Friday, February 21, 2020
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Sara Gazarek on Her Two GRAMMY Nominations


Sara Gazarek has a lot to celebrate this weekend. For the first time in her career, the jazz singer has been nominated for two GRAMMYs, including one for her rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” in the category of Best Arrangement, Instruments, and Vocals. The second nomination is in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category for her album Thirsty Ghost (buy at Amazon), which is self-produced and self-released, making the honor that much more gratifying since record labels took a pass at her album.

“This is my first time [attending the GRAMMYs] and it’s a thrill to participate in any capacity. I have so many friends nominated for different things, so just getting to root them on and experience something new is a thrill,” she told on the red carpet at MusiCares where Aerosmith was honored.

The morning GRAMMY nominations were announce, Gazarek took precautions to not know right away if she had earned a nom, but she still found out in an expected way.

“I was in my kitchen. My husband and I knew the night before that we didn’t want to wake up to either a furry of texts saying congratulations or no texts. So we turned off everything, woke up and had a cup of coffee, took the dog out, then opened my computer. I had forgotten to turn off iMessaging, so that was the furry of texts,” she told us.

She added, “We both kind of freaked out and pulled up the nominations list. We were so excited and it took a few minutes to calm down. We looked at what our friends had been nominated for and saw the second nomination and freaked out again. Our dog kind of lost it because he was worried about us. We were screaming and crying.”

For her take on the classic hit “Jolene,” Gazarek turned towards a deeply personal experience, which she feels is one reason why fans love Dolly Parton.

“I think the reason why so many people resonate with Dolly Parton’s music is that she writes songs that speak to the human condition. The sincerity to it and authenticity that I think a lot of people resonate with. For better or for worse, Dolly wrote it because she experienced a Jolene and I wanted to sing about it because I experienced one. The difference when I experienced my Jolene there was a little bit more fire and anger. I didn’t want to ask her kindly. So there’s a little bit more fire and I think it’s been compared to Trent Renzor meets Game of Thrones.”

Tune into the GRAMMYs to see if Sara Gazarek takes home a trophy or two!

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Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has been reporting on the entertainment industry since 2004. In addition, she travels the world volunteering and launched The Voluntourist in 2017 to inspire others to give back responsibly. Heather currently freelances for various outlets as a writer, reporter and producer, and when she's not working or traveling, she loves being at home with her dog in Los Angeles.


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