During a recent show at New York's Beacon Theatre, where she opened up for British singer James Blunt, she cracked jokes, shared anecdotes, and gave a seasoned performance that belied her ingenue status.
And she was definitely connecting with her audience: After one song, when woman screamed out, "You're sexy!" Bareilles countered: "No, you're sexy, girl! I'm feeling you!"
Bareilles didn't always feel so at ease on stage, sometimes rushing through her songs because she figured the audience was eager to see the main attraction. But with the success of the melodic, slightly sarcastic "Love Song," it's safe to say that she's become the main attraction.
The piano-accented hit, which got a huge boost when the music service Rhapsody used it to advertise their service in a television commercial, is still high on the charts after nearly six months. The wit and humor she injects into "Love Song" and her stage act is evident in her oxymoronically titled debut, "Little Voice" - and in her recent interview with The Associated Press.
AP: When you were excited when Rhapsody tapped your song for their TV commercial?
Bareilles: I actually was a little bit apprehensive about it. I had some worries about doing something that was so commercial, because for me it's always been really important to stay focused on the live performance and make sure that my presence in the media overall is about the music, because that's what's most important to me. ... But then I thought, well, it's for a music service, and I like the idea of what Rhapsody is, so I felt like it was OK for me to do it. I had no idea it was going to affect album sales the way it has or even the exposure. I wasn't really thinking that far ahead. It's been a huge blessing for sure.
AP: These days, it seems imperative for artist to have a commercial tie-in. Have you resisted other things?
Bareilles: There's been a few things, like in terms of being in a TV show, or things like that. Never felt comfortable for me - I'm not an actress, I don't pretend to be one, so I always wanted to really focus on songwriting and live performance. But I realize that cross-promotion is imperative, in a lot of ways it's how people find new music now, through television and through movies.