Saro, then known as Evan Mellows, first started singing as a little kid growing up in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, but mostly he kept his voice to himself.
“I always walked the line between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine,’” he recalls. “Kids would tease me for having a high voice and for being ’soft.’”
Years later while attending UC Santa Barbara, Mellows began to collaborate with close friend Simone Battle, and in 2014 he was poised to release an album under his birth name. Tragically, the G.R.L. singer, who struggled with depression, committed suicide. It was then, and as a tribute to her, he began recording under the name Saro—a reference to the Smiths’ “Pretty Girls Make Graves”—and released the critically praised 2016 EP In Loving Memory.
The artist recently dropped his latest track, “Nothing Remains.” Today he answers our questions about his old Santa Barbara stomping grounds.
What’s the best thing about Santa Barbara?
The beach and the beauty.
What’s your favorite tourist attraction?
And the most overrated?
Oprah’s front gate.
What one thing should every LGBTQ tourist make a point to see, do, or experience in Santa Barbara?
Hmm… the Shitty Kitty, AKA Wildcat?
Where is the best place to meet sexy locals?
Probably the beach. Maybe Bill’s Bus, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ve had a few makeout sessions on there.
Where is the best place to grab brunch?
Freebirds, definitely, for any meal. Damn, I want it right now.
Where is the best place to get a cocktail?
I was a starving college student when I lived there, so I would frequent Baja Sharkeez for their strong, reasonably priced drinks.
What’s your favorite spot that no one really knows about?
Seven Falls. There are seven mini waterfalls and one of them doubles as a waterslide. It’s pure bliss up there.
The best neighborhood to spend an afternoon?
Montecito, pretending to have money.
Who or what is everyone in Santa Barbara talking about right now?
I wish I knew! I live in Los Angeles now but I miss Santa Barbara dearly. Go Gauchos!