INTERVIEW: Rachael Sage

How would you classify your music?

I’ve been describing my music for a while as “chamber-pop”, because it contains elements of classical music – violin, cello, orchestral wind and horn instruments – along with pop, rock & folk. I’m describing my new album as “ballet pop”, because it’s a collection of chamber-pop songs inspired by my relationship to dance.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?  

Some of my biggest influences include The Beatles, Suzanne Vega, Carole King, Maria McKee, and Billy Joel.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

My hope is that when people hear my songs, they feel empowered, and less alone in challenges they may be facing. I’ve always done my best to approach the subjects that fascinate or inspire me through an empathetic lense, and my goal has always been to expand emotional moments in a way that encourages and uplifts. It’s a never-ending quest to learn how to channel my experiences – real and imaginative – into something universal. I’m always learning more about connecting, and conveying stories more effectively whether on stage or in the studio. If I had to say

Tell us about your latest single release, “Try TryTry?”  

I wrote “Try TryTry” while I was on tour in the UK, a little less than a year ago. I had just met a musician who swept me off my feet, quite literally, while I was on tour in Los Angeles. We’d met through a mutual friend at a gig and by the end of the night, we were jamming together on stage, and after the gig he asked me out which seemed perfectly normal even though it was totally surreal. I wrote the song from a place of pure anticipation, in that moment where you’ve connected with someone immediately and all you feel is endless possibility, just being in each other’s presence. Musically, I was aiming for a classic rock-pop feel, somewhere between Buddy Holly, Tom Petty and Joan Jett. It’s been fun to perform this song live on electric guitar and get out from behind the piano, for a change!

 What do you like and dislike about the Music Business in your opinion?

My favorite thing about the music business is that there is always more to learn, and experienced, inspiring veterans in the biz – as well as trailblazing young newbies – from whom to learn. It’s a business that’s always changing and evolving, and is continually challenging. It pushes anyone pursuing a career in music to dig deeply for emotional, creative and intellectual resources on a continual basis; I think it’s impossible to be lazy or complacent in this business and move forward. Incidentally, those are all the things I also dislike about the Music Business, depending on the day!

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?
The best concert I’ve ever been to was Elvis Costello &The Brodsky Quartet performing “The Juliette Letters” at Town Hall, in NYC. It was his last night of the tour, and he decided to perform the entire album again, at the end of the encore!

My favorite thing about performing live is element of risk. In so many other areas of life, it seems like risk is something we may romanticize but ultimately deem too reckless to embrace. On stage, risk is the element that creates surprise, innovation, and that shared spark between a performer and the audience, relishing a unique moment that can never happen again. It’s a feeling that’s incomparable to anything else – when you’re completely present, and preparation meets spontaneity in the most gratifying way.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

I think I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin, and with my relationship to movement. As a former dancer, for many years I tended to hide not only behind the piano, but behind the assertion that the only important thing about my performance were my lyrical and musical ideas. While that’s positive in theory and encouraged my craft as a songwriter, there was a certain amount of sadness I was masking. My departure from an early career in dance was abrupt and part of the way I coped was to focus all my creative energy everywhere else but in my body.  But I’ve always maintained the spirit of a dancer, and now I’m giving myself the freedom to explore that connection again…whether I’m holding a guitar or improvising in a video.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, get drinks with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be? 

I’d love to have dinner with Yoko Ono. I just think she’s one of the most fascinating, fearless individuals alive today. If Meryl Streep happened to drop by for dessert, or Glen Hansard wanted to jam at the after-party, I definitely wouldn’t complain!

What lies ahead for you this year?

I’m excited to tour for the next few months throughout the US, and to play some festivals over the summer! In the Fall I’ll be touring throughout the UK, Netherlands & Germany, as well as mounting an art show at a local gallery in NYC.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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