Eureka native and renowned singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles will be attending the annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26 with the possibility of walking away with the ceremony's most prestigious award -- Album of the Year.
Her latest album, “The Blessed Unrest,” which was released in July, received the nomination earlier this month alongside albums by Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Taylor Swift.
Along with Album of the Year, Bareilles was also nominated for the recently introduced Best Pop Solo Performance award for her single, “Brave.”
So far, the award has only been won by singer-songwriter Adele.
Bareilles' mother, Eureka resident Bonnie Halvorsen, said her daughter gained an early interest in theater and music, but she never knew what would become of it.
”When she's dancing on the coffee table as a kid with her little sisters, I didn't think about her having a musical career,” Halvorsen said. “We've always just encouraged her to go for it.”
The versatile 34-year-old musician can now play five instruments, but Halvorsen said Bareilles' got her start as a 6-year-old when she wrote her first song.
”We had a piano at the house and she sort of taught herself,” Halvorsen said. “She took a couple piano lessons, but didn't really like them too much. She's always wanted to do things her own way.”
Along with music, Bareilles took a keen interest in theater after watching her mother and older sister, Stacey, perform at the Ferndale Repertory Theatre. She continued performing when she went to Eureka High School.
Shannon Effa, a former English and drama instructor at the school, directed a school production of the musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” in which Bareilles played the lead role of Audrey.
”No one is a shoe-in,” Effa said. “And then, of course, she tried out and was amazing in the musical. Her voice was pretty spectacular.”
Robert Taylor, a former band director at Eureka High, conducted the production and said Bareilles' performance garnered a lot of attention.
”Besides the sensational singing, Sara's acting and comedic timing were a big part of the success of the production,” Taylor said. “Word spread so quickly about the show that closing night was significantly delayed due to a line all the way around the EHS auditorium to get in.”
Both of the former instructors said they hope Bareilles wins.
Bareilles' father, Paul Bareilles, of Eureka, said he could not be more proud of Sara and his three other daughters.
”I've got four girls, and they're all wonderful,” Paul Bareilles said. “We got a really good deal.”
Paul Bareilles previously accompanied his daughter to the Grammy Awards in 2011, when she was nominated for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance award for her song “King of Anything.” In regard to this year's nomination, Paul Bareilles said his daughter put a lot of work into creating a whole different album.
”If you listen to all her songs, there are some really good messages in there,” Paul Bareilles said. “She puts a tremendous amount of thought into her lyrics.”
Going back to her roots in musical theater, Halvorsen said Sara Bareilles is currently writing the music for an upcoming musical adaptation of the 2007 film, “Waitress.”
”She's never done it before,” Halvorsen said. “She likes challenging herself.”
The singer-songwriter is also tackling another art medium by writing an autobiographical book.
”I think she always goes to back to touring because she loves the audience,” Halvorsen said.
Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Will_S_Houston