Sarena is my sister, or as her niece likes to point out, my ‘blood sister’. She is a little white girl and she sings the blues like she is a big black girl. I have been listening to Sarena sing for around 28 years now. It started out with country tunes such as Ricky Skaggs‘ Honey Open That Door and Alabama’s If You’re Gonna Play In Texas and graduated to 80’s favorites such as Mr. Roboto and the select Michael Jackson or Cyndi Lauper song. The material took a turn for the ‘dirty’ as the teenage years set in and it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear words best not repeated here coming out of her mouth…lyrics put to paper and beat by the likes of Too $hort, DJ Quik and Eminem. As the years and naive youth fell by the wayside so did the hip-hop. By the turn of the century the songs involving your mother were more likely to come from Natalie Merchant than Nate Dogg.
In her adult years Sarena has found her groove in the most unlikely of genres…old school blues. She can belt this stuff out with the best of them and although at first it might be the shock value of that huge sound that grabs your attention, once you get past that shock you realize there is something honest and mature going on here…something much more than skin deep. When she sings Mark Curry, Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin or even blues masters that were long dead when she was born in 1980, you can’t help but believe she lived through it.
Sarena has performed in coffee shops in North County San Diego, bars in Pacific Beach, late night hotel rooms in Tahoe, basements in Colorado and backyards across the West Coast…mostly around 3am to highly intoxicated people. But on Thursday, May 26th she will take her voice to Dallas to try out for Simon Cowell‘s new singing competition. She will go to Texas and find out if the producers hear and see what her friends and family have been hearing and seeing…she will go to Texas to see if she has The X Factor.