In 2012, people fell in love with TV drama Nashville, about country singers in America's country capital.
Well, Sarah Darling's story is a real-life Nashville plotline. In 2003, Sarah made her name known when she became a top-three finalist on E! Entertainment's The Entertainer, hosted by Wayne Newton.
Sarah came just short of winning, however, because Newton did not see her as a good fit for the Las Vegas crowd. He advised her to go to Nashville, Tennessee, to focus on her country music.
By 2009, her debut Jack of Hearts had made Country Music Television's top 20 countdown.
Her second album, Angels & Devils, was released in 2011.
In late 2012, her single Home to Me sold over 8000 copies in the first week of release and became the top-selling single from a new female artist since May 2011. It landed on US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
With a bright, clear voice, flowing blonde waves, and a collection of statement earrings, Sarah is the embodiment of country.
Only one thing sets her apart.
In 2009, as part of her debut album Every Monday Morning, Sarah released Knowing What I Know About Heaven, the chorus of which goes:
Knowing what I know about heaven
Believing that you're all the way home
Knowing that you're somewhere better
Is all I need to let you go
She wrote that song, Sarah explains to The Christian Post, about her grandfather.
"When I was six, my grandpa went in for heart surgery," the singer says.
"He died and they revived him and they said he had a year to live."
Her grandfather was still alive when she wrote the song, and still alive in 2013 when she told the story, 26 years after his attack. Sarah says she wanted to write a song that painted a picture.
me in the
right place”"Why on earth would we want someone back here when they're going to heaven? [Heaven] is our home — our real home.
"It's a song that really helps people deal with death, which is a very difficult thing," she adds. "Doctors can tell you, 'You've got a year to live', but it's really up to God. He knows the day and the hour when you are meant to leave this earth."
Sarah has always been very open about her Christian faith and regularly credits God for the strength and perseverance it took her to make it in the industry.
"You can easily get lost in the music business if you don't have God as your center, Christ as your center," she says.
"Faith has always been the center of what I do. Singing, life, everything— it gets me through and keeps me grounded.
"God gave me this gift and I want to use it in the right ways, but I can't let my head get too big. That would be my biggest struggle."
Once again, Sarah's grandfather comes into her story, because he is "a big part of [her] faith."
"I wouldn't call him a preacher," she says, "but he is probably the wisest person I've known on this planet. He loves the Lord and I ended up having an amazing childhood of having God centered in my life.
"I think that if I did not have my faith in Christ," she adds, "I could not do this career or have the patience or perseverance to go on with it. Faith keeps me in the right place and everything in perspective."
Sarah recognizes the gift God has given her and she praises him with it. As she sings in All You've Got, "You don't know God is all you need until God is all you've got." •