Rachael Sage and her 24/7 approach to music
When Rachael Sage takes the stage at The Town Hall Thursday night to open up for Beth Hart, it’s not just another gig for the singer-songwriter.
“Town Hall has been a venue I’ve dreamed of playing since I was a kid and I also saw my very favorite artist — Elvis Costello — there,” she said. “I thought, ‘Someday I’m going to play on this stage.’ And now it’s happening. So I’m very, very fortunate.”
Fortunate is buying your first lottery ticket and winning a hundred million dollars. What got Sage to this point is a mix of talent, hard work and determination, and it’s not gone unnoticed by her peers, as Sage’s tour with Hart will be followed by a series of UK dates with Howard Jones. In this day and age in the music business, that kind of busy is a good thing.
“I am so grateful for that and I say my little prayer of gratitude every day about that because I get to do what I love and this is absolutely my full-time gig, between touring and running my record label and supporting other artists on the label,” she said. “So, it’s music 24/7 for me, or at least 18/7.”
With 12 full-length albums under her belt and the label she founded, MPress Records, to run, there is probably more 24/7 than 18/7, but Sage isn’t slowing down and she isn’t looking back either. It’s full speed ahead, on stage and off.
“I really, really enjoy it,” she said. “I get off stage and I have that hanging time at the gig and I’m at the merch table talking to listeners and I have that connection to what I’m doing that reminds me why it’s so important to me to also provide that platform to other artists who I believe in. Then I go back to the hotel, and I’ve never been one for eight hours sleep, (Laughs) so I spend another several hours working on MPress stuff until 3, 4, 5 in the morning, and that’s my life. I don’t have any complaints about it.”
Especially not when she gets on tours like this that will not just help her promote her 2016 album Choreographic, but also expose her to audiences that may not have seen her otherwise.
“We are very diverse artists,” said Sage of the tour with Hart. “I’m sure Beth would agree that our music is very, very different, and yet, that’s exciting to be able to support another artist who I’ve admired for a long time. To share the stage is an honor and a pleasure, but it’s exciting that our different audiences will get to hear the other artist and hopefully open themselves up to each other’s entire new world.
“I have a very personal and passionate relationship to the blues and many blues artists,” she continues. “And I know she (Hart) has always had a foot in pop and had her own pop hits as well, but people do tend to pigeonhole artists, especially female artists, by genre in the U.S. I have found out that in Europe that is not that much the case — music is music and you might have a variety of different genres and artists on the same bill and it’s no big deal. It’s totally normal. But here, it’s unusual, and so for me, that aspect of it is very exciting in addition to me being a big fan of what she does.”
It’s a big start to what promises to be a big year for Sage, an artist who has paid her dues in the trenches for a long time. Yet fans of Hart and Jones who are hearing her for the first time may be wondering who this “new” artist is. And that’s just fine with her.
“There’s nothing more exciting than being brand new, being born again, and I often joke that I’m perpetually emerging,” Sage laughs. “I played a folk festival this summer where I was featured on an emerging artist stage, and that’s the best. I think the opportunity to perform for a new audience and hopefully win over some new listeners and connect with people who don’t have any pre-conceptions about you is what many artists hope for. I’m lucky to have these opportunities.”
Rachael Sage plays The Town Hall in New York City on Thursday, February 16. For tickets, click here