I’m pretty sure Kiss FM core artist Sara Bareilles never thought being in a cappella groups in school would help score her a high profile TV gig later in life.
But that is one of the main reasons why this 32-year-old singer-songwriter joins NBC’s “The Sing Off” in its third season as a judge. Sara takes the place of Nicole Scherzinger (who was drafted by Simon Cowell to become part of the X Factor judging panel) and sits alongside fellow singer-songwriter judges Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman (of Boyz II Men). The show is also hosted by Nick Lachey (formerly of the boy band 98 degrees). The Sing-Off is another singing competition. But it differentiates itself from the pack by only featuring a cappella groups. They compete in weekly competitions without lip syncing and without the luxury of a backing band, only their voices. One group is eliminated each week leading up to the “live” finale where the winner will receive a Sony Music recording contract and $200,000.
Certainly, Sara Bareilles gets cred for previously earning three Grammy nominations. But what else makes her a great judge of talent on a TV show? Well, I’ve personally had the pleasure of meeting Sara and know she has depth and a super personality, but my good friend Lisa Sonkin, VP of Triple A and Public Radio Promotion at Columbia Records, probably sums it up the best by saying: “Sara is an incredibly gifted singer-songwriter, but it’s her luminous personality, quick witted sense of humour, honesty and experience in a cappella groups in school that make her a perfect fit for a show like The Sing Off. She is a dream to work with. The show is lucky to have her!”
I also think Sara is lucky to have someone like Lisa, who you will never find patting herself on the back. I believe an artist’s success also comes from people like Lisa who spend their days developing and promoting artists with amazing passion. Lisa worked with Sara for several years as her record label representative at Epic records (a branch of Sony Music). And by the way, this is the same Lisa Sonkin that Train personally thanked on TV during their Grammy acceptance speech earlier this year. Like many of the pop artists now a days on judging panels who seem to release new songs around the time their TV show hits primetime (like Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera), Sara Bareilles will no doubt use The Sing Off as a platform to her advantage to help reach a new audience for her music.
Far from the days (but not that far) of the breakout hit Love Song, which is probably how you know Sara best and ironically a song she wrote almost out of spite for the record company who wanted her to write a love song (cue lyric “I’m not gonna write you a love song”), Sara Bareilles has definitely upped her game and her career (and her potential for attending A list parties).
Her latest album Kaleidoscope Heart has been out since last fall, but it’s feeling some longevity as she just released the third single from it called Gonna Get Over You. Catch Sara Bareilles on The Sing Off Monday nights on NBC, and all of her latest music playing now on 106.1 Kiss FM.
Blake Rogers is programme director, X107.1 Morning Show host and Kiss FM afternoon host for dms Broadcasting.