Sarai's potential and sex appeal led to her getting snapped up by Epic Records, making her the first white female rapper to have a major recording contract. Sarai Howard was born in 1981, and grew up in Kingston, New York, a working-class city in upstate Ulster County. Sarai, along with her older brother Michael, was raised by her mother Teresa in a single-parent household. The family moved repeatedly, and Sarai attended many different local schools and held down dozens of part-time jobs. Teresa's musical interests included The Police and Fleetwood Mac, and for a while, Sarai's taste in tunes mirrored her mother's. "I'm a straight MTV baby," Sarai later explained. But it was Sarai's brother, more a fan of genre pioneers Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C.
and NWA, who first introduced her to rap and hip-hop. Soon Sarai was into Jay-Z, Tupac and Notorious BIG. Meanwhile, by the time Sarai was in high school, she was acting in plays, singing in the choir, and writing poetry. When Sarai was 15, she improvised a joke rhyme about some of the other girls in their town while hanging out with her friends. Sarai's rapping continued as a hobby for a few years after that, as she was finishing high school and making plans to attend a community college in Kingston. At 17, when Sarai and one of her friends were vacationing in Atlanta, Sarai was discovered.
Sarai's friend struck up a conversation with some men at a gas station; when they said they worked at a nearby recording studio, Sarai impressed them with her flow, and was taken to meet producer L.J. Sutton, a.k.a. Chocolate Starr. Before long, Sarai was traveling to Atlanta regularly for meetings and demo recordings. In 2000, she moved south permanently to chase her dream of being a rapper. After two more years of laying the groundwork, Sarai landed a deal with Epic Records, becoming the first white female rapper to be represented by a major label. In 2003, Sarai released her debut album, The Original, featuring the singles "Pack Ya Bags" and "Ladies." Radio DJs quickly took to calling her "Feminem," referring to the trailblazing Eminem.
"I don't like it," commented Sarai at the time, "but I like him." Although "Pack Ya Bags" and "Ladies" had some chart success, critics and fans were lukewarm about Sarai's talent. She couldn't quite shake her reputation as a novelty act -- a white girl in an industry dominated by black men. More recently, Sarai has tried her hand at acting, taking a role in National Lampoon's Pledge This!. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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