The ten songs on Sara Bug’s forthcoming self-titled debut album were not meant to be shared. A culmination of seven years of her life, these songs were journal entries that reckoned with defining herself. Growing up in New Orleans, Bug imagined herself to be a successful songwriter. “I was so deep in the music. ‘Oh, I'm going to be a famous musician. When I get out of high school, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go have a career in music,’” she explains. “I think I held on to that for so long, I had finally kind of let go, like that pressure. Now it was just fun.” This eponymous project embodies Bug’s journey away from the expectations of others and her younger self, allowing her creative freedom.

Sara Bug opens with a lush, symphonic ballad about desire. “My whole life through, I want to die with you,” she sings tenderly on “Die With You.” Romantic and a bit morbid, Bug opens with the oldest song on the album and takes us to that time when the urgency of her happiness began pushing against the pressure of others’ approval. It's easy to get lost in the dreamy guitar strums and sturdy bass lines, Bug’s voice sharp and clear against the country-psych rock combination. A close listen reveals that Bug is letting the listener into the most poignant moments of the past years with sincerity and ease. She takes us on reflective motorcycle rides, whether literal or desired, for “Rosebank” and “Ride On Sundys.” She details the loss of a family member and a trip back home from her then-residence in New York on “Lotta Pride.” Inspired by the detailed storytelling of Dolly Parton and Neil Young, Bug leads across state lines and along her timeline of personal growth with unconventional, vivid song structures.

After moving to Nashville in 2013, the pressure of perfecting a craft in a notoriously famous city for honing musical skills only added mountains of stress. “I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be awesome. I'm going to be around other musicians all the time, it's going to be inspiring and force me to work harder on my music.’ It kind of had the opposite effect for me unexpectedly,” she admits. “It feels hard sometimes to do your craft and your thing in a real way without feeling super judged or feeling if you're not at a certain level your art doesn't matter. And honestly, that's part of the reason I kind of grew apart from the idea of even making music at all. I didn't like the pressure in Nashville that I felt when I first moved there.”

As the album comes to a close we’re left with an ending and a new beginning. “Lift this weight off my shoulder, stop believing that my beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” she sings on “The Beholder.” Here, we’re witness to Bug accepting and working through insecurity. But the closer “Back In Nashville” mocks the pressure that led Sara Bug to initially question her musical chops. “I told myself, I wanted to write a cheesy country song about not wanting to be in like the most country city in the United States,” she laughs. Sara Bug captures a weird, but integral period of growth for the pensive musician. Her debut defines a period of questioning that Bug conquered in order to realize that music is exactly what she should be doing. That letting go can be a new kind of permission. - Margaret Farrell

Music Video Sara Bug - "Back in Nashville" - YouTube

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