That being said, there’s a feeling of freedom and empowerment in writing about hard times, singing about a new-found strength that helps you to overcome.
It’s been a long ago since I listened for the very first time the dreamy voice of hers in Running Out Of You. This interview is as unique as her songs and overall figure. Sarah P. (Sarah Anna Psalti-Helbig) relocates from Athens, Greece to Berlin where she focuses on her work and personal growth. I met her officially this year through her powerful Instagram account. I am delighted and honoured not only to have her stories in my feed, but also getting the chance to know her cause and background better.
We talked about Art and its therapeutic magic powers, music, new beginnings and the stigma in our society. Sarah P. will astonish you, not only with her voice but also with her strength, views and vision of a Greater World. What made me look deeper into her work was the progress in her Art and whole being! If you are familiar with her past work you’ll see that Sarah P. grew up to become a strong woman full of inspiration, creativity, honesty, and above all empowerment.
Have you ever wonder, how many young artists set aside the conformism of our epoque to focus on crucial issues that crumble our societies?
Nevertheless, there are still people who fight for a better future, I am glad that I have the chance to present to you one of them.
Meet Sarah P. a great artist, an amazing human being with a flourishing soul…
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Sarah, welcome! I am really happy to have you here.
The pleasure is all mine 🙂
“Who I am”, the title of your latest album. Who is Sarah P.?
I’m Sarah Anna Psalti-Helbig. I’m 28 years old, born and raised in Athens and currently living in Berlin. I make music and write words. I see myself as a work in progress. If I was a type of art, I’d most definitely be a collage. Actually, I believe that most people would be distinctive pieces of collage art. Decadent, seemingly simple, but full of surprises – serving the bigger picture. That’s who I strive to be.
P. seems like a symbol to me; except for the obvious reference to your surname, I could see a door into infinity in that “π”… Listening to your music feels like you want to “touch” infinity. Can you describe us the feeling that you get through your music?
To be very honest with you, I’m rarely listening to my finished work. It might have to do with the fact that I’m always onto something new – always writing and searching for my next album’s themes and sounds. For the most part, the songs I’ve released so far are reflections on my past and sometimes it’s difficult for me to revisit them. That being said, there’s a feeling of freedom and empowerment in writing about hard times, singing about a new-found strength that helps you to overcome.
Which was the first song that touched your heart?
“Phantasmagoria in Two” by Tim Buckley.
Do you think ART in any form can help the human mind and heart achieve this infinite feeling?
I’m not sure if it can anymore, but it should. What’s the point of art, if not to inspire and serve a higher purpose? Unfortunately, artists have become too conformist. I rarely stumble upon any piece of art that gives me hope, makes me dream or equips me for the everyday battle. Our societies are sick, we are sick – we need visionaries more than ever. They’re a bit late, but I’m sure they’ll show up.
One of the things that captivated me on your Instagram profile – which I personally follow and love – was your open statements regarding mental health and crucial issues that a great number of people are facing on a daily basis, and a greater number tend to ignore. In a society where information is spreading faster than the speed of light, depression is a critical matter. Here comes the question… What is @EraseRestart?
EraseRestart is my own platform, it’s my world. I founded EraseRestart in 2014 and my greater vision for it is to become a sanctuary for greater ideals and noble-minded conversations around difficult topics. A little more than 3 months ago, I started an Instagram zine published through and named after EraseRestart. The goal is to “erase the stigma” around mental health and “restart” in our communities- reboot, if you please, with a bit more understanding and respect towards those affected by mental illness.
We need visionaries more than ever. They’re a bit late, but I’m sure they’ll show up.
In the recent years, steps have been taken towards breaking the stigma. Governments have been funding programs and researches about mental health. Prominent people in the arts and sports have come forward to share their own struggles. Documentaries, films and TV shows have been made to shed a light on the lives of those battling mental illness. Yet, we’re still treating it as something “rare”, “crazy” – something that one can snap out of it. It’s been proven that 1 in 4 people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Yet, we still tend to use foul language to describe those affected by such conditions, and even worse, on a next step, we demonise and ostracise them from our communities.
My zine is meant to build bridges. I don’t have the answers, but I might have some tips to make it better. It’s done in an artistic way, but with absolutely no intention to romanticise mental illness. The project is inspired by own experiences (struggles of my own but also of people I care about) and therefore hits too close to home.
It is proved that ART is therapeutic for the human soul. More and more people are exploring the horizons that Art therapy reveals… What’s your view on that?
Art therapy is absolutely necessary nowadays – as is therapy, in general. But imagine a world where political leaders would have to create artworks, as part of their Summits. Wouldn’t they be more mindful and caring? I want to believe so.
Music and poetry have helped me deal with difficult topics such as loss, violence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder. When I want to unwind, I pull out my colours and start painting. Recently, I took up a drawing class so that I’m able to express myself better through it. Absorbing and creating art is so fulfilling, and yes, it can be very therapeutic for the human soul, but only if you let it work its magic.
“Our lives matter more than our cries”, your words…
“No god’s happy, money’s nothing – when you’re dead where to spend to”.
“Instead of You” is a song I wrote about the Syrian war back in 2014, but to me, it’s a reflection of who we are as a race. While we’ve taken massive steps forward when it comes to science and we would have the means to create the perfect societies, we’ve failed to support and care about those in the lower classes. This has created an even greater gap between the current social structures, that are anyway too archaic and not matching the speed of our technological evolution.
Hatred and social injustice have filled our world, making it the best time to be alive for vigilantes and self-proclaimed saviours. Given the fact that many countries are still recovering from the WWII and people who fought and survived that time are still alive, one would expect that we’d know better. But in a daunting human fashion, we appear to not have learned our lesson.
I believe in coexistence. We all have connection points, whether they’re obvious or well-hidden. Not everyone has to agree with each other in order to coexist. We don’t have to have the same views or background, as long as we’re on the same page when it comes to core beliefs such as respecting each other and caring more about the world we share. I believe in equal opportunities and chances for everyone to flourish and come to their full potential. I believe in free choice. I hope for a world where kids won’t have to grow up too quickly because they’ve been failed by a corrupt system. My vision may be idealistic, but it’s better than of those who believe that senseless violence is the solution to our problems.
Many of your songs are focusing on “The Self”. What’s your message and how important is it for you to pass this message to the world?
We make our societies, they don’t make us. It has to start from us.
I used to write these long texts to accompany my releases, explaining my motivation and the meaning of my songs, but I have decided to not do that anymore. My art is out there and people can interpret it as they please. Obviously, I’m very politicized and have very strong views on the world and the way that it’s spinning which might be turning people off and away from what I do. After all, people are not used to music artists speaking their mind the way that I do. I’m very specific and raw. My songs are – as the music industry describes them – quirky.
During my early years, I used to write about unrequited love – but there are far too many songs on the topic. I now choose to write about war, social injustice, and a humanity that’s decaying in its strife to capitalise on dreams. So my message goes out to all those liking or hating my music – I call for introspection. Why are they drawn to me? Why are they turning away from me? I believe that in both cases, an honest answer would look quite similar to each other… An extraordinary thought that’d prove my theory about coexistence.
I believe in equal opportunities and chances for everyone to flourish and come to their full potential. I believe in free choice. I hope for a world where kids won’t have to grow up too quickly because they’ve been failed by a corrupt system. My vision may be idealistic, but it’s better than of those who believe that senseless violence is the solution to our problems.
Give us 5 people who truly inspire you and your journey…
From my own family, my parents and my husband. And two women that I’d love to have met as I find their stories and work groundbreaking in their respective fields of activism and literature – Rosa Parks & Virginia Woolf.
A painting that speaks straight to your heart?
It’ll probably come as an obvious choice, perhaps a bit of a cliché for people like me, but Frida Kahlo’s “The Two Fridas” is a painting that resonates with me on many different levels.
Now you live in Berlin. How is the Sarah’s P. Berlin?
My Berlin is hard-working days and quiet evenings. Early nights and mornings that smell like coffee. Lots of writing and creating. Learning to cope with the grey and appreciating the sunlight – not taking it for granted.
Athens, Berlin… What’s next and what are your next creative steps?
I just released my first anthology “Who Am I – Seasonal Queries & Thoughts”. I’ll continue to publish the EraseRestart zine about mental health. New music is set to come out in May and I’m really excited/terrified to be sharing it because it’s a cover song. Lastly, I’m about to go back to the studio and finish my next record. There’s a lot coming up, but for now, that’s all information that I can share.
I wish you the best on your inspirational journey. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you! ☺
Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.