We caught up with the talented multi-instrumentalist Rachael Sage to talk all things music, inspiration, and what we can expect from her in the future…
2018 was such a busy year for you, what would you say was your favourite part?
Without question, my favourite highlight of 2018 was touring the U.S. for 7 weeks with the brilliant Howard Jones! I grew up absolutely adoring his music and he was very big influence on my own songwriting, so to have the opportunity to listen to his music every night was a pleasure, as well as a nightly masterclass in how to connect with an audience. He’s a wonderful storyteller, and an all-around beautiful human.
With your last album you took a leap to a more guitar focused sound than your older songs, what was making that step like for you?
I approach making music very similarly to how I also approach creating visual art. Playing and composing on the guitar just brings out a different type of attitude and prompts me sing in a more stream of consciousness, natural way – perhaps because I play it more simply than piano. Sometimes limitations can be very freeing! I also just enjoy the physicality of holding and singing with a guitar, in a different way from my orientation to the piano. I would say I find the guitar to be more of a spiritual comfort whereas the piano is like another limb – I’ve been playing it so long I tend to take it for granted!
We all loved ‘Myopia’ so much, but what was your personal favourite track?
My favourite track is “Alive”, because it really encompasses my philosophy in general as an artist, which is about remaining viscerally appreciative of the miracle that is individual self-expression. Every opportunity to share one’s creative passion is an opportunity to distill what is most essential, most magical about simply being human. It’s a song that also celebrates the courage and vitality of one of my favourite artists, Frida Kahlo, who managed to turn every physical obstacle she faced into soulful, beautiful reflections of courage and empathy. I think we all relate to her story because we want to be able to live with less fear, and more determination. To truly be be oneself, so fervently, is something that requires a huge amount of life-force, with all of the external pressures we each face. I wrote “Alive” to be an anthem for appreciating the good, the beauty and positivity that exists in the world, and how we can each spill that awareness into the lives of those we love.
What are you looking forward to most about your UK tour later this year?
I’m delighted to be touring with Heather Peace in May, and am looking forward to hearing her live and getting to know her! Some people may not be aware of it but my main pursuit in my teens and early 20’s was acting, and I’m still very interested in the craft of acting, in theatre and tv/film. I’ve written quite a few songs sparked by various characters I’ve played, and I love meeting other polymaths who share multiple creative passions; of course it will be an honour to perform for her audiences! I also have a bunch of festivals lined up this summer including Cornbury, which will be so much fun. I just love touring in the UK – it really is my “home away from home”!
What did you enjoy about shooting most about ‘Snowed In’?
It was actually the first video I was not directly featured in, so that was kind of an interesting experience of “letting go”! I enjoyed the surprise of seeing my music interpreted so boldly by a filmmaker in a way I would absolutely never have come up with myself. Martine (the director) approaches things much more cinematically than any other collaborator I’ve ever worked with, so it was exciting seeing the song through her eyes, and I really appreciated the diverse, talented cast she pulled together, as well as her eye for detailed art direction.
If you could collaborate with any other artist (alive or dead) who would you pick and why?
I would have loved to collaborate somehow with Janis Joplin. I have always loved her voice and her overall artistic aesthetic so much! There are so many songs I’ve written that in my head are sung with that kind of unbridled, unselfconscious, rock wail…or a “whisper to a scream” bluesy approach – but it’s just not something that I do as a vocalist. As a songwriter though, to hear her sing one of my songs, with her signature primal, guttural authenticity and soulfulness, would have been an unparalleled thrill.
A lot of your songs have been on Dance Moms. Which dance to one of you songs was your favourite and why?
My favourite was “Down My Spine”. It’s a song about body dysmorphia inspired by a close friend – a peer at The School Of American Ballet – who was suffering from anorexia. I wrote it shortly after my own ballet career ended, and hadn’t listened to it again in many years. Honestly, I was stunned that such a young dancer could interpret such a complex concept with so much sensitivity and soulfulness. Maddie Ziegler’s artistry, even as such a young age, completely blew my mind!
And looking forward, what do have in store for all of us in 2019?
I’ll be releasing a companion acoustic album to “Myopia”, entitled “PseudoMyopia”, in late March. It’s a stripped-down collection of 11 tracks from my previous album, but with completely new acoustic arrangements. It sounds a lot more like how I’ve been performing the songs live, with just strings and guitar. I’m very proud of it, and can’t wait to share it with my UK listeners!
Check out Rachael’s new album ‘Myopia’ below (and on all digital streaming platforms), and head to her Twitter to make sure you don’t miss the upcoming release of her music video ‘Snowed In’.