A chart-topping singer/songwriter exposes “the inner workings of my mind and my heart” through this intimate essay collection anchored with music and humor.
A five-time Grammy Award nominee, Bareilles conveys her life and career in a series of heartfelt, confessional ruminations written with the passion with which she hones her musical craft, forming an entertaining and candid scrapbook chockablock with memories, lyrics, stories, and photographs. A tomboy growing up the youngest of three sisters in northern California’s wooded Humboldt County, the author reveled in building haystacks and catching frogs until her parents’ divorce when she was 12, a devastating event that only exacerbated the self-consciousness she felt as the schoolyard “fat kid…the label I was given by my peers.” Getting in shape and becoming active in theater empowered her throughout adolescence and shaped her onstage presence. The chapters are each named for a song in her repertoire: “Gravity” describes a formative and exquisitely crushing encounter with heartbreak, while “Love Song” chronicles the author’s years as a flourishing artist on the singer/songwriter circuit in Los Angeles (she signed her first record deal in 2005). A unique epistolary section called “Beautiful Girl” includes letters to her former selves to exorcise the demons of the past. Mostly sidestepping hackneyed platitudes for true sentiment, the singer remains genuine whether discussing what she learned while writing on a deadline, the development of her recent theatrical adaptation of “Waitress,” or the vulnerability of exposing her life “without the metaphor and mask of music or my singing voice.” Bareilles also demonstrates a sense of humor, much like fellow musician Ben Folds, who admits, in his playful introduction, to initially repurposing one of her “Little Voice” promotional CDs to counterbalance an uneven leg on his entertainment center.
A breezy, upbeat, and honest reflection of this multitalented artist.