Monday, January 5, 2009
A Love Song from Sara Bareilles
With the Grammy Awards coming up early next month, I felt it wise to brush up on some of the nominees whose work stirred up the industry in 2008. Late last year I took an interest in Adele Adkins, British soul-jazz-pop artist nominated for record of the year, song of the year, best new artist, and best female pop vocal performance. This time, I take a look at Sara Bareilles, who too is nominated for best female pop vocal performance, and whose LOVE SONG is contending for song of the year. Incidentally, LOVE SONG was named by Billboard as the #1 hot adult contemporary song of 2008, beating even Alicia Keys's NO ONE and Coldplay's VIVA LA VIDA.
Upon graduating from UCLA in 2002, Bareilles began touring the circuit in local bars and clubs, slowly developing a following for her confident vocals and fearless keyboards. This eventually led to the indie recording of her first studio album, CAREFUL CONFESSIONS, and to bigger gigs, opening for the likes of Paolo Nutini, Mika, James Blunt, and college pals Maroon 5.
It was in 2006 when she began writing and recording material for her first major label album, LITTLE VOICE, and in June 2007 when iTunes featured her LOVE SONG as the free single of the week. Barely a month later, LITTLE VOICE became the most downloaded album in the music store. The artist's and the song's quick rise in the pop charts led to live performances in 2008 on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO and on the TODAY SHOW. Two months hence, LOVE SONG was a certified double platinum hit.
Bareilles confesses that because she's a girl who writes music with her piano, her work is often likened to Norah Jones's and Fiona Apple's; a pretty wide spectrum--Bareilles enjoys the two for the opposite reasons: Jones for her subtlety and Apple for her ferocity. But such is the music of Sara Bareilles--a delightful cocktail of the most sumptuous yet intoxicating influences, diverse as they may seem. Consider this mix: Elton John, Police, Radiohead, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Bjork, Counting Crows, and Bob Marley, to name a few of her musical idols.
Yet pronounced in this concoction are the stories of Bareilles herself. Her music is laced with honest vignettes that narrate her life, relationships, and as she calls it, her "basket-case-ness."
Figure it out. Here's her most successful song to date, LOVE SONG.