By TERRI LEE FATOUROS
I caught up with the gorgeous and talented Sarah Frances Johnston at Beach 162 recently and over coffee we chatted about her amazing journey to stardom in the U.S.A and in her hometown of New Zealand.
Johnston has been in the public eye since she was 11, starring in the New Zealand soapy called Shortland Street which would probably be equivalent to Australia’s Home and Away. She also starred in a European TV series called Tomorrow’s Another Day, and modelled for Coca Cola, Digicel and Toyota as well as appearing in local and international commercials.
However, singing was her passion so from the age of 17 Johnston dropped acting and has focused on her love for it ever since.
In the past, audience members have included a former Australian Deputy Prime Minister, the Head of State on the island of Samoa (The Hon. Tupua Tamasese) and various other dignitaries.
However, her stunning good looks, sensual, sultry moves, and silky vocals have caught the attention of many prominent people within the music industry. To the extent that after relocating to the US in 2009, Johnston was given the first ever permanent residency at the prestigious Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas, a feat no other artist has so far achieved.
Celebrity chef Alex Stratta, the band Cheap Trick and Oscar Goodman, former mayor of Las Vegas have been privy to her talent as well as Carlos Santana, who came especially to see her perform and afterwards shared words of wisdom with her.
Says Johnston: “He asked if he could sit down and chat with me and I said, ‘of course, of course’ and he said ‘you have a gift from God. Mine is in Guitar playing, your gift is in singing’.
“He then asked, ‘what do you do every morning when you wake up, what’s your goal?’. At that time I said I don’t know because I didn’t take my music that seriously back then. But he said to me, ‘when you perform it should be to harpoon the hearts of your customers’.
“He continuing sitting and chatting to me for about 30 minutes and spoke about the music industry, what to look out for, what to do, and that he really enjoyed my performance and said he will be looking out for me in the future and wished me very well. It was a great experience to meet him as he was a humble and genuine man.”
Johnston performed at the 5 stars Eiffel Tower Restaurant in The Paris Casino for four years, along with numerous other casinos in Las Vegas. Her genre is ‘lounge music’ with a cabaret feel to it. She enjoys performing as she sings and dances around while having fun with the crowd.
“It’s a mix of 80s and 90s jazz covers and a bit of country too. I recorded a jazz acoustic standard covers CD a couple years ago and that is available through my website.”
It’s not surprising that Carlos Santana was impressed with Johnston’s talent as not only has she gained a reputation of performing for exclusive audiences at Five Diamond venues in California and Las Vegas, The Pebble Beach Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and more, she was voted as Las Vegas Best Lounge Singer 2012 by the Las Vegas Sun.
Keep an eye out Sarah Frances Johnston, as she will be back at Beach 162 in Frankston very soon.
For more information on Sarah see sarahfrancesjohnston.com