Sara Bareilles Biography

Pianist, Songwriter, Singer(1979–)
Sara Bareilles is an American singer-songwriter known for such hits as "Love Song" and "King of Anything."

Synopsis

Born on December 7, 1979, in Eureka, California, Sara Bareilles is a singer-songwriter and pianist known for the hit "Love Song," off the album Little Voice (2007). The song sold more than 3 million copies and garnered two Grammy Award nominations for the artist. In 2010, Bareilles released Kaleidoscope Heart, featuring the single "King of Anything," for which she received her third Grammy nod. In 2011, Bareilles was added as a celebrity judge to the third season of The Sing-Off. She left the show prior to its fourth season, and went on to release projects like Once Upon Another Time (2012) and The Blessed Unrest (2013).

Early Life

Singer-songwriter Sara Beth Bareilles was born on December 7, 1979, in Eureka, California, to Paul Bareilles, an insurance adjuster and logger, and his wife, Bonnie. The youngest of three girls, childhood was not always easy for Bareilles. "I grew up a fat girl," she later recalled. "I had to change schools at one point because the kids were so mean to me. I still often feel I just don't want anyone to notice anything about me."

Still, despite a preference to go unnoticed, Bareilles had an unmistakable passion for music and theater. She performed in her school choirs and played Audrey in a high school production of Little Shop of Horrors. Following high school, she attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in communications. More importantly, she found her singing voice as a member of an a cappella group at the school.

After graduating in 2001, Bareilles, who remained in southern California, set out to pursue her dream of making it as a musician. Over the course of the next three years, she worked the club scene, performing at open-mic nights, landing a few paid gigs and eventually performing at festivals.

Writing 'Love Song'

In 2003, Sara Bareilles recorded her first demo, Careful Confessions, which eventually got the attention of Epic Records, who signed her to a deal. The company set out to revamp the songs on her debut demo as well as incorporate newer material for her first album, Little Voice (2007).

Ironically, one of the anchors of the album was the hit single "Love Song," a tune that was sparked by the singer's own frustrations with Epic and the record-making process. "I was just turning in material and having people not like it," Bareilles said. "It's the first time I'd really collaborated with people and gotten their feedback on my material. So I think I got very stubborn and turned off by the whole idea."

The song took off, however, and in turn, the album quickly gained momentum with consumers, who loved Bareille's soulful voice and open-book lyrics about love and life. With some heavy promotion from iTunes and Rhapsody, "Love Song" sold more than 3 million copies. Little Voice, meanwhile, became a Top 10 album. The singer-songwriter's success was punctuated that year by two Grammy Award nominations, for song of the year and best female pop vocal performance.

For Bareilles the sudden success, and the work that went into producing it, was a bit daunting at times. "I was so precious about every choice," she said. "I was so guarded, and I don't know that I enjoyed it as much as I could have. There were times where I was so fearful and so anxious about the process: 'Am I doing too much? Am I selling out? Do I look all right?' All those things swirl around in your brain. What I'm here to do is play my music, and I want to be able to enjoy the process this time."

Continued Success

After two intense years of touring—as well as the release of a concert album, Between the Lines: Sara Bareilles Live at the Fillmore (2008)—Bareilles rewarded her fans in 2010 with her second major label effort, Kaleidoscope Heart, featuring the lead single "King of Anything." Like her debut, the album was met with critical success, and "King of Anything" went on to garner a Grammy nomination for best female pop vocal performance—Bareilles's third Grammy nomination.

"The singer-songwriter's background in university show choirs serves her well here," wrote one L.A. Times reviewer, "as she finds strength in complex vocal arrangements and the sorts of dramatic set-ups that have reminded us that the very act of raising our voices can be a hugely liberating act."

In 2011, Bareilles was added as a celebrity judge to the third season of The Sing-Off, a popular singing-competition series that began airing on NBC in 2009. Replacing Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls, Bareilles starred alongside fellow judges Ben Folds and Boyz II Men's Shawn Stockman, and presenter Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees. She left the show prior to its fourth season.

Bareilles went on to release an EP, Once Upon Another Time, featuring the lead single "Stay," in the spring of 2012. She followed that effort with 2013's The Blessed Unrest, with "Brave" being the album's first-released single.

Broadway's 'Waitress' and Tony Nod

In spring 2016, Bareilles added another accomplishment to her roster of feats—that of Broadway composer. She wrote the music and lyrics to the musical Waitress, based on the 2007 movie of the same name starring Keri Russell and film director/screenwriter Adrienne Shelly. A little more than a week after Waitress's Broadway opening in late April, Bareilles earned the first Tony nod of her career for best original score. She has also released a 2015 companion album entitled What's Inside: Songs From Waitress

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