Rachael Sage's Coloring Book (correct spelling for UK readers!) is the title of her new single, released on 20 November. It features on the deluxe version of her latest album (number eleven!), Blue Roses but was actually written was Sage was just ten or eleven.
In a recent interview, I asked Sage why she was releasing the song only now and the answer was simply that she hadn't recorded it until recently. The impetus to recording it was some time spent with her seven year old niece who is a budding young visual artist. Sage played her a song which then led to her playing Coloring Book and saying 'I wrote this song about being an artist'. "I thought it was too simple a song to release and it didn't really fit on Blue Roses so I added it to the deluxe version as an extra". The song is clearly upbeat which is a definite contrast to the rest of Blue Roses; as Sage says, "once in a while neurotic lyrics need a contrast". While I wouldn't say the album has some neurotic lyrics, it's definitely in the soul-searching category!
Sage went on to say that many people think the song is about romantic love, which is fine but it was originally written about her mum. As already mentioned, the moment that inspired the song occurred when Sage was ten or eleven and a much more prolific song writer than now. Sage was painting with watercolours when she accidentally spilt the paint on the carpet. Sage remembers that "I thought I would be in so much trouble [my mom was quite strict but sometimes full of surprises] but instead she looked at all the paint swirling on the paper and said honey, that's beautiful, it's very modern". Sage went on to say that her mum framed the painting and hung it on the wall, leaving Sage with a profound sense of love and the freedom to be an artist. What an inspirational story!
Talking about writing as a child, I wanted to explore the differences between Sage's song writing processes then and now. The first thing that Sage says was that she wasn't running a record label then so she could just sit and play piano all day long. However, now, eleven self penned albums later, Sage has written every way possible; sitting down to consciously write and songs just coming to her. Her younger self would start with the piano instrumental and then add lyrics byt the older Sage often starts with the lyrics and then adds the melody at a later time, not always at an instrument. If the melody comes while with an instrument, the melody and the lyrics tend towards much more cohesive arrangements.
Exploring this creative streak still further, Sage is a noted visual artist (her art is featured in the above video for Coloring Book) and I was keen to find out more about that creative process. Sage described this as being completely different to song writing and music - it's a creative outlet that is done without thinking about it. She often starts with a black outline and fills it in. It's an instinctive process, a respite from music. Her art was recently shown at a gallery and Sage needed to come up with a lot of pieces very quickly and the only way she could do this was to surround herself with canvases and just paint. I guess that if the art was to become more imprtant than the music, it would be music that would become the respite, the two creative outlets would switch roles.
Rachael Sage is currently on a short European tour, landing in London on November 25 - click here for tickets.
Coloring Book is released as a single on November 20 on MPress Records.