Sarah Kervin is an emerging vocalist and composer whose writing weaves a story that strikes a chord in your soul. Her unique sound and passionate voice artfully blend modern influences with jazz classics, creating fresh music that pays homage to a long legacy and maintains relevance for a modern audience.
Sarah discovered her lifelong passion for music as a precocious young girl growing up in Atlanta, GA. She started out performing original ditties in her parents’ living room but quickly went on to play and sing in various bands, choirs, and orchestras, never missing an opportunity to be on the stage. An introduction to the classic jazz album Sonny Side Up changed the direction of her art. “After listening to Dizzy [Gillespie] sing 'Sunny Side of the Street' I was hooked. Those infectious rhythms and that raw, fearless sound - I knew that jazz spoke to me on a primal level and I just had to learn to speak that language.” Doing triple-duty as a vocalist, saxophonist, and pianist, Sarah's versatility is evident in her eclectic collection of original tunes spanning all genres of music.
After graduating magna cum laude with a jazz studies degree from the University of South Carolina, she continued on to the University of North Texas to study under acclaimed vocalists and educators Jennifer Barnes and Rosana Eckert, where she received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Jazz Studies summa cum laude. While at UNT she was a member of the celebrated Jazz Singers I vocal jazz ensemble, directed Jazz Singers III, performed as the vocalist with the Three O'Clock Lab Band, played bari sax with the Six O'Clock Lab Band and written and arranged pieces for each of the Jazz Singers groups. Sarah has an ardent interest in education related to vocal jazz, and she conducts ongoing research in pedagogy that has included input from several of the top programs, educators, and artists in the nation.
As an artist, Sarah has received recognition as a soloist, guest artist, composer, and bandleader throughout the nation. In 2012, Sarah received three DownBeat Student Music Awards, winning the category of Graduate Vocal Jazz Performance and Outstanding Performance Awards for her CircleSong ensemble as well as her performance with UNT Jazz Singers. In 2010, Sarah was awarded first place in the Jazz Education Network Composition Showcase for her original song, "Samba de Encanto" and received a Magellan Research Grant from the University of South Carolina for her work on vocal jazz pedagogy. In 2009, Sarah was honored to be the first place winner of the jazz performance and scholarship awards at the National Sigma Alpha Iota Convention in Chicago, IL. In 2008, Sarah was a choral ambassador to China as part of the cultural salute to the Olympic Games. She has also been featured in the South Carolina and Frisco, TX Jazz Festivals and performed as a guest artist with the Texas Instruments Jazz Band, the Dick Goodwin Jazz Orchestra and the Columbia City Jazz Orchestra. Sarah performs regularly on piano and vocals in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her duo group, Outside the Box, and as leader of the Sarah Kervin Group. In addition to her own ensembles, she also plays and sings with a variety of other bands.
Sarah's debut album, Passing Through, was released in May 2012. It is a collection of original works interspersed with some old favorites. The title song, "Passing Through," is about the journey we all make through life and finding what's really important. “This song has been so many years in the making – the poetry was first conceived from a place of intense teenage angst, and it's amazing to see how much the words and the music have changed as I've developed as an artist and a person. I think this whole album represents a kind of conclusion I've reached in the journey of my life and my music.”
Sarah Kervin currently lives in New York City and is available in the metro area for performances, sessions, lessons and workshops.