Interview With The Sing Off’s Sara Bareilles

The Sing Off is a really special show with a lot of heart and I love the other judges and so it seemed like a really good thing to be a part of. _Sara Bareilles: Sing-Off Season 3-Judge

Sara Bareilles: Judge-Sing-Off/Season 3

Grammy nominated singer/songwriter | TV Personality
Albums/Songs: Love Song | King of Anything | Little Voice | Kaleidoscope Heart | Gonna Get Over You (Single)
By: Daedrian McNaughton/Premier Guide Media


The Sing-Off scours the country in search of the best a cappella groups and this year competition has expanded to the 16 very best groups who will perform popular songs in a weekly competition that will culminate with a live finale revealing the grand prize winner. The groups will be competing for a chance to walk away with the ultimate prize, a Sony Music recording contract and $200,000.

The Sing-Off airs Mondays on NBC

You have returned to the platform you performed on last season. How does it feel?

Sara Bareilles: It’s really exciting. At the finale I was a total nerd, giddy like bouncing off the walls backstage. I was so excited to be on the show. And then I had to really put on my façade that I’m totally cool about this. But on a lot of levels I’m still freaking out. I love this show. I love that it highlights the genre of music I feel very passionate about and feel like it’s under appreciated. And I’ve got the best seat in the house. I sit in front row and I’m getting to impart my experience and level of wisdom on these people and I feel like I’m learning a lot as well from all of the groups as well as the judges. So it’s been a really exciting choice. I’m really happy I’m a part of the show.

Was it an easy decision for you to join the Sing Off?

Sara Bareilles: The decision was a totally easy one. I have an acappella background and I was also a fan of the show as well as performed on the finale of the Season 2 finale. So when management brought this up to me I was interested. It was kind of a no brainer for me. It’s a really special show with a lot of heart and I love the other judges and so it seemed like a really good thing to be a part of.

How well do you connect with the other judges knowing you are the newbie to the group?

Sara Bareilles: I can’t say enough good things about Ben and Shawn. At the heart of all things, they’re both really kind people and have made it really, really comfortable for me to join up with them in the panel of judges. We had a natural chemistry that started just from Day 1. Ben and I have known each other for a while now and have become friends. But I really met Shawn on the set of the show and we had a really natural chemistry, the three of us. We make each other laugh and we really respect each others’ opinions, so I think it’s a really nice dynamic that if you’re unsure about something or if you have a question or want clarification, I have no qualms in going to either Ben or Shawn to get their opinions to shout what’s going on in my mind or just to get another perspective on what’s happening in front of us. And I think that’s what makes for a good judging panel. I’m one of the people that’s not as interested in the conflict between the judges because I think it takes away from what the show is supposed to be about, which is the contestants singing their heart out. And just for us it’s been a really nice thing to be able to have some solidarity behind the judging panel and really get to focus on the music.

What is you judging style?

Sara Bareilles: I come with a lot of empathy for what they’re going through and a lot of nostalgia for a time in my life that I really, really loved and I think from my judge’s perspective I’m really one of the more emotional ones in terms of the judges that are out there. I get sucked into the story and into their journey and I think that’s part of the fact that I’ve been in those shoes, not in this exact format before but I feel very connected that there’s an all girl group and I felt like I wanted to jump up on stage and be a part of it for a second there. Luckily security held me down before I could actually make it on stage.

Is it difficult to judge these groups?

Sara Bareilles: I think it is hard to do and I didn’t have anything to compare it to in terms of previous seasons of contestants. But I think it does help to clarify things and you do keep in the back of your mind this is a competition for who’s going to be able to make a great record and hopefully connect to a mass audience and has a lot of depth and complexity to what they’re capable of. And it makes it a little easier when you see groups that do it really, really well because you know what’s possible. The most important thing is to keep your personal preference out of it.

What do you look for as a judge?

Sara Bareilles: I’m always looking for the purity of the music. I think there’s a combination someone being a great performer and having an ability to connect with the audience can sometimes transcend minor technical issues or maybe they’re not the most perfect singer in the world. So I think it’s a combination. It’s about being moved by an expression of art and what I love about a cappella is there isn’t anything to hide behind. It’s all voices and sometimes your jaw is on the floor just with the amazing talent of these people on the stage. I can’t even imagine how they’re making the sounds that they do make. They’ve gotten into the levels of people really manipulating tone, and having some incredible bass singers on the show that make it sound like an electric synthesizer and then an upright bass and there’s been a lot of diversity up there which I think is one of the things I look for depth and range and diversity on stage.

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