It’s no secret that great art comes from the margins. From those who are either pushed to create from inner forces, or who create to show they deserve to be recognized. Los Angeles-based street singer, guitarist, and roots music revolutionary Sunny War has always been an outsider, always felt the drive to define her place in the world through music and songwriting.
As a young black girl growing up in Nashville, she searched for her own roots, looking first to the blues she heard from her mother’s boyfriend, and learning from a local guitarist. Moving to Los Angeles in her teens, she searched for herself in the LA punk scene, playing house shows with FIDLAR, and shoplifting DVDs from big box stores to trade at Amoeba Records for 80s punk albums. But here too she found herself on the outside, working to bridge her foundation in country blues and American roots guitar traditions with the punk scene she called home. She first made her name with this work, bringing a wickedly virtuosic touch on the fingerstyle guitar that sprang from her own self-discoveries on the instrument. But her restless spirit, a byproduct of growing up semi-nomadic with a single mother, led her to Venice Beach, California, where she’s been grinding the pavement for some years now, making a name for her prodigious guitar work and incisive songwriting, which touches on everything from police violence to alcoholism to love found and lost.
In 2012, Sarah Golley attended a festival in New York City in which Fiona Apple performed. She was so enthralled and inspired by her vulnerability on stage that she decided to learn all of Fiona’s songs as a piano exercise. Through this, Sarah began to write her own music, which proved to work through the challenges and changes in her life after graduating college. With a goal to perform an original song in public, she began her career as an indie musician, but her performance roots dig deep.
Sarah began her journey into the performing arts with tap dancing. Next, she began piano lessons, and soon after that she began singing in several esteemed choirs. She’s always been a fan of musical theater, and has performed in many shows (Spring Awakening, The Full Monty, Rock of Ages, Gypsy). She studied classical voice, and graduated from The Hartt School of music with a degree in music education/ vocal emphasis. Sarah has spent the last four years teaching music at a special education school in Connecticut.
In 2015, Sarah began to arrange and record her songs by herself, in her living room, using Garageband. These recordings became her release “Weaving the Pieces.” Through this process, Sarah was able to break away from the musical structures she felt trapped behind, and incorporate several aspects of her various stylistic backgrounds. She’s no stranger to many different genres, and her training always manages to find its way into her art.