Poetica’s Rachael Sage — Jamming At New Year’s!

Poetica’s Rachael Sage — Jamming At New Year’s!

Posted by Eyes of Lady Wimbledon | 17 December 2021 | In Conversation With

The new spoken-word jazz collective from the poetic mind of American alt-folk artist Rachael Sage, and 3-time Grammy®-nominated cellist Dave Eggar, ‘Poetica’ is described by the latter as ‘spoken word art at its finest’. Having released their collaborative debut single ‘Thanksgiving’, followed by their latest, ‘Passenger’, the creative duo prove that they are here to break new ground and push musical genre boundaries, where jazz, classical & Americana music and poetry perfectly collide.

Master of the Pen, musician, artist, activist, producer & NYC-based indie record label owner Rachael’s delightfully-whimsical psychedelic tracks offer emotive and relatable lyrics over alt-folk pop jams, her spiritual poems coming from a much more subconscious, mysterious place which she defines as “a kind of soul-searching.”

With Rachel opening shows soon for Howard Jones, and Poetica’s ‘Unconditional’ music video just this week premiering in the UK, our Celebrity Editor Angela Sara West @angela_sara_west catches up with the musical star about her festive plans, what she loves about Wimbledon, and her jazzy Poetica UK tour in 2022.

 

Congratulations on the release of your cross-genre concept album ‘Poetica’! How has it been received so far?

Thank you so much! It has been really gratifying to be able to put my poetry at the centre of a project, and to have folks be able to enjoy the collaboration between myself and so many other amazing musicians on this record. Listeners have been very supportive, and I also greatly credit my co-composed Dave Eggar for supporting this vision, and my writing, unequivocally.

Described by Music News UK as “John Lee Hooker meets Patti Smith meets Leonard Cohen meets Laurie Anderson”, Poetica has also been depicted as fusing the influences of the poems of Emily Dickinson and E.E. Cummings with combinations of sound reminiscent of Björk, and you probe humanity’s personal and universal moments of the pandemic…

Writing poems is very different for me than composing song lyrics… Poetry is a very spiritual process for me, and once each poem is written, I’ve usually learnt something.

Christmas is just around the corner – which are your favourite Christmas songs?

I love all Christmas music. Even though I’m Jewish, I have just always gravitated towards it, especially knowing that Jewish composers like Irving Berlin also really embraced the genre. I wrote a song called ‘I Love You More Every Christmas’ about a couple who decide not to get a divorce, during the holidays, when I was 12, and my parents were somewhat surprised! That aside, I have always loved the song ‘Joy To The World’, and I actually covered it on my holiday EP, “Joy!” It’s available to stream/download everywhere at mpress.lnk.to/Joy! You can also purchase a physical CD from my online store! rachaelsage.com

Your go-to Christmas comfort movie?

I admit it, I like cheesy holiday movies! I don’t really tend to re-watch movies though, so I’ll go with a new one. My mom and I just watched a fun new movie with Brooke Shields about a writer who goes to live in a castle in Scotland, where, of course, she meets her prince. It’s shamelessly over the top, ridiculously romantic, and we loved it! It was also a nice surprise that my friend Beth Hart’s music was featured in it, which made me so happy!

What do you love most about this time of year?

I love how beautiful the lights and decorations are in my newly-adopted town of Beacon, NY. People really get into it, and some of the houses are so creatively decorated, I just stop and admire them before continuing on my daily errands. In NYC – where I also still spend a lot of time working – of course things are festive, but it’s also a bit hectic with so many people on the streets, shopping and generally seeming to be stressed. Upstate in a smaller town, I am really enjoying the charm and coziness of the holiday season. While Hanukkah came early this year – and I was able to observe it with my wonderful family for one of the eight nights – the thing I love most about December is the way the general attitude of people shifts towards giving back, showing appreciation for loved ones, and carving time to really be present and put down work for a bit…

What outfits are you planning for those holiday parties?

I am still not really going indoors much with the pandemic, but I do some zoom holiday events and parties. I always try to keep things as sparkly as possibly, and sequins are, of course, a must! I have a bright silver sequinned jacket that basically makes me look like a disco ball. That’s always fun!

Your plans for this holiday season?

In all honesty, I usually take the opportunity to work on new music when the people I work with go away on their holidays! I tend to feel like I can never pause properly during other times of the year to hunker down, and really listen to the Muse amidst relative quietude. So in between some visits with my family – which are always so precious! – I will be stealing away over the next weekends to a studio in Connecticut to begin my next record! The folks who run it are like a second family to me, so no doubt they will also decorate their home and spread a little bit of holiday cheer throughout their studio. And if we’re lucky, it will snow! There’s nothing cozier than recording a Steinway piano and looking out the window and seeing snowfall…

How about New Year’s Eve?

For New Year, I will be back in Beacon, NY, and will spend some time with a few dear friends. We like to walk at night when everything is beautifully lit up, grab a cup of tea and people watch. My neighbours also like to do bonfires, which usually turn into guitar jams around the fire… It’s all very low-key and comfortable, which is my ideal of what a holiday should be!

Do you enjoy the cold or prefer to escape to warmer pastures?

I prefer warm weather, but I’ve always lived on the East Coast where winters are cold. I really need to start touring in California in the winter!

You’ll be touring in colder climes this winter…

Yes, I’ll be doing some shows with my amazing band The Sequins, as well as opening for the legendary Howard Jones!

We’re SO looking forward to you coming on tour here in the UK next year!

That’s right! I will be returning to my home-away-from-home, the UK, in summer 2022 which is so exciting!!

What do you love most about Wimbledon?

I love that attending the tennis every summer in Wimbledon makes my Dad so happy!! It is literally his favourite thing to do, and he’s been doing so for many years. This year, with the pandemic, he wasn’t able to travel, so we watched it all together on TV. Hopefully, next year we can go together. He has taken my sister a few times, but usually I’m on tour…

What would be your holiday message of hope to readers, following such turbulent times with the pandemic?

My holiday message is similar to the message I also try to share ongoing, as a cancer thriver – to be grateful, and foremost, to relish your time with loved ones – or alternately, time alone practising self-love. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last two years, it’s that tomorrow is never guaranteed, and while that seems morbid on the surface, I tend to think a subdued awareness of that reality moment-to-moment keeps us focused on what really matters. Enjoy the joy, be kind and generous to yourself and others, and that unto itself is the stuff that hope is made of because, even in dark times, we can control how we treat one another and make this life as beautiful and meaningful as we choose.

If you could give any person in the world a gift, who would you give what to and why?

Someone I love dearly was recently diagnosed with lymphoma, and if I could give him a cure somehow, I would. In the meantime, I’m giving him lots of love, hugs and encouragement. And having gone through cancer treatment myself, I know that can be its own kind of gift.

So, what’s next for Rachael Sage? Any exciting projects in the pipeline for 2022?

Yes! Along with my UK tour, I will be chipping away at a new album of original songs, most likely to be released in the Fall. Beyond that, I’m always very active working at my label MPress, where I have the privilege to champion some incredible artists, including Grace Pettis, Seth Glier and A Fragile Tomorrow. And I’m sure there’ll be another Poetica project in the near-ish future!

 

Listen to Poetica on Amazon, Spotify and Apple Music. It’s also physically available in several formats in Sarah’s MPress Store: https://mpressrecords.myshopify.com/collections/poetica

For further info, visit rachaelsage.com

Follow Rachel: @rachael_sage

 

© Angela Sara West 2021 @angela_sara_west

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