Sarah Darling has been connecting with country fans -- and one famous single guy in particular -- through her sweet single, "Home to Me." The lyrics resonate on a personal level, too.
"'Home to Me' is a song about finding love anywhere," Darling tells CMT Radio. "For me, it's authentic to where I am. I'm in a long-distance relationship, and when you're out on the road, it's wonderful to have that little piece of home come to you. It can be anywhere. It's not necessarily a place. It's a feeling."
Darling appeared as a surprise performer on ABC's The Bachelor this season. During one episode, she serenaded Sean Lowe and one of his dates in Whitefish, Mont.
Yes, she's following the popular show. And, yes, she did get to meet Lowe.
"Sean is a really good guy. I think that for the most part, everybody knows that," she says. "He's a down-to-earth, all-American boy. He really is like that in person. I guess it helps that this entire season, he never has his shirt on!"
Darling grew up in Iowa and cites Patsy Cline and Carrie Underwood, as well as bands like Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, as significant influences. Her video for "Home to Me" has been airing on CMT as part of the network's Next Women of Country campaign.
"I feel like it's really difficult for females to break through, but I also feel like when they do, it's really big," she says. "I think it's an amazing thing that CMT is doing this because it gives the new females a chance to get to the fans. Also, we all have something to say. We're all different in our own way. I think if we keep on the path, eventually it's going to turn around, and all of a sudden, a new female's going to be on the top of the charts. We're all rooting for each other."
Darling says her new EP offers a lot of "sappy love songs," which reflects where she is in her life.
"I always say that, as a writer, if you're true to yourself, you write what you're feeling at that particular time," she says. "Some people go into a room and say, 'I want to write this hook.' I tend to be the writer who says, 'This is how I'm feeling right now. I need to write a song about this.' I've even written songs about Paris because I was going on a trip there."
She adds, "I always write about stuff that is happening in the moment. I'm guilty of that -- which I think is good. Sometimes it's really happy. Sometimes it's really sad. But I think right now, the music I'm writing is definitely the best and the happiest that it's ever been."
Darling says she discovered "Home to Me" through her producer, Dann Huff.
"He played me the song, and immediately I was drawn to it. It does reel you in immediately because it has all of these states listed in it. I mulled it over for a couple of days, then I decided to sing it at a show with my band just to try it out," she recalls. "Everyone in the show stopped, and everyone lit up, so I knew I had something special. It just clicked."
With so many states listed in "Home to Me," which one describes her personality the most?
"Oh, goodness, I'm going to say California," she replies. "I love sunshine. And, actually, people call me Little Miss Sunshine. The song says, 'Shine like California,' so I'm going with that."