Sara Bareilles performs at Union Station on March 1, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.
Her music and her voice sound so sweet. But in many of her songs, such as her 2007 breakthrough hit, "Love Song," "King of Anything," and "Brave," Sara Bareillis is actually not-so-sweetly telling someone off.
"I am nice. I want the best for people," Bareilles told correspondent Ben Tracy. "But I don't like to be told what to do, and I'm really stubborn.
"I mean what I say. The songs that I write come from my heart."
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
Left: Singer Sara Bareilles poses for a portrait during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2007 in Park City, Utah.
Bareilles grew up in Eureka, Calif., and taught herself to play piano. She sang at Dodger Stadium when she was 14 years old, and admits to being addicted to musical theatre. (She played Audrey in a high school production of "Little Shop of Horrors.")
During college at UCLA, she played small shows all over Los Angeles. But then she met some guys in a band named Kara's Flowers, who eventually called themselves Maroon 5. They took Bareilles out on tour.
"Those boys changed the trajectory of my life in a big way, and yeah, I'm forever grateful," she said.
Valhalla, N.Y.Musician Sara Bareilles attends the 95.5 WPLJ-FM's 17th Annual Scott & Todd live broadcast & auction at Blythedale Children's Hospital on December 22, 2008 in Valhalla, New York.
Sara Bareilles performs at the 2nd Annual "Grammy in the Schools Live!" at USC Grand Ballroom on February 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Her breakout hit "Love Song" was the singer-songwriter's response to her record label, which had been pressuring her to write radio-friendly hits.
It was, Bareilles told CBS News' Ben Tracy, "kind of a nasty song, but it was very tongue-in-cheek, which is so me to, like, be nasty in a passive-aggressive way!"
"I'm trying to let you hear me as I am!
I'm not going to write you a love song
Because you asked for it,
Because you need one, you see."
The irony was that, after writing what was basically a kiss-off to record execs, Bareilles got the phone call: "It's like, 'We love it! We're on board!' Are you crazy? Who's playing this joke on me in my life?"
Bareilles' first studio album, "Colorful Confessions" (2004), led to a contract with Epic Records. She followed with "Little Voice" (2007), featuring the track "Love Song," which hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Pop Chart.
"Love Song" earned Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Bareilles' 2010 album, "Kaleidoscope Heart," featured the song, "King of Anything," which again earned Bareilles a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy nod.
Sara Bareilles performs at the Simon G. Jewelry "Spring Bling" event benefiting the Lili Claire Foundation, at The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino, May 30, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"I think the cool thing about this is, you really came up in the music industry the old-school way," said correspondent Ben Tracy. "There was no reality show, there was no Disney kid."
"I think I've always been the tortoise of 'The Tortoise and the Hare,'" Barseilles replied. "It's a slow, slow burn. But I think the beauty in that is that I fell very connected to my story. There were moments where I was like, 'Wow, look at what's happening.'"
Los AngelesSarah Bareilles attends the 7th Annual Roots Jam Session, at The Music Box, February 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Grammy AwardsSinger Sara Bareilles arrives at The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center, February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, Calif.
New York CitySara Bareilles attends the Esquire Apartment benefit event hosted by City of Hope at 16 Main Street - DUMBO, December 1, 2011 in New York City.
ChicagoSarah Bareilles attends Escape To Total Rewards at Union Station, March 1, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.
ClevelandSara Bareilles performs a Laura Nyro song onstage during the 27th Annual Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Nyro, a singer-songwriter who died in 1997, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Los AngelesSinger Sara Bareilles onstage at "Trevor Live" honoring Katy Perry and Audi of America for The Trevor Project, held at The Hollywood Palladium on December 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif.
New York CityMusician Sara Bareilles attends the 2013 CNN Heroes gala, at the American Museum of Natural History on November 19, 2013 in New York City.
Bareilles' latest hit, "Brave," was inspired by seeing a gay friend struggle with coming out.
"I wonder what would happen
if you say what you want to say
and let the words fall out, honestly.
I want to see you be brave!"
Shot with hidden cameras in public spaces, the music video, directed by "Parks and Recreation" star Rashida Jones, gave a tongue-in-cheek, physical manifestation of bravery.
"Being silly in public is not gonna change the world. But it is confronting something emotionally as a human," said Barseilles. "You feel self-conscious. And my heart was pounding. I was in Pershing Square in downtown L.A. when it was my turn to go out and dance like a fool. I was so nervous!
"And it's so funny. It's just music and we're just dancing in public, like, who cares?"
The most touching tribute to the song as an all-purpose face-your-fears anthem was in a music video posted online featuring cancer patients and staff at the University of Minnesota/ Amplatz Children's Hospital. To date it's received more than one million views on YouTube.
"It just felt like I was watching the song take flight and take on a life of its own," Bareilles said. "It was becoming something bigger than it had even been intended to be. And that's always -- oh my gosh, what an amazing hope for something you create."
"The Blessed Unrest"
Bareilles' fourth studio album, "The Blessed Unrest" (2013), featuring the hit single, "Brave," earned two Grammy nominations, including an Album of the Year nomination over competition by Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and Lorde.
"I feel like in my life and in my career, I'm always like looking around going, 'How did I get in?'" Bareilles laughed. "Like, who wasn't manning the door when I snuck in?"
Sara Bareilles performs at the 2013 Do Something Awards, sponsored by DoSomething.org and VH1, at Avalon, July 31, 2013 in Hollywood, Calif.
"I think in my best moments it feels like I'm channeling something," Bareilles told Tracy. "And that's the most pure that you can hope for that process to be. That's what I sort of hope to see myself as -- I'm a vessel for something. Songwriting, that's church to me. That's sacred. That is my job, to get out of the way and just sort of be the hands and the voice for something else.
"It's different every time. Sometimes it more work. Sometimes it's more cerebral. Sometimes it's really fun and playful. Sometimes I'll burst into tears. And that's when I feel like I've hit a nerve of something that's really special.
"I think the coolest part about songwriting is when you can surprise yourself. Like hey, where did that come from?"
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By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan