Sarah Dash defines the word "legend." As an award-winning vocalist, songwriter, motivational speaker, educator, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, Sarah is a unique force whose voice has touched millions of listeners around the world. From co-founding Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles and making history as a member of Labelle to becoming the very first Music Ambassador (2017) of Trenton, New Jersey, Sarah has blazed a trail in every facet of her remarkable career.
Music has been a constant source of inspiration in Sarah's life ever since her childhood in Trenton. The seventh of thirteen children born to Elder Abraham Dash and Mother Elizabeth Dash, Sarah sang in the Trenton Church of Christ Choir as a young girl and entertained her classmates with renditions of standards like "With These Hands." The radio dial introduced her to everything from R&B and rock 'n' roll to country and polka, with the voices of Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, and Smokey Robinson shaping some of Sarah's earliest influences alongside albums by Mahalia Jackson, Nat "King" Cole, Andy Williams, and her brother's jazz collection.
Doo-wop groups The Capris and The Dells inspired the name of Sarah's first group, the Del-Capris, which included another Trenton-based singer, Nona Hendryx. When Sarah and Nona teamed with Patricia (Patti) Holte and Cynthia (Cindy) Birdsong of The Ordettes, a new group was born — The Bluebelles. Beginning in 1962, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles were among the most dynamic vocal groups of the 1960s, recording for major labels like Cameo-Parkway and Atlantic, touring the Chitlin' Circuit, and earning rave reviews for their appearances at the Apollo Theater where they were affectionately nicknamed "The Sweethearts of the Apollo."
Four years after Cindy Birdsong left the Bluebelles to join Diana Ross & the Supremes, Sarah, Patti, and Nona signed with Warner Bros., unveiling a new name and a new style on Labelle (1971) and Moon Shadow (1972), and recording with acclaimed singer-songwriter Laura Nyro on Gonna Take a Miracle (1971). Working with manager and former Ready Steady Go! producer Vicki Wickham, the trio began writing their own songs and geared their sound towards a progressive fusion of rock and soul. With the release of Pressure Cookin' (1973) on RCA, Labelle transformed into funk-rock goddesses outfitted in fashion-forward couture. A trio of albums on Epic Records, the gold-selling Nightbirds (1974), Phoenix (1975), and Chameleon (1976), sparked Labelle's breakthrough to mainstream success. They topped the Hot 100 with "Lady Marmalade," graced the cover of Rolling Stone, sold out theaters across the country, and made history as the first black group to perform at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.
After Labelle parted ways in 1977, Sarah embarked on a successful solo career. She acted in and wrote the theme song to Watch Your Mouth! (1978), a PBS series produced by Ellis Haizlip (Soul!) that also starred Joe Morton (Scandal). She released three albums on CBS-distributed Kirshner Records, Sarah Dash (1978), Oo-La-La (1980), and Close Enough (1981), scoring a massive disco hit with "Sinner Man," which featured Jerry Butler. Throughout the '80s and '90s, she recorded a series of club singles, including "Low Down Dirty Rhythm," plus her fourth solo effort You're All I Need (1988) on EMI-Manhattan Records. Sarah subsequently co-produced her independent gospel album The Seventh Child (2011) with Donald "Pup" Bolding. The project featured several of her own self-penned tracks, including "I'm Still Here," which has since become a show-stopper of her concerts.
In between producing her one-woman stage shows, "Dash of Diva" and "Sarah: One Woman," Sarah brought her talent to several different projects. Having worked with a variety of acts like Living Colour, Nile Rodgers, Alice Cooper, The Marshall Tucker Band, The O'Jays, Wilson Pickett and Bo Diddley over the years, she toured and recorded with Keith Richards' X-Pensive Winos and appeared on the Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels (1989) album. She reunited with Patti and Nona for the #1 club hit "Turn It Out" (1995), received the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s "Pioneer Award" in 1999, and recorded the Labelle reunion album Back to Now (2008), featuring productions by Lenny Kravitz, Wyclef Jean, and Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff. In 2017, the members of Labelle were inducted to the Philadelphia Music Alliance's Music Walk of Fame.
Beyond the stage, Sarah Dash has lent her time to several prestigious organizations. She's a member of the Grammy Board of Governors (Philadelphia chapter), serves as the Grammy New Jersey Ambassador for the Advocacy Board of the Membership Committee, and is a member of the Grammy Hall of Fame (2003), as well as the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Capital Philharmonic Orchestra. She's raised funds for homeless women with children, volunteered at soup kitchens, and given motivational speeches for churches, women empowerment organizations, and juvenile centers for at-risk children. Most recently, she joined fellow legends at the Apollo Theater for the Jazz Foundation of America’s salute to singer Merry Clayton.
Building on a legacy that traces more than 50 years of music, Sarah Dash continues to be a "a chameleon of the most musical kind" (New York Beacon) who's remained "as vital and vibrant as ever" (Philadelphia Tribune) in her performances at celebrated venues like the Laurie Beechman Theater, Feinstein's/54 Below, and Joe's Pub at the Public Theater. In addition to co-producing and hosting the Trenton Makes Music Project, her two-year term as Trenton's Music Ambassador includes advocating for the expansion of performing arts while promoting the positive impact of music on the lives of Trenton residents. Through her constant evolution as an artist, it's a role she's mastered for more than five decades, using the power of her voice to both entertain and encourage her devoted listeners. Like the greatest music legends, there is truly no limit to the inspiration Sarah Dash brings to every note she sings.