a young artist can make it as a singer and composer.

She just doesn’t see any reason she can’t be that one in a million.

“From my dad, I learned that anything is achievable,” says Richardson of her biggest musical influence, who is a pianist and singer. “Both my parents are huge supporters, making it easier to believe.”

Richardson has been singing all her life, but it wasn’t until her junior year in high school that she really found her voice.

“Before I got a lead in a play, I’d been an extra all my life,” She says. “I started taking singing lessons to keep up my voice for the show and that’s when my teacher said I’ve got something.”

Richardson studied music at Wheaton College for one semester before transferring in 2005 to UMaine, closer to her Washington, Maine home.

Richardson’s first original composition was performed in public last winter.

The piece, Untitled, which she performed on piano accompanied by two of her friends, was written after a relationship breakup. The new music took her five minutes to compose.

“It’s kind of beyond my control,” says Richardson of the process of writing music. “I don’t necessarily think of it as a conscious effort. Usually, I get a feeling that I have to write a song, and I go find the chords on the guitar.

“I find I can only write the words after I’ve found the music,” she says.

“Music is a language in itself. Once I find what I want to express in musical notes, I can back it up with the lyrical elements.”

Richardson is a soprano in the folk/Indie tradition whose music is as thoughtful as it is optimistic and sometimes whimsical.

“I see life as something we shouldn’t waste trying to figure out. There’s energy wasted being confused and depressed,” says the junior majoring in music. “I hope listeners feel at peace with my music. I hope it allows them permission to relax and a chance to take a deep breath.”

When she graduates next year, Richardson is bound for Boston or New York City. She hopes to perform and find a record label.

“Music has an important role in my life. I’ve come to terms with that fact that it’s my first love. I would not be complete without it. It’s something I know I’m supposed to live for.”

Ten years from now, Richardson says with a laugh that she hopes to be picking out a dress to wear down the red carpet at the Grammy Awards ceremony, or deciding what song to perform at the Lincoln Center at the honorary concert of her idol, Joni Mitchell.

“We all have control of our own destinies,” Richardson says. “My contribution would be living proof that if want to, you can be anything ever want. Absolutely.”

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