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Denton musician puts school on hold in hopes of music career

Denton musician puts school on hold in hopes of music career

Denton musician, Sage Baker dedicates 5-6 hours a week in his room to work on his music in his room. Baker is currently working on a project that will be released at the end of summer.

Denton musician puts school on hold in hopes of music career
January 22
15:27 2017

Abby Jones | Staff Writer

Focusing on his work in front of him, Denton resident Sage Baker runs his hand through his hair, stumped. The words he’s written out on the paper play around in his head, looking for the perfect solution to his roadblock. This type of writer’s block is one he enjoys.

While his friends work on homework, Baker works on music. Instead of working towards an end goal of finishing college, his end goal is to get signed.

Baker is a singer-songwriter with his own approach to a competitive industry.

“I didn’t start really doing [music] heavily until I was 18,” Baker said. “I was under a lot of stress. The way I expressed my emotions was through writing and writing and writing.”

Baker, 22, attended UNT through his junior year in 2016 until he came to a sudden realization that music was what he’d rather prioritize for the time being.

The stress of school was too much for him, affecting his ability to focus on anything other than his classes.

“I was taking a test that I honestly was not prepared for at all,” Baker said. “I got halfway through and went and turned it in. I never went back to another class after that.”

Baker’s absence from UNT isn’t permanent. He plans to eventually return and finish his degree in integrative studies.

For now, however, that’s not his motivation. He’s focusing on working his job as a restaurant server in order to support the expenses of making music as an unsigned indie artist.

After uploading demos to his Sound Cloud profile, Baker plans on releasing a single in late February. His first EP, comprised of four or five original songs, is set to release this summer. With a voice that has been compared to names like James Bay and Hozier, Baker has performed at numerous venues across Texas, spanning from Denton to San Marcos, just south of Austin.

“Right now, all I’ve been doing is writing, practicing, getting everything organized, and working a lot so I can afford it,” Baker said. “I’m in the process of recording a whole lot of new music that costs a whole lot of money that I don’t have, but that’s just part of it.”

Baker was able to find a recording deal through his circle of friends even though there are a lot more steps he has to go through to get signed. The Lair, a studio in Grapevine, Texas, is giving him the opportunity that he has always hoped for.

“For the EP, Sage wants to do two songs with us,” said Grant Thompson, who runs the engineering aspect of the recording process and plays drums. “He comes over here to do a lot of live-aspect recording.”

This live-aspect recording style helps Baker achieve his “grungy folk” sound.

Matthew Guzman, a friend of Baker’s whose piano playing can be heard on the EP, said a musician’s sound is something that sets them apart from all the other artists trying to make it.

“It’s hard to describe his sound, but in a good way,” Guzman said. “I think if it’s hard to describe an artist’s sound, they’re probably doing something good.”

When it comes to influences, Baker credits the lyrical candidness of rappers like J. Cole.

Instead of just writing about whatever comes to his mind, Baker’s lyrics primarily stem from his personal experiences.

“I joke about just being a guy with a guitar, but if you’re doing music for real, you need to have a voice,” Baker said. “I feel like you can still make a fun pop song while still having some kind of meaning. That’s why I like to do it.”

Baker recalls a moment after playing a gig at Andy’s Bar where an audience member came up and hugged him, having been inspired and moved by Baker’s lyrics.

“That was the happiest I’d felt in a long time. Whether I’m broke or get successful, this is what I want to work with for a very long time,” Baker said.

Last year, Baker performed numerous gigs at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival. He plans on returning this March, but with a different motive.

“I’m gonna go down during the film festival and shop my single around,” Baker said, hoping to get his song featured in a film. “Being an indie musician, you have to balance between being inspired when you’re writing, but being a businessman when you’re recording.”

A year from now, Baker hopes to find more stability by living off of his passion so he can afford more recordings and knock out his degree.

Although he knows there are thousands of others attempting to do the same thing, he keeps pushing on.

“The process of getting where you want to be is definitely hard work,” Baker said. “It’s harder than I expected it to be. But to have your works appreciated is so rewarding.”

Featured Image: Denton musician Sage Baker dedicates 5-6 hours a week in his room to work on his music in his room. Baker is currently working on a project that will be released at the end of summer. Kelsey Shoemaker

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Kayleigh Bywater

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