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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

ELMS: Getting to know ‘Sara without an h’

In case you haven’t seen all the posters around campus sporting a close-up of a woman with an angular nose and side-swept bangs hiding one eye, singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles is coming to campus tomorrow night for the MUSG Spring Concert.

For as much of a music junkie that I am, I confess the only Bareilles material I’ve heard prior to this week is her 2007 hit “Love Song.” And while it’s definitely a catchy tune, it never got me hooked on her music.

But in light of her visit to Marquette, I decided to learn what this Sara without an “h” is all about.

The Northern California native is currently on tour in support of her latest release, “Kaleidoscope Heart,” a follow-up to her first studio record, “Little Voice,” so she didn’t have time to sit down with me for a nice conversation over coffee. Instead, I just decided to learn everything about her anyway, creeper-style.

A visit to her website provided me with all the information I needed. Her most recent bio (she wrote one corresponding to each of her records) starts, “Hi. It’s me, Sara. As I’ve said before, I don’t do those fancy bios. So sue me.” How’s that for an introduction? She’s direct, confident and has a bit of an attitude.

As I read on, I found it’s not so much an attitude but a frankness you don’t find in most people. Bareilles opened up about what a difficult process it was for her to create “Kaleidoscope Heart,” reflecting on succumbing to the pressure and anxiety that resulted from the inevitable expectations shaped by “Little Voice.”

The writing process did not come easy for her this time around, and she pushed her recording date back to accommodate her writer’s block. Being a journalist, I can sympathize with writer’s block wholeheartedly. Bareilles said her album is largely centered around the song “Uncharted,” which finally got her back in the swing of things, and it’s one of my favorites on the album.

According to Bareilles’ first bio, she has been writing songs for as long as she can remember, and songwriting is the most sacred thing in her life because it is how she processes her world.

From that statement alone I got the feeling her music is an authentic representation of her life, or at least parts of it, and I was right. Her songs are reactions to the world around her, offering honest insights into her person.

Bareilles also has this nifty thing on her website that allows you to listen to her albums for free, so I took advantage of that and let Sara serenade me for a few hours.

I first listened to “Little Voice” to get a feel for the album that put her on the musical map. While I was impressed by her vocals and enjoyed the soul-pop vibe, I wasn’t blown away. As I listened to “Kaleidoscope Heart” though, I could tell she and her sound had matured.

Her sophomore album has a greater variation between songs than her first, and there’s a level of emotion present that I don’t think Bareilles quite reached with her first record. Her lyrics are honest and meaningful, making “Kaleidoscope Heart” that much more captivating.

If Bareilles is still at all uneasy about the finished product, she shouldn’t be. She has accomplished one of the toughest things an artist with a successful debut has to and proved that she is a truly talented musician, not just a one-hit-wonder.

I now have 13 new songs on my iPod, and I’m enjoying each one of them. I feel like I’m getting to know Bareilles through this record, and aside from her killer voice, her authenticity is what is going to bring her continued success.

Tickets for tomorrow’s show are still available in the Brooks Lounge for $15, and I might just have to snatch one up. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend you do the same.

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