Indie-pop band The Greeting Committee has gone from performing at local venues in Kansas City suburbs to embarking on a national tour in just four years—and all before frontwoman Addie Sartino turned 21. Sartino’s success is undoubtedly due to her passion for music, ambitiously brave attitude, and the down-to-earth wisdom that informs her ability to breathe honesty and vulnerability into her music.
The Greeting Committee’s latest album, This Is It, is a defiant and energetic coming-of-age narrative that speaks to those struggling to grow up and branch out. The band’s music reflects many aspects of young adulthood; and as someone who has beaten obstacles and accomplished her dreams at such a young age, Sartino and her music are full of gumption and ripe encouragement. But, as the song “Elise” demonstrates, Sartino’s capacity for sensitivity and childlike wonder also make for quieter, painfully authentic declarations of love. We talked to her about songwriting, role models, advice for other young musicians, and more.
What was your favorite song to write?
I really enjoyed how quickly the lyrics for “Don’t Go” came to me, and how much they meant to me. “Pull It Together” was also a fulfilling writing experience, lyrically. I remember driving around in my car when the vocal melody and the first line hit me.
How did growing up in the Midwest influence your music?
I believe that without Kansas City we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s nice to be able to turn the noise off.
Your song “Elise” is remarkably vulnerable and intimate. What does it feel like to perform it?
My love for Elise makes me want to scream from the rooftops of every city. I love how in love I am with her, so it felt very natural to expose that to the world. I think to others it may seem dangerous, but to me it felt right.
Is there a message in your music that you hope to pass on?
Use your voice. Speak your truth. Life is short, so be honest. Be confident in your emotions—the good and the bad.
What shows are your favorite to play?
My favorite kind of show to play is the one where I don’t have to demand much of the audience—where they know to dance, to clap, to jump, to sing, to yell. Those shows are the ones where we all create something together.
Coming of age is a central theme on This is It. What do you think it is about the experience of growing up that lends itself to creativity?
Everyone has a coming-of-age story, something (or many things) that shaped who they are today. So much of the adult you become is based on the child you were. That pressure is unlike any other. There are so many ups and downs and life lessons to pull from, which makes it a timeless theme.
What do you do when you’re not working as the frontwoman of The Greeting Committee?
I think I’m quite boring outside of that part of my life. I enjoy spending time with people I love. I enjoy going out to eat at places with good atmospheres. I sleep in. I watch a lot of movies and TV shows. I am trying to read more. I spend most of my time thinking about the future—I’d like to get better at enjoying the present.
Do you have any role models that you look to for motivation?
In the LGBTQ world, Shannon Beveridge played a huge role for me growing up. In the creative world, Ben Gibbard, Brandon Flowers, Britney Spears, and others influenced me. In my life, Randy Schott, my vocal coach, has been an amazing mentor to me, as well as my parents. I also enjoy looking to those who are younger than me. Children are so fearless and inspiring.
What advice do you have for other creators?
Work hard. Practice hard. Don’t say things like “I’m not ready.” Because you’ll never be ready. No one ever is. Listen to others. Don’t close doors. My dad always says, “You want as many options and opportunities as you can have, even if you think you’ll never use them.”
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