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Sara Bareilles: ‘If I were gay, I’d shout it from the mountaintops’

Josh Jackman September 29, 2018
Hal David Starlight Award Honoree US singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles performs onstage during the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Bareilles is working on a new pop album (ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty)

Sara Bareilles has told PinkNews that the tidal wave of speculation over her sexuality which she set off earlier this year was a complete accident.

The Emmy, Grammy and Tony-nominated singer-songwriter, who was in London to promote her musical Waitress ahead of its West End debut in February, also criticised the Catholic Church and Donald Trump in the interview.

Speaking to PinkNews after she performed at a private press event under bisexual lighting, the “Brave” singer addressed the moment in April when she made what fans thought was a stunning announcement.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: David Josefsberg, Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz take a bow at the curtain call of Broadway's "Waitress" at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on November 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Bareilles after performing in Waitress on Broadway (Nicholas Hunt/Getty)

When a fan asked their followers about “Love Song,” the track which launched Bareilles to prominence, the singer quote-tweeted the post and added: “it was never about a he. ”

Laughing at the memory, Bareilles explained: “I didn’t mean to start such a firestorm!

“Oh my gosh, I felt bad that I had misled anybody. I felt like if I were, I would be shouting it from the mountaintops.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Sara Bareilles attends Cast of "Waitress" performs songs from the Original Broadway Cast Recording at Barnes & Noble, 86th & Lexington on August 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
The singer-songwriter composed smash hit Waitress (Nicholas Hunt/Getty)

“But no, unfortunately for all my wannabe lesbian lovers out there, no, I am not,” she clarified.

“I said it thinking it was going to be more obvious it was about the record label, but I thought it was so entertaining to watch the response to it. It was awesome.”

This emphasis on optimism and honesty runs through Bareilles’ work — including her soon-to-be-released first pop album in five years — which is largely autobiographical, and her public pronouncements.

During the press event, she admitted that if she’d known the weight of work involved with taking on Waitress—which has run for two-and-a-half years on Broadway—she would’ve been too intimidated to say yes, and admitted with no hesitation that she re-wrote the opening song, “What’s Inside,” 18 times.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Sara Bareilles performs onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
Bareilles performing (Theo Wargo/Getty)

The singer also revealed that the show, which is the first on Broadway to feature an all-female creative team, was “the great love of my life.”

Bareilles couples this commitment to honesty with a genuine enthusiasm that overflows when she talks about the LGBT+ community.

Her 2013 song “Brave,” which she wrote for a friend who was struggling with coming out, has been used in countless same-sex wedding proposals and first dances, which she said was “incredible.

“It’s my honour and my privilege to be an ally—someone who uses whatever platform I have to help articulate things that don’t get said enough.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 14: Hal David Starlight Award Honoree Sara Bareilles poses backstage during the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame)
“It’s my honour and my privilege to be an ally” (Gary Gershoff/Getty)

“I was very lucky to be embraced and exposed to the LGBTQ community from a really young age, so it’s just—that’s my community, so why wouldn’t I want to step forward and embrace and embolden their message and their words?

“Hopefully I do it respectfully and always speak on behalf of people, but always while trying to learn as much as I can and offer whatever I can to be a soldier of love.”

The Californian singer, who revealed that her favourite musical theatre karaoke song was “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” which she performed earlier this year during NBC’s live Jesus Christ Superstar, said that many in the Catholic Church could do with placing more importance on love.

Bareilles grew up in a Catholic family which emphasised acceptance and compassion, values which were abandoned by the more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania who, last month, were found to have raped and sexually abused thousands of boys and girls.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Sara Bareilles attends the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Bareilles hosted the Tony Awards this year (Jemal Countess/Getty)

This led some figures in the Church, including US Cardinal Raymond Burke, to blame the spread of “homosexual culture” for the priests’ actions, while one priest in Chicago was removed this week after cutting up and burning an LGBT+ Pride flag.

“We’re watching the effects of where Catholicism needs to do a little evolution,” said the star. “I think that sometimes there are these hard and fast rules that don’t reflect the consciousness of the world anymore.

“I understand people’s reverence for legacy and tradition, but I really believe in the more fundamental truth of what I think Catholicism is built around, the golden rule that Christianity is built around.”

That rule, she said, was: “Love each other. Period. Love each other. No judgment. It’s not my place to judge anything.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 21: Singer Sara Bareilles attends an FYC Event for NBC's "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert" at the Egyptian Theatre on May 21, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
“Love each other. Period. Love each other. No judgment. It’s not my place to judge anything” (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

“I don’t have judgment about it, but for those people who do, I just really think love is bigger than anything else, and that’s the torch I want to burn.”

When asked whether Trump and his administration could learn a thing or two from this sentiment, she lashed out at the president for creating a culture of fear, saying: “I think it’s a really challenging time for the world.

“Unfortunately, the main tool of this administration seems to be fear. They incite and prey on people’s vulnerabilities by fanning the flames of fear. It’s an old tactic that’s worked a million times.”

But, she said, outrage of the likes found on Twitter was not the answer.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Sognwriter Sara Beth Bareilles attends "Waitress" Broadway Opening Night - Arrival & Curtain Call at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
She said that outrage of the likes found on Twitter was not the answer (Brad Barket/Getty)

“I’m not sure anger is the best response. I’m more interested in being a problem-solver,” she explained.

“It does make me angry, but I want to be channelling my energy towards problem-solving and being someone who’s energised towards a solution and encouraging compassion and honesty and vulnerability and advocacy.

“That’s where I want to spend my energy, because I think especially in online communities, it’s really easy to just be combative, and I don’t believe in that, as a fundamental methodology.”

For queer people currently being targeted by the Trump administration’s attempts to ban transgender people from the military and undermine LGBT+ rights in the name of religious liberty, she said: “Lean into your communities and know that there are safe spaces.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Sara Bareilles attends a live performance from the cast of Broadway's Waitress at Barnes & Noble, 86th & Lexington on August 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for DMI)
“I think love is the answer for absolutely everything” (Craig Barritt/Getty)

“Community organising is definitely a huge and beautiful tool for making great change, and there are allies, people who are ready to stand and be advocates.”

And what message should these advocates shout from the mountaintops? Why, love, of course.

“I think love is the answer for absolutely everything,” said Bareilles.

“It’s Jesus’s message, it’s Buddha’s message, it’s Muhammad’s message. Love is the answer.”

More: Broadway, Catholic Church, Donald Trump, entertainment, Music, musicals, sara bareilles, Theatre, US, US, waitress, West End

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