Voices of Metal: Sarah Teets of MindMaze
Hailing from Whitehall, Pennsylvania, Sarah Teets is the voice behind American power metal outfit, MindMaze. An accomplished singer with numerous albums and guest appearances under her belt, Sarah’s story started off a little different than you might think.
“When I was really, really young…probably like five or six, I started singing to amuse myself. I was really into Disney movies, which a lot of kids my age were. I remember Pocahontas came out and I really wanted to sing along to that,” recalls Teets, whose early singing voice had attracted a fair share of glee from her family. “That was kind of how it started singing, but I was really embarrassed about it.”
Finding a passion for singing early on, it was her involvement in the elementary school band, as a flutist, that got Sarah truly interested in music. But it was around 12 years of age that she made a life changing discovery – heavy metal.
Growing up more with country music, which she feels helped grow her passion for singing and develop her voice, Sarah discovered heavy metal when a childhood friend brought out some albums by Rush, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, and Judas Priest. From that point on, she had lifelong attraction to heavy music.
At the age of 15, Sarah and her brother, Jeff, formed their first band. For the next six years, Necromance, as the band would be named, developed its signature power metal style with Sarah at the helm. Releasing two demos that she’s highly embarrassed of today, though still handing out if asked, the band took a brief hiatus in 2009 and regrouped in 2010. Two years later, the band would change its name to MindMaze and has been rocking every since.
During the formative years of Necromance, Sarah moved to Florida and briefly sang with Alexandria, appearing on their ‘Frailty’ demo. Despite this, Necromance/MindMaze has always been her main project. In fact, she has never gone beyond doing guest vocals.
As a vocalist, Sarah has a powerful voice perfect for power metal. Described by one fan as a female James Lebrie (Dream Theater), she has a clear singing voice and is known for her soaring highs. Mostly self-taught, Sarah learned some of her techniques while performing in a top tier high school singing group. Of course, she’s only built upon what she learned in school by listening to music, especially her main influences.
“My biggest influence as a metal singer is Russell Allen of Symphony X. He’s been like the overall my favorite and really is someone who really influenced me. Bruce Dickinson is a big one too. That’s more of a subconscious influence. I’ve always been into Maiden,” says Teets before elaborating that her other major influences include Steve Walsh (Kansas). Glen Hughs, and Urban Breed (Serious Black).
“I’m kind of more influenced guys that a more hard rock and bluesy singers in a metal band.”
Since reforming Necromance and eventually changing the band’s name to MindMaze, Sarah has appeared on both of the band’s albums: 2013’s ‘Mask of Lies’ and ‘Back from the Edge,’ but also as a guest vocalist on ‘Try and Stop Me’ by Tony Gabriele’s Orbynot, and Sinister Realm’s ‘The Crystal Eye.’
Despite her commanding voice and a decade of performing with essentially the same lineup, Sarah admits that her nerves sometimes get the best of her. Strangely enough, she’s most nervous when in the studio due to knowing that once it’s recorded, it’s pretty much history. Regardless, Sarah has never backed down from recording an album. Her most recent release was MindMaze’s 2015 extended play ‘Dreamwalker.’
Currently in the studio, Sarah and MindMaze are working hard on the next full length album. She promises that this upcoming album will be a concept album and a bit different from what fans might be used to. What that means is anyone’s guess at this point, but if one thing is for sure, it’s that MindMaze doesn’t disappoint.
The new MindMaze album is due out in early 2017. In the time between then and now, the band will only be playing a couple of select shows. The reason for this is to focus more on the album and put out the very best album yet. Considering what’s available right now, MindMaze has a tall order but we’re confident that our minds will be blown.
For more information on MindMaze check out our in depth feature and don’t forget to check out the song below.