Canadian artist sahara revealed her debut single “LVOE” on August 8th.

Written by sahara and produced by Tochiora Mba-Uzoukwu, the single describes a relationship that was so close to being love.

“The line between friends and more than friends was incredibly blurry. For a long time I was convinced that everything would eventually become definite, but sometimes things are better left unsolved and unsaid,” explains sahara.

Fusing elements of r&b and soul, “LVOE” offers a captivating sound introducing sahara as a strong songwriter who is not afraid to embrace her vulnerability.

“LVOE” is now available worldwide.

Photo credit: Jonathan Bell-Etkin

Photo credit: Jonathan Bell-Etkin

Introduce yourself - What's your story? 

Hello hello! I’m sahara, and I’m a 21 year old singer-songwriter living in Toronto, Canada. I was born in Coquitlam which a city about 30 minutes out of Vancouver. I’ve always had many interests and passions, some of which stuck and some of which lasted a few days, LOL. Acting, music, photography, videography, interior design, fashion, FOOD, and travelling are the ones that remain with me. All in all, my creative endeavours have really helped me to figure out who I am as a person, and travelling built my confidence and independence up so much. I’ve had so many unbelievable experiences already but I think my story is just getting started.

Could you describe us your childhood a little bit? 

I have beautiful memories of my childhood. Trick or treating on Starlight Avenue, road trips to the lake, skiing over winter break, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Obviously no family is perfect, but I’m lucky to have a very supportive and loving home. My parents are so different from each other so I have really unique relationships with both of them. My dad is super into music and he’s an incredible guitar player. When I was really young we would dance around in the living room to “Beautiful Day” by U2 past bedtime; definitely one of my favourite memories. My mom is scary intelligent, so creatively I learned a lot from her. We were always making up goofy songs and rhymes, we still do, and she always gave me enough freedom to grow and learn lessons on my own. Track and Field was my sport throughout school and believe it or not I was a huge science nerd.

How would you describe yourself today? 

I’m a bit of a shit show to be honest, I feel like there’s always a lot going on in my life so I’m constantly jumping around from one thing to another but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I LOVE meeting new people and I am so grateful for the life I’m living. I’d say one of my strengths is self-awareness; I’m able to recognize my weaknesses when I need to. For example: time management, not a strength, LOL. Transparency and authenticity are really important to me as well, so pushing past my insecurities and living my truth is something I’ve been getting pretty good at.

Do you remember your early musical memories? 

I joined the school choir in elementary school and I had an amazing music teacher, Mrs. Chan, who was really passionate about her career. She would put on these Christmas concerts each winter which was honestly the best time of the year. We all loved music class; I’m so grateful for her attitude because I think teachers can really influence how students view a subject. Despite the love I had for music, I never really had any of those “child prodigy” moments. It’s kind of funny actually because memorizing lyrics used to be nearly impossible for me, I used to lay on my bedroom floor and write them all out. I didn’t know you could search for them on the internet. LOL. Who knew I’d be writing my own someday.

When did you start writing songs? What made you want to write songs in the first place?

I started writing music when I was 16. I was dealing with all those adolescent emotions and feelings and I was also coming to terms with my sexuality. There was a lot going on to say the least. I don’t think I ever was like, “Yup, I want to write music now.” It more so came to me as a natural coping mechanism. To be able to turn a difficult situation into something positive gave me strength. In terms of inspiration, I was never the same after hearing the album, “Red,” by Taylor Swift. Pure brilliance. I’ve always strived to paint pictures like Swift does with her words and more recently, artists like Sasha Sloan, Maren Morris and Chelsea Cutler have reminded me why I want to keep writing.

When did you know you could sing? 

I discovered Christina Aguilera around 7th grade and absolutely fell in love with her music. Her voice has so much control and power. Whenever I was home alone I’d run around the house belting “Lady Marmalade”; I was (and still am) obsessed with the Burlesque soundtrack too. I used to make old covers on my laptop as well which I must recover some day, I know those would be hilarious! In hindsight, I was not the strongest vocalist, but for some reason I had this confidence that kept my dreams in a reachable realm. Eventually, when I was about 17 or 18, a producer I was in contact with recommended a vocal coach to me, Judith Rabinovitch, who I trained with for about a year. No joke, she changed my life!

At what point did you decide to fully pursue music as a career? What did your friends and family think of it? 

I moved to Toronto back in May of 2018. After visiting the city for the first time that January, I applied to a few Universities and was accepted as a transfer student. My intention going into the move was to get settled over the summer and head back to school in September to finish my degree. But, as I’ll mention later on, Summer was so unexpectedly songwriting-focused that when it came time to register for classes, I was leaning towards giving music a go for the year. I remember calling my parents and initially they were like, “Um, so, you moved across the country to not go to school…?” Obviously they were confused at first but I think this was one of the, if not the first time, I believed in the music I was writing, so it didn’t take much convincing after I laid out a realistic plan.

How would you describe sahara, the artist? 

I don’t think I know quite yet, but for now, I’m okay with that.

"LVOE" is your first single. How does it feel like to release your first single ever? 

I find myself reacting neutrally to 99% of the things that I do and create, like nothing is really a big deal, you know? Don’t get me wrong, I’m easily excited about a lot of things, I’m just hard on myself, which I’m sure almost everyone can relate to. So when LVOE came out I was initially kind of like, “okay, this is neat.” However, a few days later, I was writing in my journal and I came across this list I have of personal life goals, one of which read, “release a first single,” and honestly I felt accomplished scratching that off. That was one of the first times I actually allowed myself to sit back for a moment and take in that I had worked hard to make something happen.

What's the story behind "LVOE"? 

LVOE stemmed from so many different memories floating around in my head. I spent most of last summer in a confusing, blurry-lined friendship, that, at the time, I so badly hoped would evolve into something more. It just so happened that I had somewhat of a romantic history with this person, so it was really hard for me to let go of how perfect it had been when we were together. I had a theory that there was this tension between us that silently confessed mutual feelings, but I still couldn’t tell you if I was right about that. I think LVOE was me saying, “hey, we have so much potential here, I’ve seen it, we’ve experienced it, maybe now isn’t the right time, but I know at least some of you feels it too.”

When did you start writing this song? Who helped you created it? 

I made the first ever voice memo for LVOE on June 21st of 2018. I had the chorus written, but the verses were actually intended to be part of a different song completely. When I realized I was in the same emotional state while working on either of these songs, I just decided to combine the two. Luckily it worked, and once I started mixing instrumentals in with the lyrics, it came together quite nicely. It’s bizarre going back and hearing how different it was then versus how it sounds now; it definitely came a long way. After I finished writing and composing the song, I took it to Toronto-based producer, Tochiora Mba-Uzoukwu, who produced the track. We had barely met before we started working on LVOE but musically we understood each other from the get go, which I feel is pretty rare of an occurrence.

Click on the artwork to stream “LVOE”  Artwork: Sarah BK Thompson

Click on the artwork to stream “LVOE”

Artwork: Sarah BK Thompson

What do you like the most about "LVOE"? 

It took me a few months to get all the lyrics exactly right for LVOE. I’ll never rush the writing or release anything unless it’s exactly what I envisioned for the song. I love that LVOE is accurate, it doesn’t stray from my side of the real life story. The specific details and moments that impacted me the most I referenced in the lyrics. In the first verse, I mention a place called Lost and Found, which is a club in Toronto. Coincidentally, the first and last kiss I ever had with the person I wrote this song about, happened to take place at Lost and Found. Not my best moments (no regrets though), LOL, but I thought that had significance. So I went back and took some audio recordings inside and outside of the club, and Chiora and I slipped small bits of those recordings into the song at various places. I love that LVOE literally has pieces of my memories in it.

What's your goal for this first single? 

I wanted to make a song that would accurately summarize the memories I was reliving and emotions I was experiencing. I also hoped for the production to spice it up a little without dismissing the vulnerability. Of course, how amazing if others could enjoy it and relate to it as well, but this one was for me. I just wanted something to be proud of, and I’m happy I was able to achieve that.

As an artist, what do you want to accomplish? 

I recently discovered a song called “7UP” by Boy in Space, and it took me to a place I had been needing to go for quite some time. Sometimes music opens up those doors within in us and allows us to feel things that we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone other than myself, but my goal as an artist is simply to make people feel. I’d also love to collaborate with songwriters who have written music that impacted me at some point.

What does music make you feel? 

I could never compare anything to the feeling of being in love, but when I started making music it fuelled me with this type of excitement that was strangely similar. I think that feeling was me finding my passion and learning to be in love with my own life.

What are your thoughts on today's social media? 

I’m kind of a grandma with technology so when I refer to “social media” I mean Instagram, that is the extent of my abilities and inclinations. In my opinion, it can definitely be toxic, there’s a lot of content floating around that isn’t real, not to mention it frequently promotes this ideology that we all have “perfect lives” which is hilariously unrealistic. If I’m being real, I probably care too much about what others think, but I’ve started to reach a point where I’m like “who gives a fuckkksdvjbsiv!!!!” A lot of the time I keep my head down, post my own stuff, check up on my main homies, and get out because unless it’s benefiting me in some way, it isn’t really worth my time. Mind you, it’s pretty cool that social media connects us to people all over the world; it’s a great place to share opinions and passions and make connections.

What are the things you are the most proud of? 

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with my friend Brooklyn, and she brought up my vulnerability. She was like, “it’s so cool seeing you so vulnerable, especially in a time where curating an image and emotions is so common,” and it honestly didn’t register with me until then that I was living an extremely vulnerable life. I’m proud that I value my art more than I fear judgement.

What message do you want to deliver to the LGBTQ communities around the world? 

Oh my god, there is so much I have to say. Off the top of my head I’d love to mention that stereotyping is so ANNOYING. I never ever want to hear someone say, “you don’t look like a lesbian though,” or, “haha kiss your friend then if you like girls.” Like… no. I don’t need to prove anything. People of all orientations can look like literally anything! On another note, own your shit!!! Be confident about who you are because if you have that, no one has permission to judge you.

In your opinion, what would make the world a better place? 

Well, the planet is literally burning. Going vegan, vegetarian/pescatarian or even cutting down red meat consumption would help reduce the need for livestock, which uses copious amounts of water, land and emits an insane amount of greenhouse gases. I’ve been pescatarian (and I only eat wild-caught seafood/fish) for 8 months now and it’s honestly been a breeze!! I’m working on transitioning into a vegan lifestyle as well.

What biggest life lessons have you learned so far?

My only regrets have come from what-if’s. I have this habit of going for things and taking chances even if the odds aren’t in my favour (this mostly applies to relationships). It’s so much easier to live with a heartbreak than a what-if in my opinion. I’ve learned that I’d rather be in the moment and go for what I want than worry about the outcome being perfect, because really, all we have is now.

Connect with sahara:





Liv Nicholson

Liv Nicholson