Sara Squadrani is the lead singer in power/symphonic metal band Ancient Bards. Her band has released their latest album “A New Dawn Ending” in April 2014, the closing chapter to the first part of The Black Crystal Sword Saga. I had the chance to sit down with Sara and talk about her band’s origins, her influences, personal life, and future plans.
How did Ancient Bards begin? Did everyone know each other before the formation of the band?
We all live in a relatively small city, so being in the same “music scene” we all knew each other one way or another, or at least we had seen each other play with other bands once or twice. Daniele was looking for musicians for the project he had in mind so he gathered us, although I think he didn’t knew me, he found me through MySpace! When I put it that way I kinda feel like it happened ages ago!
I’ve never been to Italy before, so I was wondering what the music scene is like there? Does it feel different playing in other countries compared to playing in Italy?
The Italian music scene is very complex and metal music is not too popular… but I have to say that, although shows abroad are always more crowded, we still can get our satisfaction in Italy. In other countries, where the culture of going out to see a metal concert is more radiated, people are very enthusiastic and participate actively in an exciting exchange of energy with us on stage, in Italy the majority is more reluctant to let themselves go, but we also have some hard-core fans that follow us everywhere we go and their support is priceless.
What was the first show you ever performed as Ancient Bards?
If I remember well, our first show ever was at a contest a few months after the band was formed, I don’t recall the name of it, but we won 😀
Ancient Bards has been around for about 9 years. What are some of the highs and lows since becoming a band?
Is it really that long? Sure time does fly… Luckily I can’t say we had any lows, it’s all been an ascending curve since we started and I hope this trend will go on! We put all the hard work and passion we can in what we do and harvesting the results is always satisfying. The highest point? Hopefully a kiss-ass show at Wacken in a month from now!
Knowing that the concept is written by Daniele Mazza, is the songwriting process a collaborative effort, or is there a primary songwriter?
The primary songwriter is Daniele, he takes care of the mainframe and structure of the songs and then the rest of us give our personal touch to our parts.
Now some questions for you:
Who or what inspired you to sing? Is your family musical as well?
No, unfortunately my family isn’t musical at all! But I’ve always been attracted to the performing arts, I’ve always felt the urge, the actual urge to express my self, I took piano lessons for 8 years, ballet and contemporary dance lessons for 15 years and I’ve been singing since I was 4. I only ever did it because I needed to, I did it for me until someday someone told me they liked my singing. Then one day I heard Celine Dion singing and I fell in love, all I wanted to do is sing like her! I’m not there quite yet and… I’ll never be, but I’ll still try! LOL
Have you been vocally trained or are you self taught?
I’m self taught, when I was a kid I played piano and danced and I didn’t feel like I needed vocal training, but when I grew up and decided I wanted to take singing lessons everyone told me my voice was already formed and that was it…
Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
The first album I’ve ever bought? SPICE, the first album of the Spice Girls LOL
The list of people I’d love to collaborate with is endless, working with different and experienced people is amazing, there’s always tons of things to learn! Off the top of my head I’d say I’d die to hear the contrast between mine and Russell Allen’s voices!
And two more two finish this interview:
Is there any news you’d like to share regarding a future tour or album? Will your band ever tour in the US anytime soon, particularly in southern California?
I’m sorry, there’s not much I can say about tours or albums, right now we’re focused on our show at WOA, but rest assuded we’re not slacking 😉 I personally would love to tour the US and I really hope we’ll be able to do it someday, fingers crossed!
And finally, from your own experiences, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians out there?
The only thing I feel entitled to say, as I don’t think I have the experience of the authority to give advices, is to only aim to following your passion, let passion be the only force that moves you and be humble. Passion and dedication will always be rewarded!
A huge thanks to Sara for taking time off her busy schedule to answer my questions!