One of Performing Songwriter's 100 Most Influential Independent Artists, Sara Hickman releases her Kirtland Records debut album Shine today. The 10-song collection, which blossomed out of simple poems and visions on pieces of paper, is an adventurous effort for the official "State Musician of Texas," whose songs were brought to life with guidance from Los Angeles-based musician, producer and fellow songwriter Jim Jacobsen.

"Usually, I have a plan, an entire concept for a recording in mind, and I then write the songs to fit into that ideology," explains Hickman. "However, with Shine, I just had fun. I wanted to take risks and just go with the flow, starting with those scraps of ideas." After previously recording in Austin, Nashville and New York, Hickman also shifted her creative environment for making the album, relocating to L.A., away from family and friends to experience a different energy. She worked alone in the studio with Jacobsen, whose credits include the Eels, Parthenon Huxley, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and hundreds of TV shows and commercials. Shine was mastered by Dave McNair (Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen).

"Making music is such a weird job because who knows where it comes from?" she says. "There's nothing, then … Bam! A song exists. And if it connects with other people, that weirdness blends into blissful camaraderie. Or it pisses people off. But I guess that's what art/music is supposed to do – cause a reaction. Otherwise, you're just a feral cat, but you aren't aware of the fact." As Rolling Stone puts it, "Tuneful, clever and carefully observed, Sara Hickman's material has all the strengths expected of a contemporary Texas songwriter, plus one more - whimsy."

Within its certain spontaneity, Shine testifies to Hickman's diverse and emotional songwriting capabilities that appeal to a wide range of audiences. The title track offers a motivational message that inspires listeners, as Hickman puts it, "to come out of their shell." Meanwhile, "You Are Not Alone" is also an optimistic, compassionate song that promises hope and encouragement to anyone who may be withdrawn or feeling isolated.

Hickman doesn't just write and sing about those who face day-to-day challenges, she lives it. She is renowned for civic outreach initiatives, having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Dallas Dance for Life, House the Homeless, Bryan's House, Amnesty International, homeless shelters and Mothers' Milk Bank. She has visited Romania to deliver clothing, money and supplies to orphans, and personally raised more than $50,000 for the Hill Country Youth Ranch, a safe haven for severely abused children in Ingram, Texas. Austin has twice celebrated "Sara Hickman Day" in 1996 and 2009 to honor not only her musical accomplishments, but also her dedication and community involvement.

Hickman has been lauded by the Dallas Observer and the Austin Music Awards in categories including Best Musician, Best Producer, Best Indie Release, Best Major Label Release and Best Female Vocalist. The Maverick Report proclaimed, "Cut to the chase - Sara Hickman. Genius. Not only is she a singer-songwriter par excellence, but she possesses a self-confidence and empowerment unheard of for a creative artist in this industry."

Coinciding with the release of Shine, Hickman is pleased to have built a promising new relationship with Luna Guitars. The mission of Luna Guitars is to craft fine stringed instruments with artistic sensibility that are comfortable, affordable, and inspirational to people of all ages and walks of life. Hickman found the guitar manufacturer to be an ideal match and will be taking Luna Guitars on the road for her 2013 Shine tour.

Upcoming tour dates include several performances in her home state of Texas at locations such as the Cactus Cafe, McGonigel's Mucky Duck and Poor David's Pub. For more information, please visit

Shine Track Listing:

1. Tasty Sweet
2. Selfish Freak
3. Trouble With Boxes
4. Human Wish
5. You are Not Alone
6. Cocky Friend
7. Primitive Stuff
8. Rapture
9. Two Winters
10. Shine
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