On The Road With Sara Niemietz

In between shows in Europe, singer-songwriter Sara Niemietz took some time out of her schedule to answer questions from Pollstar about her background in music and touring with Postmodern Jukebox

The 23-year-old vocalist with tons of soul has four EPs and has been prolific in posting content on YouTube, with over 100 videos on her channel.

Having been in music from a very young age, the quality that has always shone through in her performances is her rich and powerful voice. Niemietz has played “The Ellen Show,” starred on Broadway, sung for 50,000 in Times Square, appeared in the television series “Glee and acted in the film “Akeelah and the Bee.”

With her YouTube page and other social media accounts, Niemietz has utilized the power of the computer and handheld device to draw attention to her talent, with over 100,000 subscribers to her channel. She has also performed in a number of videos with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, often in period dress.

Niemietz has dates with Postmodern Jukebox booked through June. Her next show with the group is March 12 at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth, United Kingdom.

Photo: Julien Garros

You have a very powerful, trained voice. Did you participate in music lessons or classes growing up?

Music has always been a massive part of my life. I was constantly singing around the house, in the car, at local restaurants that had music – you name it, really. My parents could see my love for it, and helped sign me up for lessons at 6.

I’ve seen your performances with BJ Thomas, when you were 4 years old and 17 years later, where you seemed very happy to be singing with him. Was that first moment on stage with him an important part of your childhood?

[So] my very first concert was [that] BJ Thomas show in Illinois. I’d learned his songs by listening to them with my family, so by the time the show came around I was pumped!

We were near the front of the venue and he noticed that I was singing along with him from the audience, [so he] pulled me up on the stage with him! That was the moment that set me off on this musical path. I knew I had to find a way to get back on a stage again! It really couldn’t have been more perfect [when we] reconnected 17 years later and he invited me to sing with him at the Grand Ole Opry! We sang “Hooked on a Feeling,” the first song we ever sang together.

What was it like working with BJ on one of his albums?

One of my favorite parts of being able to reconnect with BJ was singing in the studio with him. Getting to watch a master at work and joining in on the musical conversation was such a gift. 

So you moved to California more than 10 years ago to pursue your music career?

[Yes,] I moved to California when I was 7 for singing and acting. I really can’t imagine [a] life without music attached to it.

You released an EP in 2015, Fountain and Vine, which seems to have more of an old-school and traditional vibe than your 2012 EP Push Play. Between your 2012 EP Christmas Favorites, your work with Postmodern Jukebox, and the numerous covers posted to your YouTube page, do you think you are finding your sound in traditionally influenced music?

Blues and jazz have always been the backbone of my musical education. I learned so much singing in jazz clubs early on, and have always been drawn to the storytelling and authenticity of that music. Nothing pulls at my heart like some of the tunes in the Great American Songbook.  It’s been a joy to embrace that background and experiment.

How important is your presence on social media to promoting your work?

It’s so very important! I am a big fan of social media – it lets me connect with people from all over the world. Thanks to the Internet, I can share music and immediately talk to people about it. It’s like having thousands of new friends sitting in my living room – figuratively, of course – my living room isn’t that big.

When my YouTube page reached 100,000 subscribers, I released an EP of songs called By Request, made entirely of requests from friends online. It was a fun way to say “thanks” with music. 

You are currently on tour with Postmodern Jukebox. How has it been touring with such a large group of talented performers?

Singing with Postmodern Jukebox is such a blast. I love where Scott Bradlee comes from musically and I love the whole family of musicians … It’s an incredibly drama-free group of people, which is wonderful, because we’re all able to focus on the music.

What is the dynamic like between the different vocalists?

The other singers are great! Everyone has his or her own style and approach, which makes for a fun show.

What is something you would tell the childhood version of yourself?

If you love it, do it! The music industry itself has its fair share of rejection and letdowns, but if you truly love music and living that creative life, that passion will get you through whatever comes.

Also – practice, practice, because you never know what opportunity is coming, and you want to be ready! It helps me to set goals and work towards them. A little over 10 years ago, I set a goal of practicing vocal exercises every day for a year. At first it was a challenge, but I stuck with it and now, I can’t imagine a day without practice.

Photo: Julien Garros

Upcoming dates for Sara Niemietz:      

March 12 – Bournemouth, United Kingdom, O2 Academy
March 14 – Oxford, United Kingdom, O2 Academy Oxford
March 15 – Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge Corn Exchange
March 18 – Birmingham, United Kingdom, O2 Academy Birmingham
March 19 – Sheffield, United Kingdom, O2 Academy Sheffield
March 20 – Leeds, United Kingdom, O2 Academy Leeds
March 21 – Norwich, United Kingdom, Univ. Of East Anglia LCR-Union
March 22 – London, United Kingdom, Roundhouse
March 24 – Amsterdam, Netherlands, Paradiso
March 25 – The Hague, Netherlands, Paard van Troje
March 26 – Groningen, Netherlands, De Oosterpoort
March 29 – Brussels, Belgium, Ancienne Belgique
March 30 – Lille, France, Le Splendid
March 31 – Cleon, France, La Traverse
April 1 – Paris, France, Trianon
April 2 – Amneville, France, Casino Club
April 3 – Clermont, France, Cooperative De Mai
April 6 – Milan, Italy, Alcatraz
April 7 – Lausanne, Switzerland, Les Docks
April 8 – Zurich, Switzerland, Kaufleutensaal
April 9 – Istres, France, L’Usine
April 12 – Lisbon, Portugal, Aula Magna
April 13 – Madrid, Spain, But
April 14 – Barcelona, Spain, Razzmatazz,
April 16 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Rockhal
April 17 – Stuttgart, Germany, Im Wizemann
April 18 – Munich, Germany, Muffathalle
April 20 – Prague, Czech Republic, Lucerna Music Bar
April 21 – Bratislava, Slovakia, Stara Trznica
April 22 – Linz, Austria, Posthof
April 23 – Vienna, Austria, Gasometer Halle
April 25 – Frankfurt, Germany, Gibson
April 26 – Cologne, Germany, Live Music Hall
April 27 – Dortmund, Germany, FZW
April 28 – Bremen, Germany, Aladin
April 29 – Herning, Denmark, Fermaten
April 30 – Odense, Denmark, Posten
May 2 – Copenhagen, Denmark, Koncerthuset
May 3 – Malmo, Sweden, Kulturbolaget
May 5 – Goteborg, Sweden, Tradgaarn
May 6 – Oslo, Norway, Rockefeller Music Hall
May 7 – Bergen, Norway, USF Verftet
May 8 – Stavanger, Norway, Folken
May 10 – Stockholm, Sweden, Berns Salonger
May 12 – Helsinki, Finland, Helsinki Hall of Culture
May 16 – Tallinn, Estonia, Nordea Concert Hall
May 17 – Riga, Latvia, Palladium
May 18 – Vilnius, Lithuania, Congress Concert Hall
May 20 – Krakow, Poland, Kwadrat
May 21 – Warsaw, Poland, Stodola Club
May 22 – Gdansk, Poland, Parliament
May 23 – Hamburg, Germany, Docks Konzerte Disco
May 24 – Leipzig, Germany, Taubchenthal
May 25 – Berlin, Germany, Huxleys Neue Welt
May 27 – Budapest, Hungary, Syma Hall
May 29 – Bucharest, RO, Sala Palatului
May 31 – Sofia, Bulgaria, National Palace Of Culture
June 1 – Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Antique Amphitheatre
June 3 – Istanbul, Turkey, Volkswagen Arena
June 4 – Ankara, TR, Odtü Visnelik Çim Amfi

For more information visit SaraNiemietz.com and follow Sara on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.