Late last year Belfast performer Sarai J, AKA SJ, released her debut single Wild & Free.
Following on from her career as a dancer who has appeared in a number of television programmes, SJ took the leap and stepped into the recording studio.
Now, as she grows in popularity, she’s already working on her follow up single and debut album.
Get to know SJ:
How did you get started in the industry?
“I have been singing, dancing and writing since I was a child – its only the past 2 years that I decided it was time to make it happen – make it my career – so I started learning music production and really getting serious about song writing & making my own music.”
What genre / style do you create in?
“My style would be a mix of pop, alternative, dance & cultural fusions! Like a cocktail!”
What would you be best known for?
“Probably belly dancing.”
What would you consider your biggest achievement?
“My latest song and music video WILD & FREE.”
What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?
“That you can’t take everything to heart – you have to be strong.”
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
“Probably getting people to take me and my art seriously – I’m not messing around.”
Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?
“I work 9-5 in an office Monday – Friday, Ive been engaged since 2014, no kids but I do have a dog called Trixie who is technically my child and best friend/side kick. One of my favourite things to do (other than music) is reading books & watching documentaries (I love conspiracies) haha!
Tell us about your most recent work?
So I have a new song called ‘Wild & free’ – I wrote the song at the beginning of summer 2016, its about chasing your dreams & not settling for your 9-5 job if you want more, you’ve got to run like hell for it. That’s how I have been feeling – like an animal – fearless in my pursuit.
“I’ve spent too long doubting my abilities. I think the song really expresses that.”
“That I want to continue making music for the rest of my life & hopefully one day be on the MTV music awards representing Belfast.”
If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say?
“That this has been years in the making – everything I have been involved in or the classes I have taken, dipping in and out of things and so on up to this point was a conscious choice (I knew that I wasn’t ready a few years ago) so I had to do it all because it was helping me grow into the artist that I am today.
“My work is all me – It’s a reflection of everything I feel, think, experience expressed through my music & visual videos.
“I am very passionate about freedom of expression and being open minded about life. I am highly sensual, I feel immensely, especially peoples energy – I am a huge ‘empath’.”
What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?
“Having to undress/change costumes in the oddest places/locations! Naked and free haha.”
What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry?
“That you should always trust your gut, that feeling inside you – believe it. That you should also be very honest with yourself and have a sit down with yourself and ask yourself is this really what I am good at?
“Do I love this enough to go through all that I need to go through to get to where I want to be? These questions are important too.”
Who do you look up to and why?
“The musicians I look up to are artists that are no longer alive. People like MJ, Tupac, Lisa ‘Left eye’ lopes – I just really admired their passion for their art, their work ethic and their courage to speak up about the realities going on in the world. It’s these kinds of people that I admire most.
“I also look up to my mummy and sisters. Their strength and wisdom is second to none.”
To find out more:
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