laughing, crying, and more as we get deep with sarina paris!
Hi. You know what?
You are so in the family with me.
How is that?
Because my dad’s name is Charlie and he is a retired plumber and Crane (not how I spell my name, but close enough) is a line of ceramics.
You don’t have to remind me that my name is the line of toilets.
(we both laugh)
Oh, come on.
I’m just kidding. (we both laugh) Speaking of your dad, how is your family taking this?
My dad doesn’t believe I have a real job. (laughs) He thinks traveling and singing for people isn’t a real job.
What would it take for him to believe it?
He got remarried and his wife is really into music and she buys all the Hollywood magazines and stuff and she told him. Oh, you know what happened?
When we were in Sicily we were jumped by a bunch of people, young kids who were going mental, and they saw me and ran to the gate yelling, ‘Oh my God, is that Sarina Paris?’ and my father was sitting there wondering what was going on. He thought they were being ridiculous. He said, ‘She can’t be a real star. What did you do pay them?’ (we both laugh)
How did you get your career started?
I never intended to make a living out of it. First, I never thought I was good enough, and that held me back. I kept going and there was always someone there who believed in me and pushed me to keep going. I just kept going and now I believe it because it’s so much hard work.
Were you just singing for fun previously?
I was always singing just for fun. I would sing for my friends. I’d call my girlfriends and ask them if I could sing them a song and if they were busy I’d tell them to give me just three minutes. Of course it was never just three minutes because I’d sing them the whole album. It was always one of my things. My neighbors knew me because they could hear me outside singing, especially when I’d hit the high notes.
How in the world did you get signed to Priority? Which of course is notoriously a hip- hop label.
Someone heard it there and they liked it. They thought it was refreshing. It came out in Italy on Emi there and then Priority heard it. It’s funny because they probably think, ‘Here comes this tacky girl who is all proper, we can’t swear in front of her.’ I’m like yes, you can. I can be cool too. I’m always trying to prove that I’m cool, like I’ll be saying ‘I smoke sometimes.’ (laughs) Priority treated me like, you know when you see a really hefty man and he has a baby in his hands? That is what I felt like. It was all these tough guys going, ‘Don’t touch Sarina.’ It was cool. Isn’t contrast good?
Yes. Do you think because you aren’t a hip-hop artist that they’ll give you more attention, especially because you could be laying the foundation for more to come?
I mean, Jive was a hip-hop label and then came Backstreet Boys and Britney. Now they are the biggest pop label.
I think there are no boundaries. I thought it would be difficult for me, but it is easier because I don’t have to stick to one personality either. I think every album will have a story and its own personality. This album is about self-appreciation, positivity, tenderness, and love. Everything positive. It’s the story of my life at that moment. So each new album will have a different style and new feeling.
Speaking of the positive vibe of the album, do you want to be a role model?
I’ve always been a role model. I have a brother who is much older than me, and my niece is like fourteen so I’m a role model to her. I think one of my messages that people get without me even telling them is accepting yourself and those around you and that everything is going to work out. It always does. You don’t have to compete with everybody. My fans write me all the time telling me that they love my music and it brings them up. Some people are encouraged to pursue their dreams. So to be a role model, you can be one to one person or ten thousand people.
How often do you get to spend time with your family and friends?
I’m always on the road, but I’m always on the phone. I never have time free. With email it’s a lot easier. It’s hard. Sometimes I don’t see them for months, but we just pick it back up.
Did you know going in that it would be such a sacrifice?
I didn’t realize how organized I had to be with my energy. You can’t just pick up after a show and go party. I used to do that, but now I know I have to go to sleep after my show so I have energy for what I have to do the next day. When I know I don’t have any shows coming up, that is when I party. I have to organize myself that way. (laughs)
Do you get to check out cities when you travel?
Sometimes. I like to go to the areas where the tourists don’t go. I like to just go and sit and have coffee and talk to people. I’m so convinced that one day I’ll see all the other places, one day when I have a family and kids.
So you don’t have to be a tourist now.
So whenever I can just meet people, I like to do that. I also like to take the subway lines whenever I can. I’m a subway and bus person.
Do you like to absorb people?
People watchers. I like watching kids. They are so innocent and cute. They aren’t aware of how they are acting. It’s just so natural.
They’re not conscious of the world. As a writer, I’m a people watcher. Of course, I try to do it when they don’t know I’m doing it. (laughs)
See, I have this staring problem too. I find myself staring. If I see someone with an interesting face, I’ll stare at them because I can’t figure out what makes their face so interesting. The person will look at me and know and think I’m weird or something.
Did you grow up singing along to music?
I was raised in an Italian household and we would listen to Italian radio and my mother didn’t speak any English so we had to speak Italian to her. The tv was an Italian station and it was hard for me to understand a lot of the words. So I would listen to my father’s records, do you know the forty-fivers?
Yeah, the little ones?
Yeah. I would listen to them and write down the words according to how I heard them, not what they really were. So I would steal the song even though I didn’t know what they were saying. So I would record myself while I was listening to the record and my mother would let her friends hear it. I’d get all embarrassed, but I kept doing it because I loved it. I used to sing in the choir at school. I love singing in the shower. Like you can let it all out while you are in the shower. Doesn’t that feel great?
Imagine doing that in front of twenty thousand people. Not naked. (we both laugh)
Yeah, with soap and a washcloth.
With your Crane washroom.
And all the accessories. (we both laugh)
You’d be like, ‘Are there any plumbers’ kids in the house?’ and I’d be yelling, ‘Me, me, me.’ (we laugh)
Speaking of being onstage, clothed, do you remember the first time?
The first time I was onstage I was five or six and we were doing this play for Christmas and I was supposed to be a sheep. All I had was one line and I fell asleep onstage. I had to be crouched up in a little ball. I think everyone was embarrassed, but I didn’t know what was happening. And then when I had to sing the first time I lost my voice because I was so nervous. I would try singing, but nothing would come out. I knew I wanted to be there, I just kept trying. It was just something I had to overcome.
Today what goes through your mind? Do you get the anticipation or excitement?
I get both. I’m constantly excited. I live to be onstage. But I’m also worried because I know there will be some people that aren’t going to be happy because I you can’t please everybody. So I always tell my dancers, ‘We can’t make them all like us, we just have to do our best.’
Do you think about anything onstage? And let’s not go back to singing in the shower.
Yeah, let’s not go back to the washroom because sometimes I really have to pee when I work. We were just talking about that today, that I probably sing better when I’m suffering. (we both laugh) What do I think about? I worry about bumping into my dancers, especially when we have a small stage. I don’t think of anything. I look for smiles and hands extended for me to touch.
Being away from home so much, does it take a toll on your personal life?
Let’s not even go there, it’s so depressing. I never know where I’m going to end up. I had a couple of relationships before I signed my contract and both were these jealous Italian guys. Both wanted me to quit my singing for them. I promised myself I’d never get into a relationship again until I decided what I was going to do with music. I have so much to concentrate on now, but I think if you have an excuse for not being in a relationship, it means you aren’t ready for one. I’m sure when I find someone the excuses will go away.
I have the feeling you’ve also heard that you’re married to your career.
Yeah, I’ve been told that. When I’m down and homesick, people tell me that if I had a boyfriend it would be so much easier, but I don’t think so. I’d be taking all my frustrations out on him.
Plus you’d never get to see him and only be upset about missing him too.
Do you bring music on the road?
Yes. One is Diamonds Are Forever: Remix Album. Have you heard of Shirley Bassey?
She sings (Sarina sings two songs from the album). It’s the James Bond stuff.
I know who you are talking about. She did a song with the Propellerheads.
Right, that was her voice. I listen to it so much. I dance on my bed. I don’t know how I get the moves out of me. It’s just so funky. The other album is Andreas Johnson. He is so sexy. And when he sings he has such dry lips, I just want to go over and put Vaseline on them. (We both laugh) He’s so cute and talented. I also have the Hole Celebrity Skin album. I go jogging with that.
It gives you the rush.
It totally inspires me. My body knows when to go faster because a quicker song will come on. I’m so trained to that cd. That is my favorite workout album.
Do you want to include these kinds of music in your stuff in the future?
I do. I want to keep the Sarina Paris sound, but introduce other styles too. We had some intern guys who were our sound guys and they were in a studio doing stuff on their own, and I called them and asked them if they wanted to do something for my album and they went crazy. Two of the songs we picked were from interns.
So you never dreamed about this happening, it just became a dream.
I’ll tell you a secret; I was always scared to say it was my dream because I was afraid I’d never achieve it. I never realized it was a dream until after it happened.
It’s the same with me. When I was younger, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was afraid they would laugh or I would sort of jinx myself. I’ve wanted to be a movie writer and director since I was a kid.
Wow. Well, do you want to write a movie for me? I want to be an actress.
And you know your name is so Hollywood. There are lots of sinks there. (we both laugh)
I’m not going to live this down, am I?
I don’t know. (laughs) What were you afraid of?
I was afraid of the jinx.
I was just afraid that the dream wasn’t achievable.
So you were afraid of jinxing yourself? I know a lot of people that feel the same way.
I think too that I was afraid if I told people they’d be like, ‘Yeah, right buddy, you better go and be an electrician or something sensible.’
I know, because it sounds so farfetched, but it’s a job just like any other.
It’s just doing what you love, so in a way it’s not a job.
When you dream about your future, what do you hope to achieve?
I’ve never said no to any door that has opened. So my dream is to have a lot of doors opened, even if it wasn’t the best opportunity, I’d do it for the experience. I want to be able to have control. (laughs) I want to be good at everything in the industry, like producing and stuff like that. I’d like to have a column in a magazine; I’d like to act. I just want to be the idiot actor. I want to be the foolish one.
That is funny.
Are you looking for parts?
I haven’t gotten any parts, but people are talking. People tell me I’m so animated.
I can tell. Honestly, I really appreciate the time with you.
Thank you. It was cool because it was such a pleasant conversation.
I’m glad. I guess talking is natural for me. Interviewing is so much fun, kind of like hanging out with friends.
I know. You’re a little bit of a gibber-jabber.
I know. I hope it is a good thing.
It is a good thing. And you laugh like you are a little shy too.
See. That is people watching! (we both laugh)
And it’s weird that I can be an interviewer, yet be shy.
Well, that’s because you are directing the question, but when the question is about you, that is when the shyness comes up.
Yeah. You hit that nail on the head. It’s an odd combination.
It’s a nice combination though.
+ charlie craine