Q&A with Sarah Sexton
by Odell Hussey
My name is Sarah Sexton aka s2 of Oaktown Indie Mayhem. I was born in Texas and raised in Alabama + Florida. I run my own entertainment booking/promotions/consulting company in Oakland, Ca.
What does your work mean to you?
My work IS me. I have spent my life bringing people together around various forms of art and helping to create dialogue in hopes of developing solid community. It's still hard to believe I have created such a solid life for myself based around local independent art, music, and entertainment, but the eagle has landed and the word is: I am living the dream.
What is your biggest dream for your work?
My ultimate dream is to help build a realistic artist economy for Oakland in which artists are actually being paid a living wage. Next on the list is that I would love to find sponsorship by a stellar company *cough cough pandora* that can see what I am capable of creating out of almost nothing, and could give me a budget to create events, youth programs, and festivals that support local communities including artistic economies. This is always in the back of my mind.
What is the best thing about the work you do?
The best part has to be the love and gratitude that I receive from folks thrilled that I care about their craft as much as they do. Also that art is provocative! I feel like artists are constantly helping me to re-evaluate the world around me and how I relate to it all.
What is the most challenging thing about what you do?
Deadlines and #'s. Same as any other business owner out there I imagine, but music booking I feel is particularly stressful...every week you are just constantly holding your breath until you find out how much of a success or failure each show was for the venue. Sometimes shows just fail no matter how much love you throw at them, and that feels like a knife in your gut.
What has been the biggest learning point or choice you’ve made in your life?
Letting go and redefining my own perspective at any moment. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack over a gig being canceled or an artist refusing to respond to an email and then I have to put myself in check...its just a show...you have your limbs, food + clean water, you work for yourself and have a quaint little home to return to...bottom line, its not open heart surgery and you aren't running for your life in the Congo. Calm down, and then I do.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your life?
Be thankful. The minute you take what you have for granted or get greedy, you lose everything. I am genuinely thankful for every thing I hold dear, especially my career.
What is best advice you would offer to another creative?
As cheesy as it is, I tell young folks all the time...you can literally be/do anything in the world you want (especially in california), but you have to work for every bit of it. So if you want to be a musician or an astronaut or an accountant if your crazy like that, then you better make the time to work as hard on your passion as you do your day job or school. Otherwise you'll likely slave away to the man forever waiting for a break that may never come.