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Rising Stars: Meet Sky Athmann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sky Athmann.

Hi Sky, thanks for joining us today. Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
That story begins 14 years ago when I was living up in the Cascade Mountains. I was property-sitting for a well-known personality in the music industry. I was at a crossroads in my life, not knowing if I should continue chasing the dream of being a musician, or change my life around and go for a different career altogether. I wanted to get his opinion, so I took out my guitar and played him three of my songs, not knowing what to expect. To my surprise he said that he loved what he heard, and encouraged me to move back to Minnesota, to form a band, to go for it, and that’s how Sawyer’s Dream was born.

I knew I wanted an Americana name for the band. I had just returned from Seattle, Washington, walked into an antique store, picked up a copy of Mark Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and it fell open to the chapter about Tom’s Dream. That feeling of nature and adventure, but also a longing for family and coming back home really resonated with me, and that’s how the name “Sawyer’s Dream” originated.

It took me the next 10 years to develop the sound. I’ve always loved bands like the Mamas & the Papas, the Byrds, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Boston, all the classic vocal harmony bands from the 60s and 70s, and I wanted to go in that direction. I wanted my band to be focused on a new type of sound that would be a hybrid of Folk, Pop, Rock and Soul. Many of the songs have a lot to do with escapism, themes of love, life, dreams, the natural, and the supernatural.

Fast forward to now, Sawyer’s Dream has become one of the top booked original bands in the Twin Cities, performing over 100 shows a year on stages large and small. We’ve played sold-out shows, performed at the TCF Bank Stadium for 52,000 soccer fans, and been featured on the cover of “The Entertainment Guide MN Magazine”. Our full-length self-produced album “Another Perfect Afternoon” has received extensive national radio airplay, charted on 2 stations, was streamed across the world, and was licensed for sync on 10 major networks since its release. Earlier this year, we were thrilled to have signed with our new label ProtoStar Records, a division of Red Giant Rights Group, LLC, and we’re very excited to start our 2022 Folk Rock Revival Regional Tour this summer.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I look at it like a double-edged sword. Yes, there have been setbacks and struggles, but with the struggles comes growth. It’s helped me develop a thicker skin, which you need to survive in this very competitive industry.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
We’d love to learn more about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?

I’m an idealist, a dreamer, a visionary, a believer. Some days I’m a luthier building custom light-up guitars for our shows; other days I’m a producer arranging harmony vocals, teaching guitar parts, bass lines and drum beats. I’m an inventor, a Renaissance man, a songsmith. I’m something different every day. My soul is fueled by nature and creativity.

Above all, I live for music. More than anything in the world, I love playing live and performing for people, but my passion lies in arranging a unique well-crafted 4-part harmony vocal sound. I love the thrill of taking a song from point A to Z, meaning I love the challenge of taking a raw idea of a song, getting my band together, bringing the best out of them as a producer to create a true piece of art, and bringing that onto the stage.

I also really enjoy teaching. I’ve always been a strong supporter and advocate of original music, and I love helping other original artists reach their goals by educating, mentoring, guiding them, and by offering them opportunities to play live.

I’m a very driven person and a prolific songwriter. Having people respect me as an original artist, that’s what I’m really proud of, and to have the opportunity to share my art with the world. Success happens when you least expect it, and not how you ever imagine it. I’ve always stuck to my guns, I’ve always believed in myself, even when no one else did, and most importantly I never wanted to live with regret. I still hold tight to my dreams.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
There have been angels along the way to guide our path, and I am very grateful to everyone who has gotten us to where we are today. I want to thank our sponsor and manager Dave Flom and his wife Bonnie for sticking by our side through thick and thin for over 10 years. I’d also like to thank Brian Lindquist for providing us with a great rehearsal space, which has become our second home.

I’m grateful for the extreme support of husbands, wives and significant others who have come on board the Sawyer’s Dream team to help make everything go a little smoother. We have people at the ProtoStar Records label helping us out, as well as other people in the music industry, including my good friend Ken Onstad. I want to thank all the past employees of the Sawyer’s Dream franchise who have helped us along the way, and all of the fans who have stuck through the different member changes throughout the years.

And of course, I am grateful for my amazing, talented and loyal bandmates: Aaron, Emily, Jodie, Kelly, Jeff, Jon and Krishan, who took an unbelievable risk and sacrifice to be in this band. Without them, none of this would be possible. It’s so flattering and humbling to me as an original artist and as a songwriter to have people come to your side and stick by you.

The older I get, the more magical music is to me. Having faced a near-death experience one time in my life, I’ve learned to never take anything for granted. Every moment has been so special and amazing, I wanted to capture it in a song, so that beyond my life people could experience those moments and feel the love that I had for this life.

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Image Credits
Shutter Glee Photography

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