Sara Tea’s foray back into music is a bold re-introduction of an artist who’s spent a lifetime shaping the communities around her. Her new songs—written and recorded over the last several years while navigating numerous personal and spiritual challenges—possess strength in their ethereal yet deeply felt instrumentation, coupled with Tea’s lush and humanistic vocals. Her new work is full of introspection and growth, introducing a new and intriguing side to the catalog of an already-accomplished musician.
Sara Tea has been creating worlds and spaces for the outsiders to gather, since picking up the sticks in the late 90’s, she has been a paragon of the independent music scene in and around Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago. In addition to her award-winning DJ career, Tea’s responsible for founding the inclusivity-focused party Danceotron (“Denver’s No BS Dance Party”), along with opening a boutique and event spaced called Chielle; she was also an early adopter to podcasting that featured guests like Aparna Nancherla and Ilana Glazer.
The pandemic initially dashed plans for Sara Tea to record in a proper studio, but Tea pushed on undeterred by immersing herself deeper into DIY recording approaches while discovering a love for the technical side of producing. Her new work is “a commitment to walking my own path—capturing a period in which I was fighting for myself, my health and my life while the world moved on around me.” Moving deeper into the world of soundscapes with soundtracks, soundbaths and building her own experimental instruments she continues to curate physical and aural experiences to share with others despite her physical limitations. “We all need spaces to pause and recover what we’ve been through. The world may move on but we need spaces to heal and not just survive, but thrive. These songs are dedicated to the discarded souls.”
The first single, Heaven Knows was written & produced Sara Tea with Matt Johnson joining on drums (Jeff Buckley, Dean Wareham of Galaxy 500, Beth Orton) & Hamilton Belk on bass (Cut Worms, Field Guide, Dylan Earl) and mixed by Fred Thomas (Saturday Looks Good to Me, Stef Chura, His Name is Alive) at Westside Studios in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Each single has a limited edition physical work of art designed as a companion to the music of Sara Tea.
Sara Tea is an artist, musician, DJ and performer over the past two decades has worked to create immersive sound and art experiences that aim to dismantle the hierarchies of creative spaces in favor of forming inclusive and encouraging environments. "I love creating spaces, sounds, and curating moments,” Tea says. The unique spaces she’s curated span multiple mediums, cities, and genres, all unified by Tea’s dedication to building the welcoming places she wanted to exist but didn’t see in the world.
When she found herself feeling like an outsider at both club nights and underground dance parties in Colorado in the early 2000s, she decided to create her own. Through her experiences with the gentle DIY approach of Daniel Johnston and K Records, Tea created DanceoTron, Denver’s No BS Party, a place for people to (as the signs encouraged when you entered) to “leave their BS at the door” and enjoy the music. In her DJ career, Tea has shared stages with Grandmaster Flash, Glass Candy, Diplo, and Girl Talk as well as worked for radio stations like LA’s Indie103, KGNU and Radio 1190 and has been featured in Spin, Variety, LA Weekly (who named her one of LA Top 5 Hottest LA DJs) , The Denver Post (which awarded her Best Underground DJ) and Westword (who named her the Best Dance/Electronic DJ). She has also played in She’s Crafty, Chicago’s all female Beastie Boys tribute band, and created a live soundscape for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts theater performance of 1001, a modern day retelling of the story of Scheherazade. She fronted her own band, the Little Heads, and was the drummer for bands like Josh Taylor’s Friends Forever, the Hot House, and Clotheshorse.
While living in Denver, Tea opened Chielle, a boutique and safe haven and gathering space for the tenderhearted that sold clothing by independent designers and also served as a practice space and hosted everything from a mix tape club to live shows by musicians like Calvin Johnson and Dear Nora. "It was never just about djing or a store,” she explains. “It was the revolutionary act of creating a simple space where everyone is welcomed and appreciated and understood."
As a visual artist, Sara Tea’s vast projects range from designing clothes (her popular “Haters Need Hobbies” t-shirt) to creating a series of sticker art in reaction to harassment in Hollywood, to a self-published diary comic called A Portrait in Three Months, which is now in its 4th printing. She hosted the podcast, Sara Tea Time, which features thoughtful conversations with guests from comedian Aparna Nancherla to Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, as well as worked on projects for Vice, Atlantic, the Denver Art Museum, and more.
Sara Tea’s current work brings together her experience in multiple mediums to create even more inclusive immersive experiences—exploring the connection between technology, music, and art through sound healing, art installations, and unique event production. In her words: “It's revolutionary just to have space to exist, a blank canvass where you're uninhibited.”