Since Sara Bareilles’ sophomore effort, Kaleidoscope Heart, debuted as the No. 1 Billboard album, she’s been stunned as to how and why she became the Queen of Anything. In its first week, Kaleidoscope Heart – which features the single “King of Anything” – sold over 90,000 copies.

“In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined it was going to wind up as the No. 1 record. I really didn’t. I am totally shocked by that,” tells Bareilles. “We haven’t done a ton of high visibility promotion, and I have one song on the radio. I think it’s a testament to how amazing my fans are. To have those kinds of fans that are out there waiting and sharing it with their friends, it’s just been awesome.”

A second album notoriously serves as the most nerve-wracking for many artists; even the unconventional Bareilles was swept away by anxiety.  

“The theme for me in this record is all about embracing change and embracing fear actually. I was really nervous to share music again and worried about people’s expectations,” admits Bareilles, who asked herself, “Was I going to be able to live up to what came before?”

“I think the trick is to divorce yourself as much as possible from those sets of expectations and just try to be present,” she reveals. “Remember that any record is just a snapshot of where you are at any given time.”

While often times the harshest critic truly is yourself, Bareilles has encountered harsher. After reading unflattering reviews of her friends’ records that had been released, Bareilles penned “Machine Gun,” a powerful pop tune aimed at nasty critics.

“The difficulty with art is when you’re sharing your artistry with the world, it’s still a very vulnerable place to be,” tells Bareilles. “I just find it really frustrating sometimes that critics seem to have no issue with ripping someone apart top to bottom. Sometimes it’s a well educated opinion, and sometimes it’s just people being nasty.”

Putting things into perspective, Bareilles comments, “Any way you slice it, it’s just one person’s opinion.”

The process of narrowing down the perfect song selection for Kaleidoscope Heart wasn’t easy for Bareilles and producer Neal Avron.

“This is the first time I’ve had more than enough material. We recorded 18 songs knowing that we were only going to get 12 or 13 on the record. We just kind of picked the songs that made the most sense with each other and really the songs that came to life in the recording process,” says Bareilles. “It was toward the end of recording I felt like, ‘OK, this is the record.’”

While a few of the remaining songs have ended up as exclusive tracks for vendors like Walmart and Target, only time will tell the fate of the unused material. Equally as exciting as the album’s success is this week’s kickoff of the Kaleidoscope Heart tour.

“I’m working on something with some old friends to try to have them come out and sing with me, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen,” reveals Bareilles about her upcoming L.A. show.

As her fan base grows and the venues become larger, Bareilles strives to keep an intimacy with her fans. The L.A. stop, the Orpheum, seats about 1,200, but Bareilles is determined to still connect with the audience.  

“That’s my favorite part of being on stage is having that very intimate exchange with the audience,” shares Bareilles. “We’ve put a lot of work into making this tour special and to make this fan experience something that they will remember.”

Though Bareilles enjoyed her time in the studio, she thinks it’s time to hit the road.

“I’m really ready,” she says. “I’ve been waiting for the tour. I’m really excited to share this music and to pour my energy into the live experience now.”

Bareilles extends special gratitude to Campus Circle readers.  

“I’ve been so overwhelmed by the support of people of that age range. I just want to say thank you to the fans that are out there buying the music,” says Bareilles. “I’m really grateful.”



Kaleidoscope Heart is currently available. Sara Bareilles performs Sept. 28 at the Orpheum. For more information, visit sarabmusic.com.