Sara Jackson-Holman’s third collaboration with Stefan Macerewich, ‘SUPERCINEMATIC’, creates a compelling, intoxicating world, at once nostalgic and contemporary. Lush arrangements support Jackson-Holman’s rich, emotive voice, which moves effortlessly from smoky depths to airy heights, in this sumptuous exploration of personal mythology. “Tell me everything, that’s my kinda dopamine,” the singer shares early in the album. Lyrically, ‘SUPERCINEMATIC‘ offers up a generous collection of vulnerable snapshots of psyche, by turns embodied, dissociated, anxious, wry, self-aware, consumed, revelatory and euphoric, SUPERCINEMATIC feels its way to meaning.
What’s your story as an artist?
I started with classical music when I was 6. I was involved in choir, my church’s worship team, and I went Christian college on the pre-med track. It didn’t take long for me to realize I didn’t want to be a doctor and I wasn’t a Christian– I was pretty unhappy there. I think songwriting was ultimately born out of the loneliness I felt. When home for summer break, I started singing at a coffee shop open mic night with a Casio keyboard I borrowed from my mom’s friend. There, I met this man “Ric”, who said he used to work for Warner Brothers manage Leann Rimes, who he simply called “Leann”. He tries to convince me to drop out of school to go on tour across the states with him and Dan, the 70 year old sound guy for the open mic night. I couldn’t verify his background– there was nothing online about him and he declined when I asked if he had any references, saying a manager relationship was “all about trust”. I ended up declining the contract he’d drafted. I paid a local engineer $100 for an hour to record the first 3 songs I’d written, and put them up on a myspace page. I left a comment on Blind Pilot’s myspace, and their record label clicked on my page, heard my music, and reached out. From there I was signed, and recorded my first album When You Dream shortly thereafter, in the spring of 2010.
What do you want your music to communicate?
I mostly just want people to feel something, to connect with themselves and their emotional world.
What are some sources of inspiration for your storytelling?
My husband, my relationship with myself, my relationship with my parents, and every sadness I’ve ever felt, ha.
Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?
I’ve been loving Rosalia. Her voice is just so gorgeously emotive, and I love her visual storytelling and fashion. I’m so moved by all of her choices!
What’s the record or artist that made you realize you wanted to be an artist?
It didn’t ever really occur to me that being an artist was even an option for me until maybe my second year of college. Funny as it sounds, the movie Once sort of brought this very intangible abstract ideal of “artist” into a realm that felt accessible to me. I was an exceptionally late bloomer, I didn’t date at all in high school and barely in college, I was painfully self conscious. I don’t really know what I thought, except that “people like me” didn’t have aspirations to do this kind of thing. Seeing Once reframed it for me–I didn’t have to be this impossibly glamorous, fully realized, fully confident performing artist. This sounds really obvious writing it now, ha, but I really did grow up under a rock in a lot of ways so it was a shift in my thinking!
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about
I’ve written 100 or so songs over the last few years so I’ve been trying to record them in installments. Back in 2019, I had written a few pop songs and I’d been looking for someone to produce them. I met Stefan Macerewich at the recommendation of a peer, and that was the beginning of our ongoing collaborative relationship (I released 3 pop songs and another EP we worked on together in 2020). He is so easy to work with– we have a really similar non-precious unfussy approach to working on music. It feels so natural and I really love his production instincts. So I recorded 4 songs in June of 2020 to release as an EP, originally. I then recorded another single a few months later, and then yet another batch of songs so I decided, “why not just make this an album!” and here we are!
What inspires your sound?
I usually write songs with just the keyboard first, and build it from there. Over the last couple years as I’ve spent so much more time writing, I’m quite a bit more flexible with my genre and my own ideas of what my songs should sound like– I adore pop music, but really love the idea of doing whatever serves the song best.
What’s your favorite tune of yours?
Currently, Garden of Me. It’s so optimistic, which historically is not my MO (at least not in my songs)
Where are some things you really want to accomplish as an artist?
I’d like to do a lot more cowriting– expanding my repertoire and experience across genres!
Favorite lyric you ever wrote?
Try to memorize
Your look for me behind your eyes
Like a firefly
Lighting up the nighttime of my mind
Was there ever a moment when you felt like giving up?
Oh god, so many!! Probably as recently as two weeks ago–pretty much every time I release anything, I feel such dread and anxiety. But I always come back to the deep sense of joy and catharsis I get when I’m writing and that keeps me going.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“Get over it,”, RIP Grandpa Grim!
Where do you think the next game changer will be in the music industry and entertainment scene?
I’m not sure, but I’m curious about how people are going to integrate music with NFTs.