By DJ Dave Hoffenberg
Killington will offer four opportunities to see Sahara Moon, a 20-year-old up-and-coming singer/songwriter from New Jersey, this week. Her musical friend, Daniel Brown, is bringing her to Killington for the first time and she’ll perform with him Thursday, Feb. 14 at Pico at 2:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 15 at Summit Lodge at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 16 with The Bubsies at the Killington Beer Company at 4 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 17 at K1 Base Lodge with Brown again. I had the pleasure of speaking with her to learn about her music, and I’m excited to see her perform.
Moon met Brown at an art gallery gig in 2016 in New Jersey, where they’re both from. They were both on the bill, which Moon said was an awesome time. They had an instant connection and have performed together many times since. Moon said, “Dan’s awesome and a great buddy of mine.” It’s those art gigs that really got her started. “My music really resonated with creative artists.”
Moon started playing and writing music in 2014. It was two years before she first performed live and that was at her cousin’s school. He was a “Star Student of the Week” and he asked her to play at his preschool classroom and perform for the class. Moon said, “That was a big exciting moment for me. It was my first time performing in front of strangers.” From there she started playing open mic nights in her area, and soon, that turned into a full time gig schedule. Nowadays she performs all overt the Tri-State area and into Philadelphia. In the summer she performs every Tuesday evening at the Martini Bar in the Seashell Resort in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
Moon got into music through her younger sister, Zinnia (13), who introduced her to musical theater while she was in high school. Moon said, “The whole musical theater performance thing introduced me to the performance aspect of everything.” Shortly after, she did vocal lessons for one year. “I really honed into the craft of guitar playing and my song writing skills. I started getting into the composition and the creating of my music.”
Her biggest musical influence, and also with whom she shares some comparisons, is Norah Jones. Moon said, “She is a huge inspiration of mine and her style of music is a bit similar to mine.” Moon classifies her music as jazzy folk and Jones has a jazzy blues vibe that Moon falls into with her live performances. She has two other influences: Brandi Carlile as an independent artist and Susan Tedeschi.
Moon’s dad introduced her to the guitar. She said, “I would pick it up and put it right back down and never touch it because I couldn’t figure out how to play it appropriately. It took me some time to really start picking up guitar. I started actually learning the guitar when I was 16. I was primarily self-taught.” She and her dad would play together and she took two group classes, but besides that, it’s all been self-taught. Zinnia is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter as well, and plays ukulele, piano and guitar. She and Sahara sometimes perform together as a duo and have collaborated on some songs, Moon said, “Just to spice things up and make it a little special.”
Moon plays covers and originals, but the covers she likes to perform in her own style. Two of her favorite covers are “Ring of Fire” and “Angel from Montgomery.” She has recorded a demo EP and has a brand new single, “New York,” which is available on all streaming platforms. She has a full catalog of music and hopes to record a CD in the future.
Moon has a lot going on for a 20-year-old. She is a full-time musician, takes online classes at Berklee College of Music, and has developed a singer/songwriter showcase that is known as the “Sunshine Series.” She features artists from all over to create a strong network for them and to create a community along the East Coast.
The Rockwood Music Hall in New York City is her favorite place that she has played, and she will be there again in March. She is also quite fond of the Lizzie Rose Music Room in New Jersey. She has opened for some cool bands like Paul Revere and the Raiders, where she played to over 400 people. She has some great shows coming up with Dave Vargo and High Season, which features members of Joan Osborne and Sean Lennon’s bands. She was just confirmed to open for Stephen Kellogg in June, of whom I’m a big fan. Moon said, “Those are my big exciting moments so far.”
Needless to say, she has plenty more to come. If you can’t see her in Killington, check her out at Sahara Moon Music either at her website or any of the social media platforms.
Moon loves the interactions with all the people she gets to meet. She said, “When I’m performing on stage, I feel my performance, at least with my songs; they’re very vulnerable … I feel that is one of my favorite things, to be able to connect with a fan on such a deep level and be able to gain a friendship with that person.”