Erika and Sara are content to live the life of the struggling musicians for now but they want to make sure people know where they come from.
Erika Sit, 18 and Sara Campbell, 21, have become a popular musical duo at local events over the past four years and have made a mark on the Canadian music scene, touring with local indie artist Emm Gryner and even playing with Sarnia’s most famous son, Astronaut and troubadour Chris Hadfield.
The Petrolia pair both went to LCCVI but because of the age difference didn’t hang out together in school. When they met through mutual friends, Sit decided to learn to play the guitar just so she could hang out with Campbell. “After the first time (we jammed) in the basement, we wanted to play together,” says Campbell.
The pair had their first paying job at Coffee Lodge in Petrolia – a nerve-wracking event in front of family and friends. Since then they’ve played private party’s, charity events, and have become a staple of First Fridays thanks to longtime supporter Mary Anne Peloza at Cheeky Monkey.
They also spent some time on the road with Gryner during her tour of Ontario last summer, an experience the pair said boosted their confidence and forced them to release their first album, The Long Road Ahead.
Gryner asked the duo if they had an album they could sell on tour. “We said ‘No, but we can make one,’” says Campbell. “We locked ourselves in Erika’s basement because she has all the recording equipment, and we made one…I did all the music and she did all the albums.”
That album went over well on tour. “Sometimes we sold just as many albums as Emm did,” says Sit. “That was cool.”
“We sang all original songs so it was nice to see people like our music.”
And while the tour was a great confidence builder, the duo says they learned a lot from being around Gryner who is a seasoned musician. “It gave us a confidence boost playing on the same stage and getting to work with her and talking with her,” says Campbell. “Watching her taught us.”
Since the tour, Erika and Sara have seen booking double. They’ve even been contacted by a Nashville producer who offered to help them make an album.
But for now, Erika and Sara want to do their own thing. They’re itching to get out on the road again and are planning an Ontario tour of their own.
In the meantime, they’re booked for a lot of popular summer events including Ribfest and Bright’s Grove Canada Day. And they’ll be playing occasionally in their hometown at the Petrolia Farmers’ Market.
“Sarnia seemed to scoop us up was their own saying ‘those Sarnia girls’ but we always say ‘Nope we’re Petrolia girls.”