Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles wasn’t in Los Angeles to pick up her first career win at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, but she texted her mother from London with jovial surprise: “Oh my gosh, I won!”
The win was “so well deserved,” her mother, Bonnie Halvorsen, promptly texted back from her home in Eureka, where Bareilles, 40, grew up and set in place a critically and commercially successful career in the music industry.
Bareilles’ song “Saint Honesty,” co-written with country music artist Lori McKenna, won the award for Best American Roots Performance. It was her eighth nomination at the Grammy Awards.
For an already decorated career, the award is “a long time coming,” her mother said Monday.
“She’s a pretty remarkable young woman who really is very talented,” Halverson said. “And it isn’t just her mom who says so. I’m so excited and I’m very emotional.”
Bareilles attended Eureka High School, singing in the school choir and taking part in community theater productions. She has landed Billboard chart success with a number of pop albums and singles. In 2016, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her original score in the Broadway musical “Waitress.”
Bareilles is set to open the production this week at the famous Adelphi Theatre on London’s West End, a process that took her away from attending the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday evening.
“Across all of Eureka and Arcata, there’s a lot of people who follow Sara,” Halvorsen said. “They have a connection to Sara. They went to school with her; she babysat some of them. Everyone feels a great deal of pride and they’re not afraid to say, ‘Boy, she did well!’”
In interviews, Bareilles has called the song a “deep, brooding” recording, part of an album, “Amidst the Chaos,” that her mother says is overtly political in nature.
“(Sara) misses the Obamas and is not happy with our current political future,” Halverson said. “We need to be proactive in making known what’s right, and Sara is very forward-thinking politically and willing to be invested in that.”
The Grammy milestone may not be something she always talked about, her mother said, but it’s nonetheless a gratifying moment for an artist who has “always been so humble.”
Bareilles will serve as executive producer of an upcoming television series, “A Little Voice,” on the streaming service Apple TV+. The romantic-comedy show has been in development for the past couple of years and will mark Bareilles’ first foray into a fresh medium.
“Sara’s not afraid of being afraid,” Halvorsen said. “She always takes on new challenges.”
Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.