Sara Hill Interview by Tom Paul
Sara Hill Interview by Tom Paul
Sara Hill is part of the Sista Factory Team http://www.myspace.com/sistafactory and the face of this promotion company that put on many great shows in the NYC area over the last 9 years. Sara at the same time worked at Joe's Pub under Director of Programming, Bill Bragin. After the birth of her daughter and relocation to Albany, she has landed on her feet as the Marketing Manager at the Performing Arts Venue, Proctors, in upstate NY. She also works with Artistic Director, Mona Goulb, on the Agnes MacDonald Music Haven free summer concert series. Sara recently started up a wonderful blog about the great artists she has worked with past and present http://sarahill.wordpress.com/
Sara has had the fortune to work with The Family Stand, Sandra St. Victor, Ledisi, Nona Hendyx, Goapele, Jean Carne, Karen Bernod, Stephanie McKay, N'Dambi, Julie Dexter and Toni Smith to name a few.
TP: When was the first Sista Factory show? Who were the artists involved?
SH: April 1999, at SOB's in NYC with Singer/Songwriters, Indira Milini Khan, Bemshi and Sandra St. Victor
TP: What does Sista Factory stand for?
SH: Soulful Inspirational Sounds to Admire
TP: What was the initial idea of Sista Factory setout to accomplish?
SH: To showcase and promote "singing sistas" the mission celebrates unsigned and emerging performing artists, providing a performance platform that celebrates live showcases and new music.
TP: Now that you've relocated to the Albany area, are you now trying to lure all of these talents to new venues up there?
SH: yes, it's definitely on my radar. The Capital Region has many beautiful performing arts venues with diverse programming where unsigned talent and new music is celebrated. I work with two great visionaries in the arts and supporters of new music, Artistic Directors, Philip Morris at Proctors and Mona Goulb of the Agnes McDonald Music Haven, a facility she helped launch. Mona and I brought in Esperanza Spalding this summer to Music Haven and it was amazing. I am working on some festivals and music series for next year. Nona Hendryx will be joining our Dangerous Music Series funded by New York State Music Fund in April 09 at Proctors with her multi-media "Audio Tutu" performance.
TP: What were your earliest influences in music that molded the love you have for music and the work you do?
SH: Listening to all genres of music growing up. I am a child of the 70"s and proud of it!! My earliest inspiration gave from listening to artists like Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Chaka Khan. I love Gospel music so the church played a big part in my inspiration for strong vocalists. I love singers who sing with feeling, but who also make you see the song. I love the poetry of Nikki Giovanni and fell in love with her album "Like a Ripple on a Pond" with the New Jersey Mass Choir directed by Bennie Diggs. And also The Wiz live album with Stephanie Mills, I played that till the needle wore outJ
TP: Do you have any new events coming up that you can talk about?
SH: Sista Factory is collaborating with various arts presenters to showcase more in NYC. Anita Bryant my Sista Factory partner and Founder of A-Marketing is busy working with me on that. We are showcasing an Acoustic Soul series in Tribeca with Papa Jube of SOB's. We are also co-promoting at music venues to help get the word out on various performance showcases. I am also very involved with networking in the performing arts scene in the Albany area branding Sista Factory and helping developed showcases for the local Capital Region artists.
TP: Any special shows that just passed that you were involved with?
SH: We recently celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Joe's Pub at The Public Theater with Daniel Sadownick and special guests Morley, Jeni Fujita, Gina Breedlove and Sophia Ramos. That was a reunion and very moving event for me personally.
TP: Have you worked with any legendary artists that pushed you to make the event that much more special?
SH: Nona Hendryx, Jean Carne and Gwen McCrae totally took me to a higher space. I was very appreciative to how much they admire the work of Sista Factory.
TP: What artists that you've worked with recently have made a lasting impression on you?
SH: Esperanza Spadling, Seasoned rising talent! And Gina Breedlove (I hate that it took us so many years to grace a stage together)
TP: What part of your job brings you the most satisfaction?
SH: Once the show starts and I feel how much the audience and artist connect. I get high off thatJ
TP: Are you involved in any other Organizations over the years that helped mold your business prowess?
SH: I have many mentors who have guided me along the way. I basically molded my career by hands on and going with my passion for what I believe is best. Working at SOB's and Joe's Pub at The Public Theater gave me the window of opportunity to learn the business side of the club scene. Also working closely with Vivian Scott Chew and her work with Time Zone International, we traveled together in 2005 with a joint production at London's Jazz CafÃ© with Kelli Sae, Laurna, Karen Berond and Sandra St. Victor. I love Vivian's consistency with artists and her passion for marketing music to new environments over seas.
TP: You've worked with so many artists over the years. Do you still have great relationships with these artists? Any of these artists that come to mind off the top of your head?
SH: I have gained a lot of "sister friends" that I am so thankful for: Sandra St. Victor, Stephanie McKay, Kelli Sae to name a few and my brothers Keith Fluitt, Marlon Saunders, Danny Sadownick, adore them!
TP: Will there be a 10th Anniversary show for Sista Factory next year? If so, which artists would you want to perform on such a show and what venue of all that you've showcased artists at would you want to hold the event?
SH: hard to say, we are in discussion about the concept, I would love to tell you however, it will be a surpriseJ
TP: Are there other promotion companies that you see as important in their involvement in the Indie Soul Scene?
SH: I love the work Eric Roberson is doing with SOL Village and Christian Ver Halen is doing with the ROOFTOP. Very real focused music platform for live music! Big shout out to Mike at Life and Soul promotions in the UK for sharing the music.
TP: You recently started blogging this year, what is the link to your blog? What do you talk about on your blog?
SH: I love sharing the work I am involved with in the Capital Region and what is going on with friends and performers in the NYC Music Scene.
TP: Name 3 artists that you have either downloaded or purchased their music recently?
SH: Esperanza Spadling, Anthony David (his song "words" Sweet) & Estelle
Welcome To Sista Factory Soulful Inspirational Sounds To Admire
SISTA FACTORY has successfully dedicated itself to showcase the talents of emerging singers/songwriters since it's inception in 1999.
2008 Arrives with exciting Artist Showcases and New Music
"Our mission is to create an accessible platform where new audiences connect with ARTISTS who create and perform soul filled music - especially in a time when the industry and mass consumers need to regain focus on the power of music as a healer...a message...a movement." From its initial production at S.O.B's in April 1999 with Sandra St. Victor, Bemshi and Indira Milini Khan (featuring Demien DeSandies) SISTA FACTORY continues to produce outstanding shows, presenting such artists as Stephanie McKay, Maysa, Nona Hendryx, N'Dambi and Jean Carne to name a few.
SISTA FACTORY has also provided a performance platform for talents such as Karen Bernod, Julie Dexter, Stephanie McKay, Heavy Merge, Felicia Collins, Ledisi and Kelli Sae.