She competed in The Voice Germany and studies music at one of the top universities in Germany. Sarah Ego's ability to sing in many languages is set to make her a global voice worth listening.
Name: Sarah Ego
Hometown: Augsburg, Germany
Does your last name “Ego” mean something? A family member once told me that I have a distant ancestor whose name was Eliyo, which comes from the prophet Elia and he was called "Ego" as a nickname. That is how my family name was established, through Eliyo.
Have you always been singing? I’ve always loved singing, dancing and listening to music since I was a little girl, but I always sang only to myself. I got in touch with music and professionally joined the music scene when I first started playing the violin at the age of seven and later performed in various orchestras. I played violin for the next seven years, but I always knew my passion was in singing and not only playing instruments. That’s why at the age of 14 I started opera lessons with a vocal coach, and that’s how it all began.
How did you know you wanted to be a singer? Whenever I felt down or sad, singing was my coping mechanism as it brought me joy and happiness. Playing violin and singing was the way to express my emotions. Also, whenever I watched music videos on television and performances [by] famous artists I dreamt that I could one day be like them. I dreamt that I would be able to get on stage and express my emotions through singing.
You sing in many languages including Assyrian, Arabic, and English. What languages are you fluent in? I speak German, English and Assyrian, but something not many people know about me [is that] I also learned Latin [at] school. I do not know how to speak Arabic, but I do sing Arabic songs because I enjoy it and it helps me understand Assyrian music and the different [melodies] that we see in Eastern music (such as in Assyrian, Arabic, Turkish) and not in Western music. Having said that, I feel that the only language that I can say I am fluent in is German, as I was raised with that language.
Where is your family from? My family originated from Mardin, Turkey and my parents were born in Mardin’s suburb of Enhil. However, my parents left Turkey before I was born and that is why I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany.
You competed on The Voice Germany. How was that experience? Participating in such a show was one of the most precious moments of my life. The experience was amazing and I cannot be more thankful for the opportunity. The show provided me [with] musicians, videographers, professional singers and vocal coaches. [My] most important experience, however, was seeing people all around me that have the same passions as I do and who support one another. I gained a deeper understanding of the music industry and what occurs [at] major shows. Overall, the experience helped strengthen the importance of music in my life and helped me learn more about myself and what I really want to pursue.
Are you working on any new music? Can we expect an album soon? I am currently studying the pop genre at a school called Institut für Musik der Hochschule Osnabrück, which is a top music institution in Germany. I am also currently collaborating with some musicians from the university. We work on music independently from the school. We do not have a set publishing date yet, but I do hope that I can release an album soon so that I may express my thoughts and feelings through the art of music.
Do you have any performances planned? If so, where? I have performed in the past at a concert called "Music for the One God" in Istanbul, Turkey and also at weddings and parties throughout Germany and Canada (for ACSSU). I do not have any big performances planned in the near future. The main reason for this is that I need to dedicate most of my time studying, and only after can I commit to performing publicly.
Describe your music in three words: Emotional, deep and expressive. Also constructive. I know that’s four words, #sorrynotsorry.
Which artist would you compare your voice to? That is a very good and heavy question! I think every singer has a very unique voice and it would be very difficult for me to compare myself to one specific singer.
What is your biggest fear? Spiders! That is not a joke, you can ask my family! Besides that, I don’t really have any big fears. My philosophy is that we have only one life and sometimes we should risk it all for something we believe in. I feel that we should risk it all to be satisfied in life and also [to] be able to make others happy around us. That’s how the world will become a better place and that’s the main driving force in my life. Basically, we should not be fearful of anything, except for spiders.
What are you looking forward to? The main thing I’m looking forward to is releasing my first album.
How do you feel about the situation concerning Assyrians affected by ISIS in Iraq and Syria? It breaks my heart to see my people going through such agony in Beth Nahrain. Everyday we hear sad news of the desperate situation Assyrians and other people are going through. What saddens me even more is the lack of support provided to the victims! I am literally at a loss for words at the situation. And at the fact that some people can be so cruel toward innocent people just because a self-appointed leader told them to be. I think these people need love in their lives, otherwise crimes we are witnessing will never stop. I wish that this current crisis comes to an end and for the world as a whole to become a better place where all people respect and love one another.
What’s your favorite Assyrian word? I think the Assyrian language as a whole is a beautiful language and has many beautiful words. That makes it difficult for me to focus on just one word. If I have to choose, it would be Mraurebqolo (microphone). That is the only word that I remember and has stuck with me after hearing it just once. It’s a very cool word.
Any final thoughts? I am extremely happy and thankful that I have been given this opportunity to freely do what I love doing. I wish everyone could have the same opportunity while being supported by their family and friends as I am. Finally, I want to say that one of my biggest wishes is to hold a giant concert where Assyrians from all over the world are able to meet and celebrate our culture, history and music with each other. It would be nice to see how music can connect us all together, to see how people from all over the world, from different families, tribes, churches and countries can come together. I hope that I will achieve this ambitious goal one day.
Portions of this interview have been edited.