Q&A with the charismatic Christine Sako

Passionate pop singer-songwriter and producer Christine Sako released a tender new track, ‘Warmth’, on December 8, 2023 via her independent label, Christine Sako Music. Christine has previously toured with fellow Minnesotans, emo-indie rockers Now, Now, and as an opening act for Paramore’s Brand New Eyes Europe tour. With music reminiscent of Edie Brickell, MUNA, and Taylor Swift, Christine is carving out a name for herself in the industry and showing no signs of slowing down.

Stream ‘Warmth’ and read our interview with her below:

What has been the most defining moment of your musical career? 

Oof! If we were going to go with memorable vs. defining per se –  even though it wasn’t for my solo project, I would say opening for Paramore in Europe on their Brand New Eyes tour. I was a touring member in a band called Now, Now as a bassist/keyboardist/glockenspielist (ha!). Playing in arenas where the closest band member to you was as far away as the stages we were used to playing was absolutely wild. Not to mention the crowds! We would get to go up on stage and sing and dance during Paramore’s encore every night, something I’ll never forget.

Break down your creative process for us. Do you have any rituals, or is it more of a spontaneous event?

I used to come up with a lot of verses and a chorus in the shower. Around the hair-washing phase, a melody with some lyrics would pop into my head and I would work those lines as I lathered up the rest of my body. In the past year or so I’ve started waking up in bed with an idea already in my head (must have had some inspiration from whatever I was dreaming about!). Those ideas can be really hit or miss though (either “”Wow! How did I come up with that?” or What were you THINKING?”). Not to mention the difference in process… you know when you have to talk for the first time after being asleep for hours, and sometimes it’s like you’re speaking with a troll in your throat? Imagine trying to record a voice memo first thing after waking up…

What equipment or software do you enjoy writing with the most?

I got a Taylor GS Mini a couple years ago to motivate me to play casually more often – it’s smaller and less… precious than some of my other guitars so it takes away some of the complexity out of a session for me. As far as software and DAWs go, I’m a Logic head all the way. I started recording with Garageband in high school, so it was an almost seamless transition for me as I became more serious about recording and producing.

What does your performance setup look like? Are there any differences between your live and studio kits?

To be honest my live setup can be a little awkward with so much going on musically and then just me standing there up on stage. Right now it’s just me up there with a mixing board, an acoustic guitar, mic, and quite a few cords. I am trying to get to a place where I can incorporate more elements of what is in the backtracks in the live show, whether that be having other musicians up there with me or starting to experiment with live looping, etc. It’s totally different from my recording environment since so much of my music has electronic elements – usually the only organic bits are guitar and vocals, and the rest is MIDI.

Do you ever see yourself performing with a group/’band’ setup? If yes/no, tell us why.

I guess I accidentally answered that question above haha. I think there is definitely potential for playing with a group – I have been a touring member of a band in the past and I really do miss the camaraderie both on and off stage. I think it definitely makes for a more interesting and compelling set because you then have this inherent banter and chemistry on stage that you really can’t replicate as a solo act. I also think it would take some of the pressure off being the only focal point. 

Do you have any non-musical hobbies? In an alternate universe where you are not a musician, what would you be?

I am a huge math and data head. I have my Bachelors in Mathematics and I currently work as a Data Scientist in my day-to-day (no, I’m not a full-time musician!). So luckily I get to live out my nerdy dreams as well. From a creative standpoint I have always been really into illustration and graphic design – I create all my album art myself and I have a lot of fun and pride knowing that I double-ended the audio and visual aspects of my music projects.

What’s the ideal setting/scenario for people to hear your music for the first time?

Ooh, good question – I guess it depends which song and what the vibe is. I guess the cover-all would be absolutely blasting through the speakers on a long drive. The listener can be contemplative but also looking to pass the time in a pleasing and entertaining way. They can absorb the lyrics at whatever attention to detail they have the capacity for, and no matter what, they’ll be surrounded by the instrumentation and melodies that mean so much to me.

What’s next for Christine Sako? Any notable events or plans for collaborations coming up?

I’m really looking forward to writing and recording more and more! I’ve taken the past couple years to recharge a bit, creatively. Now that this new release is finally out, I want 2024 to be a year with non-stop momentum so I can produce enough tracks for at least an EP!  I am currently redecorating my recording studio so I’m hoping that will inspire a new and exciting vibe for my future sessions! 

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