About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Rachael Sage Wants You To Bring On The Next Obstacle
Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Pop singer/songwriter Rachael Sage is all about overcoming obstacles. One recent obstacle she had to overcome involved a performance at New York City’s famed Lincoln Center when she was asked to not just sing, but to cook. “I live cooked on stage,” Sage says, still excited about the experience, “and I sang, and danced, and it was projected on the wall, and I have only cooked like eggs, and made peanut butter sandwiches, my whole life, so that was kind of wild for me.” The outcome, according to Sage, was a good one, although she would have seen the positive qualities in even the most negative of finales. “I didn’t set the place on fire, but that would have been more interesting.”

Sage is currently ten albums deep into her career, and runs the independent label MPress Records, but she welcomes these kinds of unique experiences as she says she’s still attempting to figure out who she is. “I think part of why I make art, and why I write songs still, is because I have no idea who I am day to day (just) as often as I am cocksure of exactly who I am and what I want to do. There are days when I wake up and I couldn't be more at ease and grateful of this life, of running a record label and having other artists in my midst to inspire me and to help, and then other days I wake up and wish that I could take off six months to be in an off Broadway play.” For Sage, this isn’t mental anguish, it’s something she embraces. “All of that is really healthy and important because if you ever get to a point where everything is just fine and perfect and you don’t have the burning questions anymore about what you have to offer on the planet, you’re kind of screwed as an artist. What is there left to do?”

Lately, Sage’s mind has been on human interaction. Her most recent album, last year’s Haunted By You, is all about relationships, as relationships, according to Sage, are the key to understanding oneself. “Every interaction with every human being that you have, especially if it’s romantic, involves, to some degree, a reckoning with who you are, and what you’re all about, and whether that’s changing, or evolving, or needs some resetting.” Sage explored a lot of this while writing Haunted By You. “I think my way of figuring all that out at the time I was working on the album was to just write about having my eyes wide open again and trying to keep my heart open, even though I did experience some unrequited love, and also perhaps dished it out unknowingly a little bit, but that’s just life. The thing that I was most eager to capture was a renewed sense of wanting passion in my life, and to be surrounded by like-passionate people, even as it applies to work, and art, and everything across the board, because I had been in a situation that had felt too safe, and too complacent, in a way. I think I’m kind of like waking up from some kind of slumber.”


Writing music has always been emotional for Sage, whose passion began “from the time I could reach the piano,” but truly started to blossom when she had to deal with bullying at school. “What really prompted me to start writing lyrics was that confusion, and the isolation, that I felt when my peers, kids, were picking on me. I didn’t understand it.” As time passed she noticed a correlation between what she was writing and what she was hearing on the radio. “I realized that what I was doing was a little bit more like a Journey ballad, maybe a little quirkier, but I still wanted it to have strong hooks like a Madonna song.”

Almost instantaneously her goal became to turn what she was doing, and what she was feeling, into something more people could connect with. She’d already seen the beginnings of this, as she notes she was receiving positive feedback “even by people who weren’t nice to me.” That quickly became another motivating factor. “It made it pretty clear to me that music was so powerful, and could transcend every kind of obstacle that you can imagine.”

Whether it’s grade school bullying, or attempting to cook in front of a live audience, Sage continues to use her music to overcome obstacles. This time around she tackled relationships, but someone could throw a mountain in front of her tomorrow, and her next project might very well be an album full of rock climbing tunes in reply. The one thing we can be sure of is that whatever happens next, it will find its way into her music.


Interview originally ran on Arena.com.

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