Reporting Shannon Carlin
Sara Bareilles current single “Brave” was written for a friend who was having trouble coming out to his family.
Since its release over a month ago, the song—co-written by fun.’s Jack Antonoff—has found its way into the LGBT community and deeply resonated, thanks to its encouraging message. Toss in a shout-out from George Takei, and the song is practically an anthem. However, all the love for “Brave” has surprised Bareilles.
“The messaging of the song felt anthemic to me personally,” Bareilles told Radio.com about the track, which she wrote not only for her friend, but also as a way to address her own demons. “But I didn’t really realize that it was going to connect in the way that it did, and it’s really amazing to watch this song sort of take on a life of its own.”
On her recent solo tour, Bareilles asked fans to share some of their bravest moments by writing them down on a postcard that she would feature on her website. “It’s not like people were writing, ‘I’m brave enough to win the basketball game,’” she explained. “It was like, ‘I’m brave enough to tell my family who I really am.’”
The stories that were shared actually inspired Bareilles to turn her “Brave Enough” postcards into an initiative. She hopes to get the concept into schools in the next year.
“It’s a really reflective process to look at your fears in that way,” Bareilles said. “And what I like about the concept of brave is that it’s not about the outcome. It’s about the intention of turning to face what scares you.”
This is something she believes our country needs to do when it comes to the issue of gay marriage, particularly as the Supreme Court prepares to make a decision on two high profile same-sex marriage cases. The first is the decision on overturning Proposition 8, California’s 2008 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The other is whether the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)–the 1996 law that restricts federal marriage benefits be given to only heterosexual couples–should be ruled unconstitutional. The decisions are slated to come by the end of June, and could arrive as soon as this week.
“I think for me this has always been a human rights issue and I feel embarrassed that we’re still having these conversations in 2013,” she said. “I understand why [the issue] is complicated, but to me its such an obvious development that just has to happen.”
Bareilles hopes the Supreme Court’s decision sways in favor of the majority of America. According to a Gallup Poll conducted in May, 53 percent of Americans think the law should recognize same-sex marriage. This is the third consecutive poll this year that showed a reading of 50 percent or more.
Another poll done by the Pew Research Center indicated that 72 percent of Americans believe that “legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable.” Even among those who say they oppose same-sex marriage, 59 percent believe a law will pass legalizing it.
Bareilles said growing up in an open-minded theater community full of gay men, she never really understood why anyone was against the idea of two people being able to marry.
“I’m grateful that I was raised in that environment to raise my kids in that same mentality,” she said. “I see change. It’s happening. But you know, we’re behind the times and we’ve got to catch up.”
Fifteen other countries around the world have already legalized same-sex marriage, including Belgium, Spain, Iceland, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the Netherlands, which was the first country to recognize gay marriage in 2001.
But Bareilles knows that whether it’s this week or this year or ten years from now, change will happen, thanks to the countless people who won’t stop fighting until everyone is given the right to marry.
“I look back on these moments and on some level I feel gratitude to be here while I’m watching this change come and I know it’s gonna come and it should have happened already,” she said. “I think it’s time. I think it’s so past the time. And I’m grateful that there are so many people tirelessly working to get this issue to the forefront. To get us moving forward to be open minded, accepting, compassionate people towards each other.”
Bareilles’ song “Brave” is featured on her upcoming album, The Blessed Unrest, out July 16.