When Sarah Burgess auditioned for the sixth season of American Idol, the then-19-year-old broke down in tears on camera. She had traveled from her native East Palestine, Ohio to the New York auditions without the consent of her parents, who dismissed her aspirations of a singing career as a pipedream. But, she knew in her heart that she wanted to pursue her goal, and hopefully make her family proud. “I could not just not go,” she explained to the shocked judges. The result? A golden ticket to Hollywood, awarded to only 173 of the 120,000 hopefuls.
American Idol was just the first, small step in Sarah’s dream - which has become her reality. Signed to PME Records in 2007, she released her debut album, One, the next year and subsequently scored her first Hot AC Top 40 hit, “Dangerouz.” Her sophomore effort, Just Me (Iceberg Records/Solymar Music), of which she co-wrote nearly all of the tracks, was released in May 2013. The first single, “Thank You (Very Much For Absolutely Nothing)” has already received over 45,000 YouTube plays.
Her versatile talent knows no boundaries - be they musical or geographic. In 2011, she enjoyed the honor of representing Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest. Not only was she selected as a finalist in the competition, she was also the first American contestant on the program. She also affiliated with the “School is Cool” program, visiting schools in Europe and teaching students English through her music.
Now, having completed her fifth European school tour, she is turning her attention to raising awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and finding a cure. Partnering with non-profit CureDuchenne, Sarah’s song “Run Away,” written for her six-year-old brother, Jacob, who was diagnosed with the degenerative disease a year ago, will be featured in a video campaign by the organization, including PSAs. “Run Away” is slated for release in December 2013, and 100% of the proceeds will go to CureDuchenne to fund progressive research.
Personally, Sarah lives near Pittsburgh with her husband, Mark, and babydogs, Hollywood and Cali. She is currently writing and recording her third studio album.