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Teen singer wins songwriting award
by Sarah Anne Voyles
August 01, 2012 05:15 PM | 2188 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At age 12, Johns Creek resident Sarah “Bess” Beckmann wrote her first song for a guitar class. Now at 19 years old, she won her first major award — Best Song July 2012 for Songwriter Universe Magazine.

Beckman’s song “The People and the Place” was submitted by her mom, Karen Beckmann. Soon after that the Beckmanns heard back from the magazine announcing that Beckman had won.

When writing the song, Beckman said she was in a dark place because of the end of a relationship.

She said this could be seen in the song’s original bridge, but when she began recording in Los Angeles, she decided to change it.

“I was tired of being sad and wanted this song to be more inspirational,” Beckman said. “I was in a completely different state of mind and wanted to inspire someone.”

She said she remembers singing at a young age and that her parents even have video of her singing to Britney Spears. She said it has always been something that came naturally to her.

“I took a guitar class in grade school,” Beckman said. “It was horrible; I thought that it would be some magical experience. I kept practicing for the final project of the class and was able to blow all of [the other students] away at the end of the semester with my own song.”

At age 15, she had written and recorded her first song “Little White Lie” with Tommy Byrnes, a record producer who has worked with Elton John and Billy Joel.

“It was a huge deal for me since I am such a huge fan of both singers,” Beckman said.

She said her music is eclectic with some rock and roll. She said she gains inspiration from everything and loves the music of the 1960s and ‘70s.

“[Beckman] is a rock and roll singer,” Andrew Williams, a Los Angeles-based record producer, said. “It is rare today that a young artist has such a unique voice and style.”

Williams works with Beckman in producing her songs and said he is impressed by her natural performing skills. Williams said she walks into the studio and is able to sing a song from top to bottom perfectly.

Phil Tan, a mix artist in Atlanta who has worked with Wiz Khalifa, Usher and other well-known artists, said he and Beckman work together easily to solve the puzzle for each of her songs’ arrangements.

Tan said the young singer may have a long way to go, but she is willing to put in the work to advance her career.

“She is at the stage where she has to earn her audience,” Tan said. “Good or bad she needs to get her music out there and that is what she is doing.”

Beckman’s songs “The People and the Place” and “Better Off Without You” are on iTunes. The first $500 for each song goes to one of two philanthropies — the Jessie Crumpton Fund and Pablove.

Karen Beckmann said her daughter understands the downside of fame and wants to be able to give back.

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