Sara Bareilles is best-known for her 2007 single Love Song which was taken from her major label debut album Little Voice.
Since then Bareilles has released the critically-acclaimed Kaleidoscope Heart and recently she released her latest album The Blessed Unrest in the UK. The album’s lead single, Brave, scored Sara a huge hit stateside selling over 2 million copies.
We caught up with Sara to talk about the album, find out why she decided to wait to release it in the UK and discover if she had more plans to perform in the UK.
Hi Sara. Where does this Q&A find you today?
I’m sitting in a hotel room in Los Angeles. We had a show last night for a private event, and now I’m staying in town for a few days for a dear friend’s wedding.
You recently released your latest album The Blessed Unrest in the UK. What can your fans expect from the record?
This record is reflective of a very challenging year in my life, that ultimately ended up being a very expansive one. I think those concepts are echoed in the themes of the songs. I tried to expand sonically, and try lots of different things from a songwriting perspective. I also collaborated in a few different ways on the record and I think you can hear the influence of the amazing artists I worked with.
Where did the inspiration for the record come from?
As I said, my record reflects a hard year of my life. A lot of personal change and transition in relationships. I moved to New York from Los Angeles, my home of 14 years, and I left some very important and longterm personal and professional relationships. I poured my heart into those songs and now I get to feel the catharsis of sharing my story on stage.
What lessons would you say you’ve learned as an artist since the release of your last album Kaleidoscope Heart and how have they impacted on this record?
I think one thing that was important to learn was to be more open to collaborators. I think I have always been very shy to sharing my creative process and I actually loved writing and recording in a collective way. It made a huge difference for me and made the entire process easier. What a gift.
Give us an insight into what you’re like in the studio. What is your process for putting a song together?
Although I would absolutely consider myself a happy person, I am extremely heady and moody most of my life. Very high highs, and very low lows. The studio is no different. I think on a good day I feel like I’m literally walking on air. Revelling in the magic and mysticism of creating art. And then the pendulum will shift and I can very easily get bogged down by the mechanics and the business of it all. Start judging it all too early and hate it for a while. And then I will shift again. It’s a dance and a process, and completely exhausting but ultimately the most rewarding thing I can imagine.
Brave has been a huge hit across the globe and has become an inspirational anthem for a variety of communities. How do you feel about the impact that song has had?
I could never have imagined the scope of this song. I of course had hoped that the message would resonate, but I don’t think I could have even dreamed that it would connect in this way. I am learning so much from this song every day. People share stories about their vulnerabilities and their life experiences, and I feel humbled and privileged to be a part of that communion. I really believe in it’s purpose, and I’m just so thrilled to see people embracing it’s message in this way.
There’s been quite gap between the US release of The Blessed Unrest and the UK release. Why did you decide to wait before you launched the record here?
There are simply so many factors that quite honestly are out of my control when an album is released. I think the important thing is that my team and I feel a renewed devotion to my international fan community and want to do much more to make sure that my music and my tours are available outside the US.
You picked up two Grammy Award nominations for The Blessed Unrest. How much do awards mean to you?
The Grammy nominations feel like an incredible validation for the work that I have done and I am nothing but grateful. I don’t think awards in general are the ultimate barometer for what is “good”, as there are an endless sea of incredible artists that may never be nominated for something like this, but it is an amazing acknowledgement and quite an honor.
Recently you played a couple of live shows in the UK. How did you find UK audiences and will you be returning for more dates soon?
These are only my first shows in a handful of years, as I have played in the UK in the past. It’s just been a long time since I’ve been there. The audiences were warm and funny and engaged and so generous. It was a true pleasure.
Have you started thinking about your next album and the direction you want to take musically?
I am working on two other projects now that need finishing before I take on the next record, but my wheels are turning, for sure. I’m focused on finishing a book about my life and scoring a musical that will open next year. Lots of creative projects that I’m very excited about.
Sara’s new album The Blessed Unrest is out now and features the singles Brave & Chasing The Sun.