Podcast #4: Esemae

I could not be more ecstatic to have my good friend Sarah Marie Agajanian, aka Esemae, as my 4th on my beatsthatsetmypulse podcast for BetaWaveTv. I’ve been in awe of this music maker, soul shaker, and ultimate creator, ever since I saw her play at Echo Park Rising music festival (as part of Wonder & Awe Productions curated by the lovely Brenda Carsey) in August 2018. Her rich, raspy voice – reminiscent of Cat Power, Fiest, Stevie Nicks, Janis Joplin, and Natalie Merchant – howled hard over the calming cadence of her keys, hitting me like a brick wall. “Here to serve beauty and light to the world through creative expression,” Sarah creates art in multiple dimensions, spreading her service as a musician (pop/rock/soul/jazz/trip-hop – @esemae_music), a painter (psychedelic/abstract – @esemaeart), and an eyebrow/ makeup artist (@rock_n_brows). Her (he)art is powerful, vibrant, and intense, just like her spirit. In fact, ‘Powerful Machine,’ was the first song of Sarah’s that flooded me with adrenaline and had my heart thumping LIKE A MACHINE: “This heart is a powerful machine, it gets dirty and stays clean…This heart is a powerful machine, may she pump again after she bleeds.” It summoned a feeling of revival and resilience, something I noticed to be a common theme in Sarah’s music. Sarah’s recent release, ‘Uncertain Times,’ (written & recorded with @caliclevemusic) is all about finding beauty in chaos and recognizing that “There will be an end, if you’ll be so kind” and “if you keep peace in mind.” What’s eerie is that Sarah wrote this banger 4 years ago, yet the lyrics are almost TOO PERFECT for the “uncertain times” coinciding with this year’s global pandemic: “There’s no escape, just a place inside (as per COVID-19 protocol!)” Sarah thought this song could also help her Armenian friends/family navigate their country’s current hardship, and she consequently painted the Armenian Flag on her face as a potential album cover (SO FREAKING COOL). She promises us that “one day we’ll play,” and encourages us to have “more love more love more love right now.”

In another unreleased banger called ‘Motivate,’ Sarah encourages us to “rise to the occasion, (cause) there’s enough strength going round,” and reminds us that “greatness is born through the perils of pain.” I could not agree more. She summons the “maker,” “creator,” and “soul-shaker” in us all, inspiring us to “wake up, do what you love, even if gotta let go of all the weight that holds you back.” The chorus of this song (“WE GOTTA MOTIVATE!”) will pump you up with positivity and shed those oppressive shackles of negativity that keep us down. When you “Awaken the Tribe” (another unreleased banger) and “Motivate,” even during “Uncertain Times,” ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Sarah makes us sure of it. She also makes sure that we exercise our right to freedom of speech: “I will not be silenced anymore; I will not keep the magic in my core” (opening verse of her song, ‘Sacred Kind’). Sarah reminds us to observe the fragility of the life, and to value to desire to live life it to its fullest. This is not surprising for someone that nearly died last year from a severe reaction to an antibiotic prescribed by her doctor. She lost everything – her voice, her mind, her mobility – only to resurrect with an indomitable sense of strength & identify, and a devout appreciation for health and happiness. She respects the pursuit of projects “when the timing is right,” and does not feel the need to rush the process if it does not bring you joy. She also respects spontaneity and improvisation when creating music, and said she “feels more comfortable without structure.” I’ve witnessed her write incredible songs ON THE SPOT, and seamlessly integrate her vocals into a J.A.M: “I’ll always look at life like a bright light, no matter how dark it gets outside I will always find a way to be alright. Trust the way you move, trust the way you feel. Stand up be who you are and be real, because I’ll always be in love with this life. I’ll always be in love with this life.” You can guarantee that she will always have a big beautifulsmile on her face and will always have fun (I joke that she can flip people’s fun switch to the highest notch). I’m so grateful to be friends with this real-life phoenix, and I can’t wait to fan her flames when her music catches fire. ❤

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