Potenza to perform at Rhythm and Roots Festival


    Sarah Potenza, who starred on the last season of NBC’s “The Voice,” will be performing at the 18th Annual Rhythm and Roots Festival at Charlestown’s Ninigret Park on Labor Day Weekend. (Photo by Stacie Huckeba)

    Sarah Potenza, who starred on the last season of NBC's "The Voice," is coming back to Rhode Island.

    On Labor Day Weekend, she will be performing at the 18th Annual Rhythm and Roots Festival at Charlestown's Ninigret Park.{}

    "Rhythm and Roots is family," Potenza told NBC 10 News. "The festival's owner, Chuck Wentworth, believed in me, supported me, and has been a father figure to me since 2011. I just feel so grateful for his support and the support of the loyal fans that Rhythm and Roots attracts."

    This will be her fourth time gigging at the festival. She is bringing her five piece band from Nashville with her this year.

    "I have hired a fifth guy so that I can step out from behind the guitar on some songs and really sing my heart out," said Potenza. "And my friend guitar phenom, Jim Oblon, is coming up to perform at the festival, as well. We are doing a set of old blues tunes together on Saturday, as well as our own sets."But fans should also expect to see more of her rock and roll side during the event.

    "I rocked out on 'The Voice,' and now I feel like I want to keep rocking," she said.

    Not only is she excited to perform, she's also looking forward to visiting the Ocean State. Born and raised in Smithfield, Potenza moved to Nashville with her husband, Ian, a few years ago to pursue her music career.

    "Rhode Island is such a special place," she said. "There is nowhere on earth like it. I cannot wait to come home and see my favorite Big Blue Bug on the side of (Interstate) 95 and perform at Rhythm and Roots. It's the highlight of my year. And that says a lot, considering what happened to me this past winter on The Voice."

    Potenza's audition on the hit reality television show earned her a four chair turn from celebrity judges. Out of 50,000 contestants, she made the top 20.

    Since her stint on the show, Potenza has been performing throughout the country. After 10 years in the music business, she said, she "finally" hired a manager and booking agent.

    "It was a game changer for me," Potenza said of "The Voice," adding that the experience taught her the importance of performing with more dynamics, how to "dress like a rock star," ways to handle pressure, and how to embrace her identity. "People connect with you when you own yourself. Most importantly, I learned to never give up - dreams come true."

    She also recently started a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of recording an upcoming album. To her delight, it worked.

    "My amazing and generous fans helped me raise $42,000," said Potenza. "I had an album written before the show (and) I have some more songs inside me that are coming out. I have been working every day to write them."

    Potenza plans to record the album in Nashville this October with producer Joe McMahan. She said the album will highlight more of her rock style.

    "I am really feeling dirty, soulful, rock, blues sounds, like The Faces meets vintage Bonnie Raitt," she said. "I was stressing out about it the other day and my friend Elizabeth Cook, (a) notable musician and Sirus radio DJ, told me that 'albums are like babies. You can get a sonogram, but until it comes out, you won't really know what it looks like.' So, I am trying to just trust the producer because I love his work and don't want to get in his way."

    In the meantime, Potenza is daydreaming about eating some of her favorite Rhode Island delicacies. She hopes her fans understand that while her declaration of love for the state was cut from the show, she adores everything Lil' Rhody has to offer.

    "I am just a Narragansett Beer drinking, Caserta Pizza eating, midnight New York System gaggers craving, Del's Lemonade sipping, Awful Awful swilling, 401 loving gal," said Potenza.{}

    The Rhythm and Roots Festival is set for Sept. 4-6. Potenza will perform on Sept. 4 at 10:45 p.m. She'll also take the stage at 4 p.m. on Sept. 5, and at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 6.

    Learn more here.

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