Senior at ‘Brink of Greatness’

Student releases EP with four original songs through professional producer

September 28, 2015

“I have a skin disorder.”

Senior Sara Hamlin stepped up to the microphone.

“So I’m not perfect or anything.”

She felt the heat of the room pressing in on her.

“You don’t have to be the status quo to be perfect.”

She took a deep breath and steeled her nerves.

“If you have the ambition, you can follow your dreams.”

She sang her heart out.

Over the summer, Sara Hamlin traveled to Joe Corn Studios in Denton to experience her first time in a recording studio.

“I’ve written songs since I was a child,” Sara said. “I have always loved music.”

The four songs, all written by Sara, were then sent to Nashville Tennessee to be mixed and mastered by Wichita Falls native, Gary Forsythe in Collision Point Studios.

Sara writes for her voice. She has a knack even for a beginner. I’m very impressed with her abilities right out of the gate like that.”

— Gary Forsythe, Producer

“Sara sent me just her vocals and a few chords,” Forsythe said. “It’s my job to listen and hear what can be created out of that.”

Her album, produced under the music name Nicole Abeth, is Brink of Greatness and includes the songs, Flames, Tomorrow Will Be Kinder, Coming for You and Little Birdie.

“Nicole and Elizabeth are my two middle names,” Sara said. “And when I was thinking of a name to use, I remembered a shortened version of Elizabeth. So I went with Nicole Abeth because it sounded more indie and I liked it better than my name.”

Sara said she receives the majority of her support in her musical endeavors from her family.

“The thing about Sara’s album is it’s a wide variety of music,” Sara’s father David Hamlin said. “It shows her talent a lot because every song is a little different.”

Her mother, Tamra Hamlin, said the first album has been a learning process.

“Next time we’ll know better,” Mrs. Hamlin said. “We will know that Sara needs to be there for the mixing and mastering to be more available to make changes if they’re needed.”

Because of the long distance, the weeks after recording were filled with phone calls and emails going back and forth between the Hamlins and Gary Forsythe.

“I send the rough mix to Sara and figure out what she likes,” Forsythe said. “Then it goes through the mastering process which involves making all of the songs the same volume and the same general sound.”

Sara said her original direction for the album changed tune once she got into the studio to record.

“Joe had brought his friend in to play “Little Birdie” on the guitar while he played it all jazzy on the keyboard,” Sara said. “I realized it needed to have more instruments behind the songs instead of going with just acoustic like I had planned.”

The finished products of each song started coming in and Sara was excited about the results.

“The first song I heard was Tomorrow Will be Kinder,” Sara said. “It was cool hearing all of it done up and put together. There were a few complications that we had to get fixed, but Gary did it perfectly.”

Forsythe said he was very pleased that Sara was excited about the album and expects great things for her.

“There’s writers, singers and players,” Forsythe said. “Some people write and can’t sing or play at all. Others can’t write and just perform. It takes a lot of talent to write. I’m very impressed with Sara’s abilities.”

Mr. Hamlin said Forsythe took the time to explain the whole process and walked them through it step by step.

“Sara is going to keep getting experience performing locally,” Mr. Hamlin said. “The next step would be to do a full album next summer.”

Mrs. Hamlin said what they are doing for Sara’s music is the same as what parents do for their athletes. “I’m excited to see her grow as an artist,” Mrs. Hamlin said.

Sara said sometimes she gets overwhelmed with everything that’s going on and feels like she doesn’t want to do it.

“But I just have to get myself motivated again when I feel like that,” Sara said. “I am at the beginning of this journey that could be something great. So I am on the ‘Brink of Greatness’.”

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