Before the making of her fourth album, The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles was given a book about the cosmos. She began reading about planets, stars, and constellations, specifically Cassiopeia, which was named after the mythological queen who would brag about her beauty. This would eventually inspire her favorite song off the album, “Cassiopeia.”
Her research eventually led her to the topic of supernovas, the brilliant bursts of light that stars give off when they explode.
“I started to think about how that might feel to personify, you know? The idea of being a star and so far away from everything around you,” she told Radio.com in a recent taped sit-down (above). “What if a star falls in love? The song is this idea that you give something up to come together.”
“When stars collide they explode,” Bareilles continued. “So it’s that sort of idea that you give something up to come together. But it’s worth it in the end.”
This story-behind-the-song might sound a little too New Age-y for some, but for Bareilles, it’s the clearest example of how she’s trying to expand her horizons as a musician.
It’s been three years since Bareilles released her last album, Kaleidoscope Heart, and a lot has changed in her life. The 33-year-old singer went through a break-up (which is addressed on the “Someone Like You”-style ballad “Manhattan”), moved to New York and started taking a closer look at her career.
Bareilles admits that the making of 2007’s Little Voice, which welcomed her to the mainstream with the hit “Love Song,” was a bit of a blur. “I was so overwhelmed by the process, I felt like a deer in headlights a lot of the time,” she said. “I don’t think of it as a negative experience, but I was really young and really overwhelmed.”
By her next album, 2010’s Kaleidoscope Heart, she was in a really safe place, but that hindered her from taking risks. “I think I was dealing with the pressure of it being a follow-up record,” Bareilles admitted. “It’s a blessing to have had success with the record, but I wasn’t expecting it.”
Now that Bareilles is a little older and a little wiser, she wanted to expand her horizons and experiment with her sound on The Blessed Unrest. “As an artist, you need to do that to know your creative boundaries and also to just stay interested in what you’re doing because it gets boring,” she said. “You’ve got to get your juices flowing.”