Categories: Arts

Sara Bareilles plays the political scene

Last year, platinum pop songstress Sara Bareilles was nominated for two Grammy Awards thanks to her effervescent debut album, “Little Voice.”

This month, she received another nomination for her infectious single “King of Anything” from “Kaleidoscope Heart,” her sophomore album.

“I think the news is still kind of sinking in, to be honest,” the Eureka-born keyboardist says. “It hasn’t been that long since the record came out, so it was quite a shock. But I had a blast the first time at the Grammys, so I’m excited just to go and run around there again.”

That is nothing compared to another honor recently bestowed on Bareilles, who hits The City in a sold-out show tonight. Hers is the first card flipped to in President Barack Obama’s Rolodex when he and the first lady are recruiting entertainers.

“I don’t know how it happens, but whenever it comes my way, I’ll take it!” she says of the coveted White House gigs, such as playing the Easter Egg Roll this year and the annual Christmas Tree Lighting alongside B.B. King.

Also, she essentially opened for the president at a recent Las Vegas rally for Sen. Harry Reid.

“I’ve been very fortunate with the president and this administration,” says Bareilles, a lifelong Democrat. “I’ve been invited to multiple events and performed for them a handful of times.”

Naturally, there are many security precautions and clearance restrictions, she says. “But they conduct themselves in a very warm, relaxed manner. I felt very starstruck, but they try to dispel that as quickly as possible and make you feel comfortable and welcome.”

An even better assignment was performing at last year’s G-20 summit for Michelle Obama and 19 other first ladies from around the world.

France’s Carla Bruni, Bareilles says, “was the life of the party — charming, witty and very energetic. But there were a lot of language barriers, so everybody had an interpreter. I felt very much like a fly on the wall; I kind of kept my mouth shut and just took it all in.”

Ironically, as Bareilles was racking up career coups, she was battling a severe case of writer’s block on “Kaleidoscope Heart” — until she reflected on the experience itself in “Uncharted” and “King of Anything,” a snarky rebuttal to anyone who reacted unfavorably when she first previewed her hard-won new material.

“I’d fought so hard to even get those songs at all, I was like a protective mama bear,” Bareilles says. “So that song wrote itself in a couple of hours. And I started processing my world through music again, in a way that felt authentic and true.”

IF YOU GO

Sara Bareilles

Where: The Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. today
Tickets: $27.50 to $37
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

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