Sara Bareilles: ‘I was tired of the pop cycle’

Sara Bareilles ended up writing Broadway smash Waitress after growing tired of the “pop artist cycle”.

The musical, based on Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 film of the same name, tells the story of a young waitress trapped in an unhappy marriage with an abusive, controlling husband.

Waitress opened on Broadway in 2016, a year after it premiered in Massachusetts, and made its London West End debut last month (Feb19).


Bareilles revealed to Time Out that the project came out of her want for something different from her career.

“I was burnt out and tired of the pop artist cycle,” she confessed of the music industry’s pressure on artists to write a song, record it, tour it, and start over again.

Following a lunch with director Diane Paulus, Bareilles was alerted to the movie and encouraged by Paulus that it would be a good collaboration for the pair.

“I went home and watched (Waitress), and within a couple of weeks of just chewing on this idea I wrote She Used to Be Mine,” the Love Song hitmaker recalled. “(It) was the first song I wrote for the show.”

Despite admitting to being “f**king terrified” as she embarked on the project, the 39-year-old she was ultimately attracted to the story of “messy people making mistakes and a**holes who have suffered a lot of pain”.

“It felt homemade to me, it wasn’t this big blockbuster,” she continued. “I felt like I could see the people, the messiness.”

And though she found the process intimidating, Bareilles thinks her naivety served her well.

“I didn’t know when I’d make a mistake because I didn’t know what I was doing,” she laughed.