The first in a new series where DIME students share the songs that have shaped their lives and musical journeys
My name is Sara Berger and I’m a BA Commercial Music Performance (Vocals) major at DIME. I was born and raised in mid-Michigan and have been on many journeys in my short life, but I somehow always find myself back here. This soundtrack represents events and details that have shaped me into who I am today. They stand for what made me a musician and molded the choices that put me where I currently am mentally, emotionally, and physically.
“Listen to Your Heart” – DHT
This song means nearly everything to me and is the root of my musical journey and the start of my career. In 8th grade, I joined my middle school choir. Never having sung before, I just wanted to take the easiest class to boost my grades. Kids would audition for a solo slot in the final concert of the year. It was a huge ordeal and everyone dreamed of singing their favorite song at this performance. I ended up being convinced to sing backups for one of my friends’ songs, and my choir teacher heard me and drafted me into singing this song, which I had never even heard before. I hated singing and thought it was a joke. When I came into class the next day she showed me my name in the program, I had my own solo slot for “Listen to Your Heart”. I was in shock and stressed over it for days. I had no idea that one night, that one performance, that one song, would change my life forever. When I was finally in the moment singing this song, I remember pure bliss taking over my entire body. In the entire 1,500 seat auditorium, the only thing I could see through the pitch darkness was the tiny exit sign in the back of the room. It was the most significant moment in my life. I was nervous when the performance ended, I ran off the stage and just stood there for a few moments, unable to move or even comprehend what had happened. From that night on, I knew what my calling was. I knew that I was born to sing and I would spend the rest of my life trying to accomplish that. I would have never discovered my passion for singing and performing if it weren’t for being forced into singing at that concert.
“New York” – Alicia Keys
This was the theme song of my life when I moved to New York in 2015 to pursue musical theater. I had been accepted into AMDA (the American Musical and Dramatic Academy) and was planning to attend, but last minute I was given the chance to study privately with Peter Sklar and Kevin Jones. Those are two of the biggest names in the musical theater industry and they had offered me an opportunity which I couldn’t turn down. At the time, I thought that musical theater was my calling, and so I moved out to Brooklyn without a second thought. It was the biggest decision of my life, I had never been to New York, and I didn’t know a single soul there. I didn’t even know where I was going to live until a couple of weeks after I had landed. When I first arrived, I was able to spend a few nights with a friend of a family friend from home, but they were still complete strangers. Shortly after, I signed the lease for my apartment with two more complete strangers and we moved in. It was the most terrifying of times for me but I believe I learned more in the year I had spent there, than in all of my time at home. By the end of this chapter of my life, I was miserable and hated where I was. I had fallen into bad habits such as partying and drugs, I was surrounded by bad people, and I hated the path that my musical theater career was taking. I knew if I kept going the same way, I would end up in a bad place. Although my time in New York ended abruptly and painfully, I am thankful for having gone through it. I learnt things that only experiences such as these are capable of teaching. I wouldn’t trade my time and situations there for anything. They are just more pieces of who I am.
“Confident” – Demi Lovato
My favorite song in the world is ‘Stone Cold’ by Demi Lovato and this was a song I sang when I auditioned for DIME. While ‘Stone Cold’ represents pain and heartbreak, ‘Confident’ represents a full blown defeat of inner demons and strength for me. What really makes this song special is that it not only represents an event of growth in my life, but it also is the new step for Demi, too. Being a diehard Lovatic like myself, it is a very special and endearing thing when you can blossom and transform with your hero at the same time. Demi delivers this song with power and a new perspective, and I was given the chance just recently to do the same. When I performed this song at the Grammy’s Show at DIME, it challenged me in ways I never knew were possible. The song made me expand my comfort zone and try new things and taught me to not care about what others say or think of me. The message of this song is to be confident in who you are and that there is nothing wrong with being assertive. This message perfectly sums up where I am in my life at this very moment, and represented a significant moment, of which there are many more to come!