International singer plays OKC

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International singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid will be playing in Oklahoma City as part of her biggest tour yet.

The tour includes a total of 64 performances in three months, both in the U.S. and in the U.K.

With this being her biggest tour, specific goals were set in hopes of accomplishing everything she wanted to do.

“Some of the concerts are repeat visits to places I’ve played before, but there are a lot of new venues as well that I haven’t played before,” McQuaid said. “It’s always good to get in front of new audiences and hopefully win over some new fans who will come back and see me again and maybe buy a CD or two.”

Another goal for the tour is the chance to showcase some new music that she has been working on over the summer. As the tour progresses, McQuaid is planning on inserting new songs into her set.

“What I always find is that even if you think you’ve finished writing a song, after you play it live in front of an audience you always find yourself wanting to tinker with it and make changes,” McQuaid said. “So I’m looking forward to getting into that process.”

McQuaid grew up around music. As a child, she was involved in the Chicago Children’s Choir and traveled around the country. The hectic schedule prepared her for tour life. As a lover of choral music, she also finds time to sing in her church choir. Her songwriting career began when she was a kid, writing and performing songs for school assemblies.

According to McQuaid, music is an art form that requires dedication as well as education, so she takes an interest in helping future artists improve their craft.

Recently, McQuaid held a workshop at a local school in her hometown and then had three of the students actually open for her. She makes it a point while on the road to have new, unknown performers open for her shows.

“It’s great to be able to give people that young the opportunity to perform on a professional level, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their music develops as they get older,” McQuaid said.

Besides being an international singer, McQuaid is also the mother of two children.  Though she is hoping to keep seeing more success in her music career, McQuaid works to maintain a balance between her career and her personal life.

“Even as a touring musician spending six months of the year on the road, I see more of [the kids] than I did when they were younger and I had a full-time office job,” McQuaid said. “I try and work my tour schedule around their school calendar so that anytime they’re off school, I’m at home… so at least when I’m at home I get to spend full days with them, and when I’m on the road we keep up via Skype.”

McQuaid will be in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas on the 25th and 26th of September. Freshman Kelsey Berry listened to McQuaid’s music for the first time and sees promise in what she heard.

“I have been involved in music for a huge part of my life and I had never heard of Sarah McQuaid, but after listening to the sound bites of some of her music, I would like to see her in concert,” Berry said.

Like Berry, there are students who try to expose themselves to a variety of genres when it comes to music. McQuaid’s music is not just one culture. Her music spans generations, even centuries, drawing from even the remotest of historical backgrounds.

“I have wildly eclectic tastes and that affects the music I play,” McQuaid said. “In a typical concert I might play a bunch of my own songs, which themselves are in many different styles, a couple of old-timey Appalachian folk songs and tunes, a song from 16th century England, an old 1930’s jazz number and maybe a surprise cover of something more contemporary.”

Sophomore Sean Steele, a music education major, recognizes the vast influences in McQuaid’s musical styles.

“When you listen to her music, you are able to find the sometimes subtle but also prominent musical stylings of different cultures as well as different time periods,” Steele said.

No matter what part of life McQuaid finds herself in, music surrounds it. From her time as a music journalist writing articles about such legends as Tina Turner and James Brown, to composing her own songs based on the children’s books she reads to her kids, McQuaid leads a music filled life.

Tickets for McQuaid’s Oklahoma City show at The Blue Door are $15. They can be purchased at www.bluedoorokc.com.

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