Someone Who Loves Me: An Ode to Sara Bareilles

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The artist that has gotten me through this shit show called life

by Emily Martin

Do you ever have a rough week where you feel like the universe is totally against you? Well, that’s been the last two months for me — basically this entire semester. Friendships changed, car crashed, relationship ended, graduation looming with no plan.

But there is a bright side to this all: Sara Bareilles released her much-anticipated album after a couple years of a dry spell. And if any of you know me personally, or just check my Facebook or Twitter feed, you know this means a lot to me.

So in order to honor this momentous occasion, I am going to write a love letter to the woman who has gotten me through the toughest parts of my life and continues to write music that always perfectly fits into my life.

Without further ado:

Dear Sara,

I need to thank you. You have been nothing but supportive to me ever since I first discovered your music in 8th grade with the hit single, “King of Anything.” I didn’t know it that day when I first heard the opening, bubble-gum pop chords of your no-nonsense breakup song, but your music would soon come to help me through all major life events for the next 9 years of my life. Some people pick a favorite artist and attend concerts, listen to albums and hang up posters, but never truly feel a deep connection past being a fan.

For me, I feel eternally grateful that you took a chance to use your talents to write music straight from the heart. Music that will sneak its way into any unsuspecting person’s heart through deeply poetic and personal lyrics attached to soulful melodies sung by an angelic soprano voice gliding over each note with care.

My interest in your music was piqued by an upbeat hit, but I soon dove into the world of Sara Bareilles, first with your 2010 album “Kaleidoscope Heart”, then your first self-released album, “Careful Confession.” Soon, your debut album, “Little Voice,” jumped to my most-listened to and I still wanted more.

In 2013, you released “The Blessed Unrest” after uprooting your entire life to start fresh in New York City. I heard “Manhattan” and immediately knew I had to perform this song. I competed in my high school’s annual singing competition and won with this beautiful piece as I attempted to croon it just like you. Later, to keep my streak going, I performed “Stay” off your “Once Upon Another Time” EP since I was bit more confident in my belting abilities by then.

At first, these albums were just something to listen to for fun, full of songs that fit my voice like a glove, meaning I could perform them without being too harsh on myself. Then, high school happened. I doubted friendships, family, academics, my future and myself, but each emotion in never ending cycle of teenage hormones was reflected in every unique song.

No matter how much I tried to enjoy rap, pop or punk music, I always came back to switching on “Bluebird,” “Let the Rain,” “Gravity,” “One Sweet Love,” “Uncharted” or “Vegas,” closing my eyes and letting the lyrics envelope me. Your music not only got me through the small stuff, but the heartbreak of a crush not liking me back, the confusion of choosing a college and a future career and just the growing pains of being a teenager.

Then, you composed “Waitress” my freshman year of college. As everyone knows, that year is full of difficulties and transformations, which is what that score is all about. I used to sing the heart-wrenching “She Used to Be Mine” in the dorm shower unabashedly and your self-recorded album became my soundtrack of the year. I’ve been lucky enough to see the pre-Broadway run and the Broadway show three times, including once with you, and I would still see it again. Two of my favorites thing, musical theater and your music, were colliding and it was surreal.

Of course, not all your music is sad, and there have been some really happy memories, including attending my first concert of yours at Madison Square Garden with my mom and bonding with my parents over your music. I’ve always had a strong relationship with my parents, but it was something we could all enjoy together in car rides and it made us closer.

But while your music does help expand my happiness, it has gotten me through some seriously tough times. This past month has not been easy on my heart, soul or mind. I’ve been handling strained friendships for this past year, felt uncomfortable and out of place in most spaces and pondered what exactly I want to do for a career with no answer in sight. And to make it worse, I had to deal with a devastating breakup with someone I saw as a very important part of my life, and then a few days later, I got into an accident and almost totaled the car I’ve used and been emotionally attached to for four years. But just a week later, you released your latest album, “Amidst the Chaos.”

You’ve blessed me with a beautiful album full of breakup songs not even just in the context of relationships, but breaking up with toxic thoughts, potential life paths and more. “Amidst the Chaos” expresses those deep thoughts and feelings unlike any music before and contains a subliminal message to love yourself through it all. “No Such Thing,” “If I Can’t Have You” and “Orpheus” all both made me cry the first time I listened, and the second and third times. The first and second ones put into words my fear of letting go of things I had thought were forever, and “Orpheus” was immediately the comfort I needed to reassure me that it would all be okay.

The connections you’ve made to politics as well has helped me process my personal feelings about the current state of the world since, as a journalism student looking for a job, I feel many times I’m not allowed to. With “Saint Honesty,” I not only sway to the beautiful melody, but hear the plea of someone filled with compassion, waiting for our leaders to be filled with it, too.

All this may seem excessive or like it’s coming from a fangirl, but I’ve felt such love for your art for so long, that when your new album came out and saved me from myself, I knew I needed to put into writing what I felt. It’s like you’ve been the sage, wise best friend I never knew I needed, and I’m now incredibly grateful to have you. I get to see you curse, joke and sing effortlessly once again on stage in October and I keep counting down the days.

So thank you, Sara, for the music. And thanks for being you.