Sara Bareilles Talks ‘Girls5Eva’ and Her Journey as an Artist Who Does It All

Video Source: Youtube

The following interview for our Spring 2021 BackstageFest, a virtual celebration of the year's best and buzziest TV, was compiled in part by Backstage readers just like you! Follow us on Twitter (@Backstage) and Instagram (@backstagecast) to stay in the loop on upcoming interviews and to submit your questions.

From starting as a singer-songwriter with the release of her debut studio album “Careful Confessions” in 2004 and her major-label debut “Little Voice” in 2007 to writing and composing for 2015’s smash Broadway musical “Waitress” to co-showrunning and creating “Little Voice” on AppleTV+, Sara Bareilles truly has done it all. Now, the Grammy, Emmy, and Tony–nominated artist has taken her talents to act on the small screen on Peacock’s “Girls5eva,” from creator Meredith Scardino and executive producer Tina Fey. In a recent interview, Bareilles sat down with us for BackstageFest to talk about shooting during the pandemic with co-stars Busy Phillips, Paula Pell, and Renée Elise Goldsberry; how to deal with writer’s block; and how she got into performing in the first place. 

Filming during the pandemic was stressful, but gratifying.
“We started filming in October of last year, and it was crazy. I think it really informed the process because all the protocols were brand new. It was always a question mark of, ‘Are we even going to be able to complete production on this?’ God forbid you get a positive test, what does that mean for the whole crew? It really informed how everyone came to set; we were so grateful to be working and take breaks from the people we lived with and to go do something creative that was also about laughter and joy and music and so much silliness. It was good for the soul.”

Bareilles is a self-identified “dreamchaser.”
“You have to allow yourself to let the impossible things be possible because what is this life? When any small blessing or miracle happens, if you are always in resistance to the fact that it is true then I think less magic shows up. I’m a firm believer in the universe [being] on your team, and it wants to bring you bounty. It can be small blessings, it doesn’t have to be a phone call from Tina Fey, but I’m lucky I got one!”

She never imagined finding herself here when she started her career almost 20 years ago.
“Every good thing [in my career] has come from following that impulse to go where it's warm and go toward joy. Working on ‘Waitress,’ I moved to New York and I was just looking for something different. I’m such a huge theater lover, and grew up doing musical theater. I took a peek to see if there were opportunities waiting for me there and I said yes as an exploration just because it made me happy. And then that show changed my life in every shape and form. This show [‘Girls5Eva’] was the same. Say yes to the part of you that feels a little bit scared but excited at the same time. I never in a million, trillion years would have imagined my life taking the shape it has.”

Bareilles’ advice for young artists is to take any opportunity you can to perform and to take things more lightly.
“Get in front of people when it’s safe to do so. There’s a lot of pressure to develop something online and have it go viral, but the sweet spot is these small, interpersonal moments that you just gather over time. I was a very grassroots artist, and I toured my ass off. It was not glamorous, we shared one hotel room and checked for dead bodies in the closet. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I learned so much about who I am. The reason I can go into these other places is because I got to know who I am on those little tiny stages in front of strangers. The second piece of advice is to just lighten up. Hold it lightly, it means the world and it means nothing all at the same time. Let it be the ephemeral magic that it is. Music, inspiration, creativity—none of it belongs to any of us. So let it be fairy dust, and honor it as such by enjoying it.”

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