Everyone has their music. That band, that singer, that original cast recording, that movie soundtrack. The one that you realize one day has followed you through the years, marking very specific moments in your life, without even trying. You love their music, but more than that, it is actually ingrained in your life and your memories, and 30 years from now when one of their songs comes through the Bluetooth chip embedded in your head (pretty sure that’s where technology is going), you’ll be transported back to that moment with all of the feelings and images completely intact and as fresh as ever. That music, for me, is Sara Bareilles.
“Gonna quit my job and move to New York and tattoo my body with every Broadway show.” Those are lyrics from “Vegas,” and a boy that I was flirting with hardcore gave me his headphones so I could hear those words and marvel at how wonderful they were. Someone singing about Broadway shows, while we were in the dressing rooms of OUR Broadway show! Doesn’t seem too deep, but I eventually married that boy, and the memory stuck.
“Gravity.” I wanted to sing this song so badly at a concert that I scoured the Internet for the sheet music, and when I realized it hadn’t yet been released, I found someone to transcribe it for me. I sang it at any audition that required a pop/rock song, and because it wasn’t as well known yet as it is now, that song made me look amazingly cool and hip. It also made me cry every time, though I didn’t know why. At least not consciously.
“King of Anything.” This song was part of a playlist called “I Rock,” which I would run to on the treadmill at the gym. The aforementioned marriage did not work out, and the rejection and hurt and anger were raw. Pink, Kelly Clarkson and Sara B. were my support system, through their words and voices and emotion. Eventually I graduated to the acceptance stage and picked myself up, right in time for “Brave” to come out.
“Brave” was a revelation of energy and love, and the first time in months that my tears were born of happiness. It was a turning point, where I learned how to dance by myself in my bedroom, because nobody else was home. And I was okay with that. I could be brave.
“Chasing the Sun” became a new treadmill song, and I was ready to open my heart again, just a little bit.
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Sara’s “Waitress” score sooner than most people, when I auditioned for a reading of it. I wasn’t nervous to sing for her, I just really wanted to remember every single detail about that moment. “She Used To Be Mine” was a song that I couldn’t listen to or sing without collapsing into a pool of tears for about a week. I was in a new relationship with the best man I had ever known, but I was still going through the process of figuring out who I really was and wanted to be. It seemed like I had been given a second chance at being happy, and this song felt like it had been written for my heart.
This was the day I finally met Sara, and she was everything I wanted her to be and more. Sounds cheesy, but I promise you it’s true. She radiates warmth and kindness. There’s nothing disingenuous about her. She listens, and she hears. She also gives excellent hugs.
Cut to one year later, dancing with that wonderful man at our wedding. Our wedding song? “I Choose You.”
Sara Bareilles has been with me through the tough times, the uncertain times, and the most joyous times. She has always been my friend, she just didn’t know it until recently.
“I am not scared of the elements, I am underprepared. But I am willing, and even better, I get to be the other half of you.”