Sara began singing before she could talk, and has worked professionally since the ripe old age of three. Voicing commercials, as both a voiceover actress and singer for advertisers including McDonalds, AT&T, Staples, A&W, De Dutch Panekoek House, Big Sky Resort, and Richmond Auto Mall among others, Sara grew up as comfortable in the studio as on her living room couch.
Growing up in the family she did, Sara really had no hope of a career that did not involve the arts. (Happily, that’s just fine with her.) It started several generations back. Sara’s grandmother was a singer and dancer, and her grandfather, a saxophone player, in Vaudeville. Both of her parents, Miles Ramsay and Corlynn Hanney, were professional musicians of reasonable acclaim, and her brother is actually a bonafide Canadian rock star. Like, with legions of fangirls and everything. (There’s more info on her family’s history below.)
Sara and her brother, Josh Ramsay, grew up making music together. Sara was in her teens before she realized that most families did not sit around the piano in the evening, singing in 4-part harmony (a common occurrence in the Ramsay household.) Sara and her eventual husband, Trevor, began playing in restaurants and coffee houses with their duo, The Ropers. Josh would occasionally come and join them, until the duo became a trio. Josh formed a band for a gig opening the Youth Film Festival that Sara was running, and asked Trevor to play bass for him. The trio they put together was the first stirrings of Ramsay Fiction. Josh later asked Sara to join the band on keyboards and backup vocals, and she played her first gig with Ramsay Fiction 8 months pregnant with her first daughter.
Sara began working in the studio at the age of three, and playing live on the bar circuit at the age of 18 in various bands and duos. Not only does Sara sing, but she also plays bass, guitar, keyboard/piano, percussion, flute, violin, kazoo…and she can twerk like nobody’s business. She grew up singing in the amazing Bach Children’s Choir and Youth Choir organization, singing in the Children’s Chorus, the Youth Performance Choir, and eventually Sarabande, as well as the adult Bach Choir. Sara also sang with the Elektra Women’s Choir and the stunning Capilano University vocal jazz group, Nitecap. Sara cannot begin to express the depth of learning that she gleaned from her years of choral and ensemble singing.
Sara is a strong songwriter and is currently working on a full original album, “Bend Until I Break.” Some of her previous recordings can be found here. Sara has sung with many other artists over the years, both live and on a number of albums projects, noteably Paul Rodgers (Bad Company, Queen), Jane Mortifee, Dee Daniels, Fred Stride Big Band, Louise Rose, Bill Henderson, Anami Vice, Tania Hancheroff, Saffron Henderson, Catherine St. Germain, Linda Kidder, David Wills, Marcus Mosely, and many others. Currently, she enjoys working with her 6-piece party band, THE TICKET.
Growing up, her mum, Corlynn Hanney was a well-known and expert voice teacher, and Sara picked up a few things. She even took formal lessons from dear old mum. Then, just to make sure the bases were covered, she studied with a few other phenomenal teachers over the years as well, including Arlene MacIntyre, Shannon Gunn, Joani Taylor, Sandra Head, Nikolai Kolesnikov, and Jennifer Scott. Sara began teaching in her 20′s, and has recently expanded the in-person teaching she does by opening an online music school, The Studio School of the Arts. Sara draws heavily on her own training in her teaching. She also instinctively is able to pinpoint the technical issues holding a singer back, and address those specifically, with good humour and grace.
Sara teaches very technically. Personable and warm, students find her easy to talk to and relate with. And when it comes to the music, Sara is all about good technique. It starts with breath work, and continues from there. Vowel and sound placement, muscle use/relaxation, and performance connection are all elements that get revisited regularly in Sara’s teaching. Some of the exercises used to free up the voice may seem kind of silly at the time…but she’ll never ask you to do anything she won’t do too. So if she’s asking you to do something that feels ridiculous, like lie on the floor, hang upside down, impersonate Gene Simmons, or sing it like a cat, feel free to throw it back at her and say, “You first!”
And yes, all of those things – and more – will happen. Guaranteed. So will lots of laughter….and progress on your voice.
(Because Know You Wanna Know. Heard You Say So.)
Sara’s mother, Corlynn Hanney, completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Music from UBC, and almost immediately began working as a background and session singer, singing on hundreds (possibly thousands – she lost count around 1985) of jingles, a number of TV shows, and is perhaps best known for voicing the “You Got It Pontiac” catchphrase. Throughout her career, she sang with an impressive roster of artists, including Nancy Sinatra, Tom Jones, The Muppets, The Fifth Dimension, and many others, and spent two years touring with Leonard Cohen, including his stint at the Isle of Whyte Concert (look for the hottie in a pink shawl singing BG’s on the left of the screen in the Leonard Cohen video below – that’s mama!), and is still heard today singing on his Songs of Love and Hate album. She spent several decades as every Canadian record producer’s go-to expert voice teacher, and she taught many high profile rock and rollers over the years, including Brian Johnson (AC/DC), Paul Dean (Loverboy), among others. She sang in the internationally acclaimed Phoenix Chamber Choir for 22 years, and her original Christmas songs are still performed by hundreds of choirs. In 2004, Corlynn released Shine, a beautiful, spiritually-inspired album of original songs.
Sara’s brother, Josh Ramsay, did eventually graduate from coffee houses and go on to later form Marianas Trench. He has released three records with Marianas Trench, two of which (Masterpiece Theatre and Ever After) have gone multi-gold-platinum-pretty-sure-they’re-titanium-or-maybe-plutonium-now. As well, he’s worked as a singer, writer and producer with a steady stream of other artists, including Carly-Rae Jepsen, Danny Fernandes, Emily Osment, Jessica Lee, Anami Vice, Suzie MacNeil, By Starlight…the roster is very long and continues to get longer. Sara has sung on every one of Josh’s records, as have their parents. Marianas Trench won a 2013 Juno Award for Group of the Year, and Josh had a nomination for a 2013 Grammy Award for Song of the Year for co-writing Call Me Maybe with Carly Rae Jepsen and Tavish Crowe. Needless to say, Sara is unspeakably proud of her brother and all of his accomplishments. He is, in her eyes, a musical genius.
Sara’s father, Miles Ramsay, began working as a professional singer and drummer at the age of 16, and his credits include being the youngest member ever of the Roger Wagner Chorale in LA, having his own national series, The Miles Ramsay Show, in the 60’s on CBC Radio and TV (big band jazz), co-writing the theme for the Calgary Olympics, writing the Great Root Bear theme for A&W, having his arrangements performed by choirs throughout Canada, and being a member for 13 years of the internationally acclaimed Phoenix Chamber Choir. He was a partner in the visionary advertising production company, Griffiths, Gibson & Ramsay until he retired in 2002, and for almost 20 years, was BC’s beloved Chevron spokesman, “the Chevron Man”. In 2010, Miles was inducted as a Pioneer into the BC Hall of Fame.
Sara’s oldest daughter, Talia Jade, is becoming quite an artist in her own right. She is a dancer, choreographer, photographer, short film maker, and avid traveler.
She has danced for 14 years, and currently competes at high levels in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Stage, and Hip Hop. Additionally, she has training in Pointe, Tap, and Musical Theatre. She has a real love for choreographing, particularly in the Contemporary genre. In 2015, she choreographed a piece for 6 dancers, which she filmed and edited into a short dance film called Digital Lion.
Talia has a knack for Instagram videos and micro-shorts, as well as beautiful photography, all of which are highlighted on her Instagram account. You can see more of her work by clicking the WATCH button!