When she was pregnant with her first daughter, one of Sarah Hart’s many creative collaborators brought her a set of juggling balls, and taught her how to use them. Between singing, songwriting, traveling, speaking and parenthood, Hart’s friend figured she’d benefit from the skill.
“It was such a funny precursor to how it really looks,” Hart says now, some 12 years later. “Because you do feel like you have to keep those balls up in the air, and if one of them drops, everything sort of falls apart underneath it.”
Over years of balancing a family and multi-faceted musical career, Hart’s become a seasoned and grateful juggler, with a list of accomplishments that attest to her commitment to keeping all those balls in the air.
Hart most recently released Above Earth’s Lamentation, her eighth album as a solo artist. That collection of songs, captured with Nashville producer Paul Moak, comes during a fruitful songwriting season for Hart. Amy Grant, Celtic Woman, Matt Maher, Jason Crabb and The Newsboys are among those who’ve recently recorded her songs, and Grant’s recording of “Better Than a Hallelujah” (for 2010’s Somewhere Down the Road) earned Hart a Best Gospel Song Grammy nomination. She has also had several song placements in film and television, and her songs appear in hymnals all across the world.
Hart continues to hit the road steadily, too, helming concerts, keynoting and speaking, leading faith-focused women’s, musician’s and parish retreats, and performing from coast to coast and abroad. In October of 2013, Sarah was invited to perform for Pope Francis and a crowd of 150,000 in St. Peter’s Square.
At home in Nashville, she composes music and does voiceover work for the Tom Tichenor Children’s Theater at the Nashville Public Library. She’s of late been finishing up work on her first musical, Bernadette of Lourdes, based on the life of Saint Bernadette (premiering in March of 2014). And on weekdays, Hart heads to the schoolyard to pick up her girls, and tucks them into bed later; the hours between are what she calls “sacred time.”
Hart’s resume lists a lot of work, and a lot of different work — but she sees a thread running through just about everything she does.
“I think it’s all about life,” Hart says. “It’s all about faith and the human experience, and that’s what allows people to relate. You have to be in touch with that experience as an artist; fearlessness in that place of honesty, and being able to write, speak and sing from it is, for me, the key.”
In her travels, the reward is meeting people, sharing her stories, and having them share their own experiences, too. “To be able to do this work and offer a little bit of an oasis to people – a little time to delve in and have fun and look deeper into their faith and desire more — that’s really rewarding to me. I’m incredibly grateful to meet such amazing folks, to have them be a part of my journey, and grateful for them allowing me be a part of theirs.”
As Hart navigates an increasingly busy time in her own journey, she’s taken as many pointers as she’s given. And her friends and collaborators continue to share important lessons, too: that juggling isn’t a skill so much as a process, and that doing it successfully means you have to keep moving.