Pittsburgh native Sarah Marince is a rising star in the country music industry thanks to her hit single “In The Mean Time”, which debuted at No. 59 on the Country Billboard chart after Blair Garner played it on his nationally syndicated radio show a few weeks back, and the Penguins have played a key role in the process.
In addition to continuing to further her talents in Nashville, Marince, 20, has served as a part-time national anthem singer for the Penguins since the National Hockey League returned from the lockout.
It was after one of her anthem performances in 2008 when Marince, who graduated from the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland, Pa., received what turned out to be her big break.
“After I sang I went up to the Eat n’ Park box and I met a friend of Blair’s, who I gave a CD to,” said Marince, who also sings the ‘Place for Smiles’ jingle for Eat n’ Park. “She said she would pass it along to him. Then I met him out in Los Angeles a couple months later. I kept up with him through email and would send him different songs and things.”
Earlier this year Marince re-connected with Garner at a Victoria Shaw benefit concert in Nashville, where Garner took the time to hook Marince up with Shaw, who is a big-time producer that has worked with the likes of Garth Brooks and Lady Antebellum.
Marince and Shaw quickly went to work together, and one of the first songs Marince demoed was “In The Mean Time.”
“Victoria is the one who pitched me the song and I fell in love with it right away,” Marince said. “I think one of the reasons I connected with the song was that I went through those lean times. I always turned to music when I was younger and going through those hard times, so I wanted there to be a song out there with a strong message telling people to live, laugh, love and keep a smile on their face.”
Shaw sent the song to Garner, and he instantly loved it as well. Garner played it several times on his show, giving Marince the break she needed despite not being signed by a record label.
“In The Mean Time” also sits at No. 40 on the national country chart, and the success of the song has sent Marince on a whirlwind tour the past few weeks. However, even with her newfound fame, Marince hasn’t forgotten where this whole experience began.
“If I hadn’t sang at that Penguins’ game and gone up to the box, these connections I made in Nashville wouldn’t have happened,” said Marince, who always makes sure to bring up the Penguins, Steelers and Pirates when people she meets around the country start talking sports.
“She holds the Penguins very near and dear to her heart because they have always been very loyal to her,” said Marince’s mother, Mary Kay. “She is very excited that this entire project started at a Penguins game.”
The Penguins were equally thrilled to watch Marince’s success from afar, and to show its appreciation the team sent her a bouquet of flowers, which made her day.
“I really appreciated the flowers the Penguins sent me,” Marince beamed. “They were very beautiful. I want to thank the team very much.”
Marince, whose previous singles “Touch” and “Just Feel Right” have been heard on the local airwaves for a couple years, began her career singing the national anthem at local sporting events in Moon Township at age 12.
That success led to her singing the anthem at Penguins games, helping to elevate her career locally. As Marince received more recognition around Pittsburgh for her talents, she began opening for larger acts such as Kellie Pickler, Taylor Swift and Sara Evans – three country-music sensations she’s looking to join.
Marince believes she owes a ton of her success to the great Pittsburgh fans.
|Sarah Marince sings the national anthem at a Penguins game during the 2009-10 season. |
“I love being able to trace my roots of this story back to Pittsburgh,” Marince said. “The Pittsburgh fans and my family are the ones who have been behind me since Day 1. I cannot thank them enough. Pittsburgh is a very loyal and tight-knit town that really gets behind you. I feel blessed to have the city of Pittsburgh behind me.”
Marince, who plans to soon release her second single with Shaw, hopes to follow in the footsteps of another Pittsburgh native who became a superstar after first singing the anthem at Penguins games – Christina Aguilera.
“Sarah has always been a fan of Christina,” Mary Kay Marince said. “When she was growing up she watched what Christina did to make it big. She would love to follow in Christina’s footsteps of singing at Penguins games to taking off nationally.”
When Marince’s career does undoubtedly take off, she still plans to leave a few dates open on her schedule to come back and sing at CONSOL Energy Center.
“I always wait every year to get that email from (Penguins game night producer) Billy Wareham to see if I have some dates to sing for the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Marince said. “I love coming back and singing for the Penguins. I sing in many different arenas, but it seems like home when I sing in front of Penguins fans.”
Spoken like a true Pittsburgh sports fan! To read more about Sarah Marince, visit her official website at www.sarahmarince.com to read the latest news, see a complete listing of upcoming shows and listen to Sarah’s music.