2023 Tony nominee Sara Bareilles is a judge and mentor on the first-ever audio-only singing competition, Audible's Breakthrough, which launched on the service June 1. Bareilles, currently Tony-nominated for her performance as The Baker's Wife in Into the Woods, is on the judging panel with Kelly Rowland, with fellow Broadway favorite Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) hosting.
In the series' fourth episode, releasing June 8, Bareilles and Rowland send the contestants back to the 1960s to explore how musical messages from that era are still relevant today. In this clip from the episode, Bareilles coaches contestant Melanie by sharing a story from the beginnings of her own career, when the Waitress songwriter and star says her label couldn't figure out where to place her.
Listen to how the experience inspired Bareilles' diverse and unique career in the clip below:
"I love that the creative team are on the same journey as our audience—getting to know these artists without seeing them—developing a sense of their artistry through only their music and storytelling," says Bareilles of the series. "These five incredible souls showed up to each challenge with courage and vulnerability that invited us all into a remarkably intimate space, and I learned so much from them. No matter where you are in your career it is always inspiring to witness someone reach for the deepest parts of themselves and be willing to share that tender space."
Bareilles started her career as a singer-songwriter, but has always been public about being a theatre kid at heart. She put her money where her mouth is in 2015, penning the score to the musical adaptation of Waitress and later taking on the lead role during the Broadway run. A live stage capture from the musical's 2021 Broadway return, also starring Bareilles, is set to make its world premiere via simultaneous screenings at Tribeca Film Festival and in Times Square June 12.
To listen to Breakthrough, visit Audible.com.