Sara Beth Bareilles (/bəˈrɛlɪs/; born December 7, 1979)[1] is an American musician, singer-songwriter and pianist. She achieved mainstream success in 2007 with the hit single "Love Song", which brought her into the number one spot on the Billboard Pop 100 chart.[2] Bareilles has sold over one million records and over four million singles in the United States alone and has been nominated for a Grammy Award five times.[3] In the third season of NBC's The Sing-Off, Bareilles was a celebrity judge alongside Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. In February 2012, VH1 placed Bareilles in the 80th spot of the Top 100 Greatest Women in Music.[4]


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

Bareilles was born and raised in Eureka, California, one of three daughters of Bonnie Halvorsen (née Capellas), a funeral home worker, and Paul Bareilles, an insurance adjuster.[5][6] Bareilles also has a half sister named Melody, according to her interview with Zooey Magazine.[7] She is of Italian, German, Portuguese, and French descent (she speaks Italian and lived in Italy for a year).[8] Bareilles was raised Catholic[9] and participated in the high school choir, Limited Edition, and local community theater musical productions, including her high school's production ofLittle Shop of Horrors as Audrey.[10]

After graduating from high school in 1998, Bareilles attended the Communication Studies program at the University of California, Los Angeles,[1] where she was a member of the co-ed a cappella group Awaken a Cappella,[11] and can be heard on their Dysfunktional Family album singing "Gravity" and "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5.[12] The group's rendition of Bareilles' "Gravity" was featured on the Best of College a Cappella 2004 compilation CD. Bareilles also stated on MTV's TRL that she and the band Maroon 5 have been acquainted since their younger days in California when the band was known as Kara's Flowers. She performed in the annual student concert UCLA Spring Sing, winning twice. Sara taught herself to play the piano and subsequently all other instruments she is seen playing.


2002–2006: Career beginnings and Careful Confessions[edit]Edit

After graduating from UCLA in 2002, Bareilles performed at local bars and clubs (such as the Hotel Café and Genghis Cohen in Los Angeles), building a following before performing in larger venues. She issued two demos of mostly live tracks in 2003: The First One in April and The Summer Sessions in October. In 2004, she appeared as a singer in a bar in the indie film Girl Play, performing the song "Undertow".[10]

In January 2004, Bareilles released her first studio album, Careful Confessions. She signed a contract with Epic Records on April 15, 2005.[13] The remainder of the year and early 2006 she spent writing and reworking songs for her upcoming album.[1]

In mid-2004 she opened for Rocco DeLuca and the Burden during their inaugural headline tour, supported Guster on their first UK tour and co-headlined a tour with Jon McLaughlin.[14] She toured as the opening act in 2006 for Marc Broussard's "Carencro" tour. Bareilles' song "Gravity" appeared briefly in the 2006 independent film Loving Annabelle. In 2007, Bareilles toured as the opening act for Aqualung and Mika, and later that year opened for several shows on both Maroon 5 and Paolo Nutini's U.S. tours. She also opened for James Blunt on his U.S. Tour in association with VH1 You Oughta Know.

2007–2008: Little Voice[edit]Edit

[1][2]Bareilles' success with Little Voice led her to tour Europe; she is pictured here in her first tour of the Netherlands

In June 2007, iTunes featured Bareilles' single "Love Song" as the free single of the week. The following month, her major-label debut Little Voice shot to #1 on the list of most downloaded albums of the music store[15] in its first week of release, and debuted at #45 on the Billboard 200 chart. After being featured on a Rhapsody commercial in 2007, "Love Song" began climbing the pop charts, jumping from #73 to #16 in one week. It entered the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 27, 2007, and peaked at #4. On other charts, such as the Pop 100 and Hot AC, "Love Song" hit #1. Bareilles performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, January 17, 2008, and on the Today show on Thursday, February 21, 2008. Soon after that, the song entered the UK Singles Chart, peaking at #4. The music video was directed by Josh Forbes and stars British actor Adam Campbell.

As of 2010, Little Voice has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album peaked in the Billboard 200 at #7, and the UK Top 40 at #9.[16] Bareilles' breakthrough single, "Love Song" has since been certified 3× Platinum.

On October 28, 2008, Bareilles released Between the Lines: Sara Bareilles Live at the Fillmore on DVD and CD. The package is a recording of her first headlining tour at the famous Fillmore inSan Francisco. This package also included live recordings of her unreleased song "August Moon", as well as a cover of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay". She concluded the tour in her home town of Eureka, California on December 19, 2008, at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts.

She toured with Counting Crows and Maroon 5 between July 22 and August 26, 2008. The first stop was Virginia Beach, Virginia and the last stop Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.[17] Bareilles was selected as MTV artist of the week for July 7–11 and appeared again on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday, July 9, 2008; and on December 9, 2008 (with Ingrid Michaelson).

During the spring of 2009, Bareilles was on her second headlining tour, the "Gravity Tour," to promote the third and final single from her album Little Voice. She made her third appearance in Charlottesville, VA during UVA's annual Springfest on March 28, her first as the opener for Marc Broussard in 2005 and the second being an opening for Maroon 5. Bareilles also played multiple college shows in April and May. Some were for college students only and others were open to the public.

She sent out a special holiday message to fans on her mailing list and gave out a free live acoustic EP recorded during her Gravity Tour last Spring. The EP contains 7 acoustic songs, including a new song "Free Ride", "I'm On Fire", aBruce Springsteen cover duet with Tony Lucca, and two speaking segments.

In early 2010, Bareilles recorded video of what she called "An Ode to Jersey Shore" and posted it to her official website as a gag for fans.[18]

2009–2012: Kaleidoscope Heart and The Sing-Off[edit]Edit

[3][4]Bareilles at De Melkweg, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, June 16, 2008

After an extended period of writer's block,[19] Bareilles began work on the follow-up to her major label debut in the summer of 2009, collaborating with the likes of Amir "Questlove" Thompson, members of Weezer, and Pharrel Williams. As the songs began to take their final shape, Neal Avron was assigned to produce, record, and mix the entire album. The album, eventually titledKaleidoscope Heart, was recorded at The Village Recorder and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles.

The first single from Kaleidoscope Heart, "King of Anything", began receiving radio airplay in the US in May 2010,[20] and was released for sale in June.[21] "King of Anything" had its first play on the UK radio airwaves on Paul Kay's "Album Download" show on Mid-Wales commercial radio station "Radio Maldwyn – The Magic 756" in August 2010. "King of Anything" has since been certified platinum by the RIAA.

In anticipation of the new album, Bareilles released a series of webisodes, featuring the making of select songs from Kaleidoscope Heart, including "King of Anything", "Uncharted", "Gonna Get Over You", "Bluebird", and a strings-only version of "King of Anything". The first webisode also contains Bareilles writing the chorus for "Hold My Heart". She was selected as VH1's Posted Artist of the Month for July 2010,[22] chronicling her life leading up to the album's release.

Kaleidoscope Heart was released on September 7, 2010, and debuted at number 1 in the United States, selling 90,000 copies.[23] Interestingly, her previous album Little Voice re-entered the charts at number 200 in the same week, bookending the charts.[24]

Bareilles toured in support of Kaleidoscope Heart from September to December 2010, with most of the shows being sold out. Bareilles toured Europe and parts of Asia and Australia with Maroon 5 throughout spring 2011. She embarked on a small headline "Uncharted" tour in April 2011 with openers Elizabeth & the Catapult and Ximena Sariñana in support of the second single from Kaleidoscope Heart "Uncharted", which concluded April 23, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. She also opened select shows for country music duo Sugarland on their Summer 2011 Incredible Machine Tour. The third single from Kaleidoscope Heart is "Gonna Get Over You," with a music video directed by Jonah Hill.

On April 21, 2011, NBC aired the "Paradigms of Human Memory" episode of comedy television series Community during episode 21 of season 2, in which "Gravity" was used during a montage scene reflecting on the characters Jeff and Annie's previous interactions, then later Abed and Pierce's. On April 11, 2013, Bareilles made a guest appearance in the show's fourth season as a singing hot air balloon operator in the episode Intro to Felt Surrogacy. On May 13, 2011, "Breathe Again" appeared in the Smallville series finale for the wedding of Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

Bareilles was added in the third season of the NBC television series The Sing-Off as a celebrity judge, alongside Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. Bareilles also guest-starred on Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures.

Indiana State Fair stage collapse[edit]Edit

Main article: Indiana State Fair stage collapse

On August 13, 2011, the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed right after Bareilles finished performing as the opening act for Sugarland. She was uninjured, tweeting "I'm speechless and feel so helpless; my heart aches for the lives lost." Seven people died, and more than 45 were injured in the collapse.[25]

2012–present: Once Upon Another Time EP and The Blessed Unrest[edit]Edit

Soon after joining The Sing-Off, Bareilles announced she was in the process of recording a new EP with co-star Ben Folds producing it. She also collaborated with fellow singer songwriters Greg Laswell and Jon McLaughlin on their new singles in February. In March, she will release A Trace of Sun a documentary of her time volunteering in Japan after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Her EP, Once Upon Another Time, was released on May 22 and contained 5 new recordings. The first single from the EP, "Stay" was released on April 21, 2012 on 7" vinyl, exclusive to Record Store Day participants with a vinyl-only B-side "Beautiful Girl".

During her Stageit show on September 10, 2012, she stated that she was working on a new record in New York. She also premiered a new song which may be appearing on her new album, titled "Only Shadows". In January, she spilled a little news on what's with her for this year. After moving to New York, Bareilles is finishing her record already, and will release the lead single from that album "soon."[26] In January, Bareilles was a featured artist of the a cappella groupStraight No Chaser on the Jackson 5 song, "I Want You Back" which premiered on Billboard.[27]

In February, she began teasing her fans to her upcoming album through her Twitter and YouTube accounts. First is the video that she released on her website, titled "Sara is Making a Record...".[28]

On March 27, Bareilles announced that she would be doing an 18 city tour to promote the new album. The first single, "Brave," was released digitally on April 23.[29] On April 17, 2013, Bareilles released a lyric video for her single "Brave" on YouTube.[30] Her album, titled The Blessed Unrest, was released on July 13, 2013.[31][32]

Bareilles performed two songs for the feature film Bounty Killer, released in September 2013. "The Kill" was written by Will Collyer and Sujata Day. "Gonna Getcha" was written by Will Collyer and the film's director, Henry Saine.

On September 30, Bareilles announced that a live album, "Brave Enough: Live at the Variety Playhouse", would be released on October 22, 2013. The concert was recorded at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, GA.[33]

In October 2013, two nurses from University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital Brittany Bloemke and Natalie Snyder, along with former patient Sarah Ewald produced a Youtube video containing coworkers and young cancer patients dancing and singing to Bareilles's song "Brave". As of November 11, 2013 it has been viewed over 1,000,000 times since its initial publication on October 7, 2013.[34] On October 31, 2013 while the trio were being interviewed by host Nischelle Turner on the HLN show Showbiz Tonight, Bareilles surprised them by Skyping into the interview. Of the video she said: “I was sent this video by a friend of a friend who lives in Minnesota, and I watched it late at night and immediately my eyes welled up with tears. It's moments like this that remind me of the importance of music, and I can't think of a more perfect incarnation of this song. It's exactly the kind of thing that gives the life to this song that we were hoping for."[35]

As of October 2013, Bareilles is working on writing music for Waitress, a musical adaptation of the 2007 film.[36] She is also going to be writing a book which is expected to release in 2014 by Simon & Schuster.[37]

Influences and musical style[edit]Edit

Bareilles is often compared to artists such as Regina SpektorFiona AppleBilly Joel,[38] due to her vocal ability and incorporation of piano in her music.

Her sound is described as "slightly edgy, stompy piano-based pop rock" that incorporates jazz and soul,[39] with Bareilles finding inspiration from singers such as Etta James and Sam Cooke.[40] She is often praised for her songwriting abilities, with critics stating she "conveys vulnerability and wisdom in lyrics that speak honestly about relationships from a woman's point of view", and that her "writing voice is uniquely her own."[38]

She plays the pianoguitarukulele, and harmonium.

Band members[edit]Edit

[5][6]Bareilles and band during herKaleidoscope Heart Tour at the Warfield on December 16, 2010

Bareilles' first band consisted of members Javier Dunn (guitar and vocals),[41] Daniel Rhine (bass) and Joshua Day (percussion and vocals).[42] Other musicians who have toured with her as part of her band include Eric Robinson (guitar and keys),[43] Holly Conlan (backing vocals), Steve Goold (drums), and Philip Krohnengold (guitar and keys).[44]

In 2013, Bareilles parted amicably with her longtime band mates to "move in a new direction".[45] She subsequently embarked on a short solo tour, before forming a new band in anticipation of her fall co-headlining tour with OneRepublic.[46]

Collaborations with other artists[edit]Edit

In December 2008, a single with Ingrid Michaelson titled "Winter Song" was released off the compilation The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs. The two performed it on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and an animated video was released. In December 2011, "Winter Song" reached number 2 on the Irish Singles Chart.[47] She also recorded a song "Come Home," a duet withOneRepublic, which was released on iTunes on July 14, 2009.

Bareilles performed with many other singers on the season 3 finale of 30 Rock, alongside Mary J. BligeRachael YamagataSheryl CrowNorah Jones and Elvis Costello. She also appeared with Weezer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and AOL Sessions guest performing "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" as well for a special performance on YouTube.

She has performed for the First Family numerous times. Bareilles was first invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to play at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh in September 2009. Here she performed songs for the First Ladies of 20 nations and afterward dined with Michelle Obama. The Obamas again invited her to perform at the Easter Egg Roll in 2010. On October 20, 2010, it was announced that Bareilles would open for President Obama at a Las Vegas rally for the Democratic midterm elections.[48] In late 2010 as pop rock band Maroon 5 was touring in promotion for their Hands All Over album, Bareilles contributed to the female vocals (originally belonging to Lady Antebellum) for the song "Out Of Goodbyes". She appeared with the band Sugarland for a cover of Dexys (Midnight Runners) Come On Eileen in a Youtube exclusive.[49] In December, Bareilles and fellow singer Ingrid Michaelson performed "Winter Song" for the Obamas and many spectators at the National Christmas Tree Lighting.[50]

In December 2010, Bareilles appeared with The Backbeats on the season finale of The Sing-Off. She performed the duet "Love Won't Let You Get Away" with Seth MacFarlane on his debut studio album Music Is Better Than Words, and reunited to perform the song with him at Club Nokia on March 26, 2011.

Bareilles is featured on the first single from Jon McLaughlin's fourth studio effort Promising Promises, "Summer Is Over". The track was released in January 2012.


Main article: Sara Bareilles discography;Studio albums



Year Title Role Notes
2004 Girl Play Singer in Bar
2004 Fairytale Princess Video short
2008 Walmart Soundcheck Herself "Sara Bareilles" (Season 3, episode 3)
2010 30 Rock Herself "Sara Bareilles" (Season 3, episode 22)
2011 Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures Herself "Epic Rockstar" (Season 1, episode 7)
2011 The Sing-Off Judge Season 3; 11 episodes
2011 No Ordinary Family Herself "No Ordinary Animal" (Episode 18)
2012 A Trace of Sun Herself Documentary
2012 Rock Hall of Fame Herself Tribute to Laura Nyro Induction: "Stony End"
2013 Community Balloon Guide "Intro to Felt Surrogacy" (Season 4, episode 9)

Awards and nominations[edit]Edit

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2008 ASCAP Pop Music Awards Vanguard Award Herself Won
2009 Grammy Award Song of the Year "Love Song" Nominated
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
2011 "King of Anything" Nominated
2014 Album of the Year The Blessed Unrest Pending
Best Pop Solo Performance "Brave" Pending
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