6 Facts About Sarah Jaffe: From Music to Activism

  • Last Updated: 
  • In Culture
  • 8 minutes read
6 Facts About Sarah Jaffe: From Music to Activism

Born on January 29, 1986, Sarah Allison Jaffe is an American singer-songwriter known for her crystalline vocals and versatility as a musician. 
Sarah is known for her work across many genres, including indie, hip hop, and acoustic folk. As she was born and brought up in Denton, Texas, folk music seems to be deeply rooted in her overall sound. 

Jaffe’s career took a forward momentum when she launched her first album, “Even Born Again,” in 2008. 'Clementine,' one of the songs in the album, is one of her most well-known songs. 

This article discusses five interesting facts that you may not have known about the talented singer-songwriter, Sarah Jaffe. 

Sarah Jaffe did the musical score for the movie 'Never Goin’ Back' (2018)

“Clementine” featured in the end credit of the 2011 movie “Life Happens” and marked the first time her song featured in a movie. However, this was not the end of her creative inputs in movies. She lent her vocals to the Pixar Studio short, “The Blue Umbrella” (2013). 

Her songs for "Never Going Back" then appeared in the 2017 Sundance Festival when the movie was selected as part of an independent screening.

The movie "Never Goin' Back" follows two waitresses out of Texas who saved up their dream vacation. The movie portrays their struggles as they are pulled into a drug scam while on vacation and lose the money they had saved.

Jaffe perfectly captures the character’s exasperations and their heritage in her songs using her folksy roots. In an interview with The Dentonite, she explained her songwriting process as a spontaneous collaboration with producer Nick Seeley and Andrew Tinker.

“Over a handful of months, I composed a handful of instrumental scores, collaborated/contributed a song with producer Nick Seeley and Andrew Tinker."

6 Facts About Sarah Jaffe: From Music to Activism
Sarah Jaffe at Sundance Festival (Source: The Dentonite)

Parents Had A Great Impact On Her Career

In an interview with The Great Discontent, when asked if her family supported her work, she said that her family was very supportive and tried to attend her shows whenever possible. 

“Yeah! Insanely supportive. If I’m playing in town, my parents will try to be at every show. They’re the best humans on the [explicit] planet.”

She further added, 

“My sister and my best friend are also supportive in that they keep me calm when I get hot-headed. Negative reviews really get to me, and I can get fired up, but the two of them are there to tell me, “‘Just calm down. Bring it on back.’”

When she was growing up, her father listened to a lot of Cat Stevens, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell. While her song influences come from her father, her passion for singing seems to have come from her mother, as she frequently accompanied her mother to church choir where she used to sing alto. 

6 Facts About Sarah Jaffe: From Music to Activism
Sarah Jaffe On Her Parent's Role (Source: AZ Quotes

Jaffe Uses A Lot Of Voice Memos When Writing Songs

Having a phone or a recorder at hand can be really handy for a musician. Jaffe told Build in an interview how she utilizes the power of technology in the songwriting process:

“I would just have a phrase or just two words that would just be obsessively in my head that didn’t have a place in the melody. And so a lot of times while driving I would just start to form these songs.” 

Sarah then said that she goes into the studio after she records them and builds upon these ideas.

“Clementine” Was Written In Ten Minutes

“Clementine” is one of those songs that are well-written both lyrically and musically. Given the song's success, it is astonishing that Jaffe wrote it in just ten minutes. In an interview with Billboard, she revealed how the song was initially just a filler for one of the band's shows in Arkansas.

Sarah further revealed that they did not have enough songs to finish the show, so she went to a friend's dorm room and came up with the song in under ten minutes.

Jaffe also expressed her surprise that a song that wasn't so well thought out would connect with so many people. 

She Is An Active Supporter Of The LGBTQ Movement

In 2017, Jaffe earned more love and respect from us when she became part of a protest against a bill restricting transgender people from using restrooms that didn’t match their gender identity.

As part of the protest, the Creative Community Against Anti-LGBTQ sent a letter to the Texan leaders that included actors, musicians, and artists condemning the bill.

Jaffe had never been known to dabble in political issues before this. She was quoted by Dallas News saying,

"I have never been an artist pushing politics. But I have no problem speaking out when I am angry or disagree. In this case, it was a matter of channeling that anger into something constructive. It may be a small part in the scheme of things, but it's a [expletive] part. And we need to play a part."

She Was In A Mixtape Put Out By NPR Music Along With Robert Plant

A weekly streaming program by NPR music called “All Songs Considered” aimed at audiences looking for new music, included one of her songs in the playlist. Sarah featured alongside legendary Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant. This inclusion alongside Plant proved the young singer's prowess as a musician and can definitely be considered a hallmark.

6 Facts About Sarah Jaffe: From Music to Activism
Sarah Jaffe and Robert Plant on Mixtape (Source: NPR Music)

Sarah Jaffe released her new single “Smut” in October of 2019 and is currently streaming live concerts from her Facebook page Sarah Jaffe.