Thayer Sarrano


By Kristen Roberts

Thayer Sarrano is a musician/visual artist who hails from Athens, Georgia. Her twangy, yet ethereal sound is unlike any other artist. Sarrano’s haunting vocals paired with the strong chords of a steel guitar have formed an incredible mixture that cannot be boxed into a single genre. Thayer Sarrano’s album Wings Alleluia debuted on March 29th, 2019.

You have described yourself as a visual artist as well as a musical one. Does your visual art affect your music or vice versa?
Yeah I think it's all connected for me, I can't really separate them completely. Usually they help each other, every once in a while destroy, but usually help.

Your album Wings Alleluia is your latest release since 2015. How is this album different from your previous work?
There are some male choral arrangements and some heavier and lighter moments. 

What does your writing process look like? Is it more collaborative or solitary?

So far I have just written my songs alone, and usually collaborate just with a drummer in the studio. However, a great part of my life is making music for other people, collaborating as a session player, which I also love. 

Where do you find inspiration for your unique sound?

I like delay and distortion a lot and messing around with different ways to make these sounds. I like drones and melody. Playing pedal steel allows for a lot more bends than I can get on other instruments, which I love. Vintage synths or affecting keys or drums can help with this too. I like to sing like I'm in a canyon but still have people be able to tell what I'm saying most of the time, and I hear the music in nature and am always looking for that. Kinda outer space grand canyon vibe, you know? 

“…I hear the music in nature and am always looking for that. Kinda outer space grand canyon vibe you know.”

Has your classical training or multi-instrumental experience impacted the way you approach writing?
For me it is helpful to write on something I'm not as familiar with because then I have less options, which I like. It can be overwhelming, Like staring at a huge white canvas, so a different instrument or tuning is more like painting on wood where you just can see the faces and go with it instead of feeling all the responsibility.

Are there any topic on the new record that you haven’t explore in the past or you’re excited to share with your audience?
I think there's a lot more ether stuff on this one. A little more quantum physics and less break up kinda vibe. Some death still, but lots of love. I'm excited to be singing about more positive topics at the shows now! 

Your lyrics have always included heavy visual elements. Is that a specific choice when writing or does the poetic description of a scene or moment just come naturally?  
It's not a choice, just the only way that makes sense to me (so far at least). There's a weight and sound to these images and the meaning makes sense when it all comes together in the end. I don't know the other ways to write songs yet but hope to learn more.

Now that you have a lot of your experience under your belt, do you think about visual show elements or how you would perform a song live when writing?
When writing I am just in that moment, but after I record I think of the show, and I can visualize the band and the visuals and everything. Then I usually strip that way down because of logistics, budget, etc. 

Who would be you dream artist (living or dead) to co-write a song with?
Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

What can fans expect from Wings Alleluia?  Is there a full tour in the works?
Yeah, the next leg starts in Athens this friday, and goes up to New York mid April...they'll be more west coast and Europe stuff hopefully soon, and always trying to add as many dates as possible!


Tour dates:

March 29 – Athens, GA @ The Caledonia Lounge
March 30 – East Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
March 31 – Nashville, TN @ 5 Spot
April 4 – Charlotte, NC @ Petra's
April 5 – Durham, NC @ Duke Coffeehouse
April 7 – Philadelphia, PA @ Ortliebs
April 10 – NYC @ Union Pool

Sunlight Magazine