By Mike Romero
I saw Savannah Sgro for the first time at a SoFar Sounds Las Vegas performance in 2019. The performance is one I’ve thought about regularly since then. Although her records are atmospheric, slick, and well produced, that night didn’t have any of those bells and whistles. It was just Sgro, a keyboard, and her songwriting. And holy h*ck her songwriting was good.
A self-professed writer of “sad girl pop,” her approach to shows is delightfully contradictory. “I hope people at my shows leave feeling happy,” she says. “And I hope they laugh at my stupid jokes or my awkwardness.” Indeed, the stupid jokes and awkwardness, coupled with a profound yet understated vocal performance, won me over. I was thrilled when I heard she was coming through Provo this week.
Sgro has travelled a lot in her time pursuing music. Originally from Las Vegas, she attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, wrote in Nashville, and is currently based out of LA.
“The Berklee scene is CRAZY,” she says. “It taught me that no matter where you are, there are always going to be people that you think are better than you, so you really have to home in on what your voice and your sound are. That way you don’t feel like you’re competing. You just feel like you are doing your own thing.” She says Nashville was the same way, but for songwriting. “I got my booty kicked and really learned how to write songs there.”
Since the release of her debut EP Phobia in 2018, Sgro has racked up an amazing 35 million streams. I asked her how that happened. “I had a lot of luck getting onto Spotify playlists, and that really helped grow my Spotify page and land me some writing sessions and cool show opportunities,” she says. “That was definitely a start, but my first major breakthrough was during lockdown in March of 2020. One of my favorite songwriters ever, JKash, was hosting Instagram Lives and I got on one night and sang him a song very nervously, and we ended up hitting it off and he introduced me to his wife, Jaime, who then signed me to a publishing deal! I have since been writing for other pop artists and for my project.”
Writing for other pop artists while patiently growing her following, Sgro has been able to find sure footing in the realm of the working musician. Jon Bellion, Meghan Trainor, and Charlie Puth also had publishing deals and wrote for other artists for years before their “overnight successes.” Sgro is following a very similar and promising trajectory.
Friday’s performance is Sgro’s first time performing in the state. “I have a lot of family in Utah,” she says. “I actually have some friends, too, that moved there after high school! So this will be fun to see old friends and the fam.”
Savannah Sgro is performing on Friday, May 20, at Velour Live Music Gallery alongside RALLY and Michael Barrow & The Tourists. You can buy tickets here. Make sure to follow Savannah Sgro on Instagram and listen to her latest single called “I Kiss Strangers” below!