Sarah Goodin had never even heard of “The Voice.”
But when a friend’s wife heard Sarah’s CD and suggested she try out for the reality television singing competition, Goodin was game.
Having played solo around Bellingham for years – and also garnering quick attention over the past year with her full band sarah in the wild – Goodin was up for whatever might – or might not – happen.
Finding Her Voice
“I was always really noisy as a child,” Goodin says with a laugh, answering the question of when she first began singing. “My favorite thing was to mimic other people’s voices.”
She says her mother tells a story of Goodin as a toddler, crawling up onto the kitchen table and dancing and singing along to Lionel Richie while her mother did dishes.
Her first time on stage, so to speak – but far from her last.
“It just developed from there,” she says of her voice. “You start mimicking other people’s singing, and then you see what you can do. I was always kind of just quietly singing in a corner by myself.”
Elementary school friends asked Goodin to sing for them. “They would be like, ‘Okay, sing us this song. Sing the song from Pocahontas. Sing it again.’”
In seventh grade, a friend who was a big Mariah Carey fan asked Goodin to imitate her songs.
Goodin eventually developed her own voice while singing in choir at Sehome High School.
“Choir was lovely because it taught me a lot of things I needed to sing well, like how to stay in pitch and breath control,” she says.
Writing her own music didn’t come as naturally to Goodin – at first.
“That was a tougher leap,” she admits. “For years I didn’t write my own material; just sang a capella covers and performed around town.”
Goodin didn’t pick up the guitar until she was 21. “I was, like, I think it’s probably about time,” she says with a laugh.
She started a poetry night at Stuart’s Coffeehouse, and began to perform there.
“When I got the guitar, they had to suffer through a year of, ‘Okay, here’s the same song you heard last week – but it’s a little bit better this week.’”
Goodin had a son in 2006, and then went back to school, attending classes at Western Washington University. It was during a poetry class that her knack for writing original lyrics bubbled up.
While struggling with a poem Goodin felt was really promising but couldn’t quite untangle, she realized: It wasn’t a poem; it was a song.
“It was my first really good original writing,” she says of what would become her song “Sleep.” “I just started writing and I haven’t stopped.”
Auditioning for The Voice
In the middle of one night this past winter, Goodin turned on her laptop, recorded a video of herself singing two songs – “giggling the whole time” – and then sent it to “The Voice,” not expecting to hear back.
“Seven days later, I got a phone call,” she says, eyes widening still at the surprise. “They said, ‘You should audition. We have a second round coming up.’”
The only catch? It was in Miami.
Goodin’s friends Marissa McGrath and Sara Holodnick – The Bureau of Historical Investigation’s Good Time Girls – quickly hatched a plan to throw a fundraiser to get Goodin to Miami. The community came out in a big way.
“They did everything,” Goodin says of McGrath and Holodnick. “It was miraculous. And we raised a lot of money.”
Months later, Goodin still sounds awed by the community dollars that seemingly rained down. “So many people pitched in so I could go,” she says. “I owe everyone who donated in person and online so much.”
It all happened very quickly: The initial phone call from “The Voice,” the fundraiser two weeks later, and a flight to Miami a week-and-a-half after that.
“It was so exciting and also really scary,” she says of her arrival in Florida. “It was a nice vacation too, since I hadn’t been on a trip in forever.”
Goodin had followed very specific audition guidelines and chosen a few songs to sing.
“I learned a bunch of pop music, sifting through songs from the last five years and figuring out what suited me. I prepared the songs and rearranged them, fixed them up a little.”
Ultimately she went with an acoustic version of Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory,” and Adam Lambert’s “What Do You Want From Me?”
“That was my big showstopper,” Goodin says of the Lambert piece. “I was going to open with it.”
She showed up for her audition and waited with a small group of other hopefuls.
“I’m clearly the oldest person there. I’m the least dressed up with the least makeup,” she says, laughing at the memory. “I could hear a couple of the auditions before mine and I’m like, ‘I got this.’”
She walked in feeling confident, introduced herself to the assembled group in the audition room, and began to play to the camera.
“I auditioned in front of this guy and his assistant and the camera people. I got halfway through my first song and he cut me off, saying: ‘I’m going to say no. Thanks so much for coming out.’”
She knew she hadn’t done badly – they said she wasn’t what they were looking for – but the rejection stung at first.
Coming Home & Looking to the Future
Goodin picked herself up, dusted herself off, and enjoyed a Miami mini-vacation.
“I was there for three days,” she says. “I went swimming in the moonlight. It was warm and gorgeous. I tried to have the biggest experience I could have in just a couple days.”
Goodin then headed home to the community who supported her in trying – and applauded her mightily upon her return.
Not making it on “The Voice” was a revelation, forcing Goodin to reassess what she’s doing and why she auditioned. “Because I don’t like the idea of fame at all,” she admits. “I like privacy.”
She would like to tour at some point, but do so on her own terms – which would include taking her son with her on the road.
Ultimately, she just wants to keep making music.
She’s recently started writing instrumental music and working with local director Dan Hammill on a documentary series about the Good Time Girls.
She likes the idea of composing for video games, films – writing songs for other people.
“Even if I end up doing it for fun and joy and because it’s the thing I’m best at, I’d like to make a little money at it, as well,” she says, smiling.
One thing she’s already fully accomplished: Making her son proud.
“The other day he was on the playground with friends and he didn’t see me and I heard him ask: ‘Do you know the band sarah in the wild? My mom’s the Sarah.’”