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Photo from Sarah Scriver's website.

Teenager’s EP shares strength in face of bullying

By Apartment613 on May 30, 2016

Post by Laura Li, a West Carleton High School student and member of the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library Teen Advisory Group. She has also blogged on the Ottawa Public Library website as Teen blogger in Residence.

Artists tell stories with the stroke of a brush or a scribble of a pencil. For sixteen-year-old Sarah Scriver, her story lies beneath the strums of a guitar, the echoes of a piano and a voice carrying a truly powerful message. In her newest EP Mind Over Matter, Sarah explores her journey through the five stages of grief – a cycle that had taken over a significant part of her life. “I want listeners who might be going through this difficult time [of grief] to listen to the music and be able to keep their head up,” said Sarah.

Sarah first began her music career when she started learning to play the piano at the age of seven. Singing lessons came later on when she was ten, which eventually led to collaborations with first-season Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm. Sarah recorded her first EP, Stories, with Malcolm in 2013. 

Glamorous as the life of this local singer may seem, Sarah’s inspiration for her music comes from the many struggles few can say they have experienced in their youth.

“I’ve always been a little bit different,” Sarah explains. “I’ve always had a couple of friends, but I was never a person with a lot of friends, especially among girls, and I guess that made me an easy target for bullying.”

The years of middle school were rough times for the teen. Being the subject of verbal and physical abuse, the bullying escalated in grade nine when she was pushed into a locker, causing a severe concussion as well as temporary retrograde amnesia. The bullying also triggered a seizure disorder, causing temporary paralysis from the waist down and forcing her to occasionally re-learn how to walk.

“I felt so alone,” says Sarah. “There seemed to be no one who know exactly what I was going through. That feeling of isolation was unbearable.”

Bullying is a sensitive and unfortunately common subject for teens. The Survival Guide to Bullying by Aija Mayrock is a quick read for anyone in need of a shoulder to lean on. 

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Sarah has had to live through more hardships in her short life than most of us have had to deal with in our lifetime,” her manager, Jason Watts, comments. “That’s what Mind Over Matter is about. This EP takes you through [Sarah’s] journey of healing and self-discovery through mountains of adversity.”

Mind Over Matter’s message lies under the representation of grief, with each track representing one of the five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Hope.

“Ever since I was a kid, I would say to myself: ‘If I don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter,’” she says. “That’s where the whole name of the EP comes from. I think this motto of mine is also a good representation of the overall course of grief, since your mind plays such a big part in it.”

Sarah will be sharing more about her moving experiences at her release party for Mind Over Matter, taking place on June 3rd from 8-11pm at Pressed (750 Gladstone Ave). Sarah will be giving a live performance of her EP. Special guests Copper Altar and Goodnight Boy are also set to make an appearance.

“It will definitely be very exciting for me to be performing the songs from [Mind Over Matter] to the public,” says Sarah. “I love writing and playing music, and to be able to give out what I would say is my heart and soul to others is very rewarding for me.”

Tickets costing $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For more information on Sarah Scriver and/or the Mind Over Matter release party, please visit Sarah’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.