Sara Bareilles brings ‘Love Song’ to NY State Fair (Exclusive Interview)

Sara Bareilles brings ‘Love Song’ to NY State Fair
Interview by Michael Aaron Gallagher

Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles

Central New Yorkers will have a chance to catch Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles in concert with Sugarland on Sept. 3 at the New York State Fair.

Best known for her hit songs, “Love Song” and “Uncharted” (which features a cameo by Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland in the music video), Bareilles will join the cast of NBC’s “The Sing Off” as a celebrity judge, when the show’s third season returns in September.

In a recent interview, she talked about her visit to Syracuse.

Q: “What aspect of your work do you enjoy talking about the most? Is there an area you are the most passionate about?”

A: “I really enjoy talking about the song-writing process. And I think it’s something that I’m just really interested in because it’s so different for every artist. And I’m really passionate and proud of the fact that I’m a songwriter on top of a performer. I like discussing my process and getting into where the songs come from because I think it’s kind of this nebulous area… it’s an interesting thing to sort of make something out of nothing.”

Q: “Where do you find time for life and love and family?”

A: “I’m actually really lucky because my touring family, they’re like my brothers. We are a really tight knit unit and they’re my best friends in the world. So I actually feel incredibly blessed in that way, because we get to travel around… My heart goes out to people that have to do this all by themselves, because even though touring is really exciting it can be draining and a little bit isolating because there is that part, you do have to let go of what’s happening at home. I mean there’s parts of me that really hope that I can get to a place where I can be home a little bit more. I have a younger sister and nieces. I want to be part of their lives on a more regular basis but it’s kind of a give and take. You have to make time where you can find it and just do the best you can.”

Q: “When you’re on the road, do you have time to explore the cities you visit and meet new people?”

A: “Actually, I think that’s one thing that we do pretty well. I love seeing new cities. My favorite thing to do is just go on a long walk and get lost – find a cup of coffee somewhere or find a great little hole in the wall restaurant or something like that. I love getting to sample the new places we end up. I think we do our best to make time for that.”

Q: “Being paired on tour with a country group like Sugarland, what has the reception to your music been like from die-hard country fans?”

A: “It’s actually been really positive. I was talking with Kristian and Jennifer from Sugarland about that. They’ll say lovingly that their fans are actually – they’re really just music fans. They love songwriting, they love songwriters, they love a powerful lead female and they’re just music fans. And Sugarland is pretty diverse, they’re doing a crazy medley of cover songs that you would never think that a country band would do. I think they’re sort of like – country rebels. It’s been really fun. They’re lovely people and they’ve been so welcoming and so sweet to us. So we’ve just felt really at home on this tour. It’s been awesome.”

Q: “When you first step out on stage at the beginning of your show, what’s going through your mind and what are you focused on in those first few moments?”

A: “In the first few moments I’m usually trying to sort of gauge the audience and connect with them on some level and also connect with my bandmates. We try to have a lot of eye contact and a lot of smiles and try to keep it really loose and fun. I think our best shows are the shows where we just have a blast on stage. And I think that really translates to the audience. It’s all about trying to increase your level of connectivity with your audience, with your band mates, and with the people around you. That’s important for making good music.”

Q: “What is one of your favorite childhood memories of your time at your local fair and what kind of memories do you hope people take away from your concert?”

A: “Actually, one of my favorite memories is my very first concert that I saw at a county fair and it was Huey Lewis and the News, and I watched perched on my dad’s shoulders. I mean, I loved the fair growing up. I loved it. Everything from the carnival rides to the crappy fair food (although that’s improved a lot over the years I must say), to the 4H exhibits, the livestock, the whole thing. I loved being at the fair as a kid. It was so much fun. I looked forward to it all year long.”

Q: “Do you feel different as a performer when you play a show at night versus one during the day?”

A: “Totally. Day times are a little bit harder because there’s just less mystery to it. When you’re shrouded in darkness you can amp up the drama of your show, which I think is really impactful to an audience. On the Sugarland tour, we’ve mostly been performing in the daylight and it’s actually been great because you can see everybody’s faces, which is really nice, actually. It feels intimate in a way…. but it’s been really fun.”

Q: “Now there was a cameo in your music video for ‘Uncharted’ by Jennifer from Sugarland. How did your relationship with her begin?”

A: “The first time I met Jennifer she came to a show of mine in New York. She’s just – I can’t say enough good things about her as an artist, as a human being and as a total inspiration to me. She’s super intelligent, really smart, open-minded beyond belief and works her butt off to give her best every night on stage. And I respect that so much and I love her as an example of the kind of career that I hope to nurture in myself. I think she’s amazing… And over the past year, she’s become just a really great friend. I just love her. I love her to pieces, she’s awesome.”

Sara Bareilles brings “Love Song” to NY State Fair
Copyright 2011 by Michael Aaron Gallagher

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