Public Radio Music Month: Public Radio Inspires Singer Songwriter
Singer, songwriter and Official State Musician of Texas (2010) Sara Hickman
Sara Hickman’s clear voice, moving music and poetic lyrics are an inspiration to many. In fact, she’s been called an “angel” on more than one occasion. But even artists and angels need inspiration from time to time.
“I’m always inspired by what I hear on public radio,” she says. “Whether it’s KCRW’s ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’ or KUT’s ‘Eklektikos,’ public radio exposes me to music that I wouldn’t hear on any other station — from artists like Mavis Staples and Arizona Dranes, to the sounds of Brazil or the Netherlands — music that brings out the creativity in me that traditional radio stations can’t.”
Sara credits public radio with not only inspiring her work, but with supporting and promoting it in a respectful way that’s in-line with the values of public media. She says her experience has been that people in public radio are an extension of family who are excited and sympathetic and ultimately accept her for who she is as a woman and artist.
“The bulk of people making music today go through so many ups and downs, and public radio is the medium that holds us up and treats artists with respect and dignity — whether we’re famous or not. When I sit down in a studio with a public radio music host I feel like I’m having coffee with someone who has done some research on my work and is eager to engage me in a dialog. I’ve never felt the pressure to come up with a three-minute pitch to push my latest single.”
She says most of the people who attend her shows first heard her music on their local public radio station. “Sure I’m one of the voices of public radio, but public radio represents millions of voices like mine from diverse yet likeminded people who want to hear about creativity and the world. My exposure on public radio has grown my audience exponentially.”
Sara believes one of the greatest aspects of living in Austin, Texas, is having KUT here (aw shucks, we’re blushing). “KUT not only supports local musicians by giving us airplay and interviews, but they support us through the Austin Music Minute and Texas Music Matters, and but plug our events on KUT.org.”
When asked about her favorite show on KUT, Sara doesn’t hesitate. “I’m madly in love with John Aielli (host of Eklektikos). John lives and breathes music. He’s what a DJ should be: he knows the backstory on the artist, songwriter or conductor and he tells his listeners why an artist wrote a particular song. And these days, you don’t get that on commercial radio.”
April is Public Radio Music Month. KUT and public radio stations throughout the country are highlighting the partnership between public radio and music. NPR has created a special website, www.publicradiomusicmonth.org, spotlighting some of the work public radio stations around the country — including KUT — are doing to curate local music and introduce you to innovative new sounds from emerging artists.