Not long ago, we spoke to freeform DJ Sarah Battle about her turbulent year. In March 2017 she suffered a nearly fatal car accident when her vehicle careened over the edge of an overpass on State Highway 114 in Southlake and plummeted 30 feet to the street below. Battle recovered from numerous injuries and went back to work, booking regular gigs through the summer. But by August, she was in custody for a looming drug-related charge and would remain a prisoner of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, in various facilities, for the subsequent 12 months.
Battle was released in August 2018, and began playing sporadic one-off gigs. After months of getting re-acclimated to her freedom, she's approaching this summer with unstoppable drive, a kind she hasn't felt in ages. Battle has returned to the nightlife circuit with weekly residencies at Barcadia and Club Norazo and was also handpicked by cosmetology entrepreneur Katie Rogers for the Mermaid Sealon's one-year anniversary this past Sunday. Battle's also working on a mixtape project she plans to release on streaming platforms this summer.
Battle is setting up her first-ever gig at Beauty Bar, troubleshooting some technical issues before her set.
"This is my first time playing here, so I want to have everything go perfect," Battle says through nervous laughter. "But you know what, I've yet to have a horrible gig this year, so I'm staying positive."
With sound check complete, Battle takes a seat on the outdoor patio and talks about her newfound confidence, which is leading to more work, she says.
"I've been feeling really good about myself," she says. "I've mustered up a lot of ambition lately, and things are coming together. I've been missing all of this ambition and motivation for so long and thought I'd never get it back, so I want to take it and run with it. I think everyone goes through ups and downs like that and I'm just scared to lose it, so I want to keep things going."
Battle's Barcadia residency was brokered by artist Demario Sains, but after the venue was sold, Battle was uncertain about what that would mean for her residency. "The crowd is different, but it's a fun crowd, and I enjoy it. I'm there every first and third Friday of the month," she says. The DJ says that securing this residency was important not just for her career, but to her well-being, because she'd started to isolate herself.
"I definitely appreciate all the opportunities I've had lately, because I had become a recluse and was scared to step out," Battle says. "But I'm glad I got over that."
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Battle is now focused on future possibilities and isn't dwelling on the obstacles she's survived. When speaking about her past and future, she exudes both humility and confidence.
"Sometimes it all seems like it was a long time ago," Battle says, reflecting on her recent past. "Time is such a paradox; for me the last few years there's been stints where it stretches, then shrinks. But I try not to focus on that. I'm building a foundation right now. I'm not where I want to be, but I know I'm making the right decisions."
Those decisions include, of course, saying no to drugs.
"I'm clean, which is something I thought would never happen," Battle says. "My worst fear in life was that I would never conquer my vices. Normalcy has always been an elusive thing for me. I've always been on the fringes of normalcy, trying to participate, and now I feel like it's truly a part of my life."