Rachael Sage joins synth-pop pioneer Howard Jones for Hove gig

Rachael Sage
Rachael Sage
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Award-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachael Sage will be joining synth-pop pioneer Howard Jones on the UK leg of his 2017 spring tour.

They will be at The Old Market, Hove on March 13.

US-based Rachael has been spending more and more time in England.

“I have been touring in the UK for many years though now actually, so it's not enirely new; I generally play shows there at least twice a year and have released at least half dozen albums there by now so it feels very natural and I've come to think of it as my home away from home.

“I first starting touring England because I have always loved British pop and hoped that my music would be well-received there because I tend to revere pop music in all its eclectic glory as my salvation.

“I grew up on The Beatles and later became a huge fan of David Bowie, Elton John, The Pretenders and Peter Gabriel as well as artists like Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode and Yaz who all had a big impact on my songwriting. But my favourite artist ever is Elvis Costello so I guess my overwhelming respect for the UK's excellent taste in music lured me over! I wanted to be closer to the source of so much of my early and ongoing inspiration...

“The UK has been very supportive of my work and it's always a pleasure to perform there whether headlining my own more intimate shows or supporting other artists at larger venues. People just listen so beautifully and are super friendly after shows. I love interacting with listeners and hearing about their lives and stories as well, so that kind of communication is something I really appreciate and look forward to!

“I also just love the literary history of England, the architecture, the diversity and natural beauty as we travel from city to city. I'm an avid Shakespeare student as well and nearly came to Oxford in college as a drama major but at the last minute a professional opportunity arose that derailed that particular adventure. Nonetheless, my affection for its rich theatrical and literary heritage will always enhance my relationship to England!”

It's a very different America she is leaving: Trump’s America.

“I channelled most of my feelings about our new president into a song that I just released called Tomorrow that's on my new EP, The Tide (which benefits American Refugee Committee). In the song I basically point out that the adoption of the term "great" in the context of "make America great again" is a euphemism for many things including hatred, cruelty, fear and hopelessness. It's a bleak picture that I paint in the song of a divisive sensibility but the empowering silver lining is that it has woken people up - especially artists - to the power of collective protest, resistance and free expression.

“So on the one hand you have a president all too willing to sacrifice support for the arts and education (not to mention LGBT rights, the environment and healthcare), but on the other I think many people who were not moved to political and social action before are now enlivened to be more proactive, and to fight for justice and free speech - including via the creative arts.

“The polarization stemming from this election has unified a certain segment of Americans we saw at The Women's Marches for instance, especially young people, and the oppressive policies in motion such as the travel ban have compelled many who may have previously sat in the sidelines to stand up for what is right. In that sense it is an overwhelming but energising time to be an artist and a voice for positivity and inclusiveness.

“My music is essentially a reflection of everything I have ever felt and experienced – love, passion, happiness, anger, pain, disappointment, curiosity, inspiration etc - as filtered through a folk-pop-classical-poetic lens. I've been writing songs and playing piano since I was in kindergarten and it's a vocabulary I hope is always expanding...

but in terms of melody my strongest influences were Classical music I heard as a young ballet student, pop from the 50s, 60s and 70s via my parents' record collections, and Top 40 music.

“I didn't hear a lot of rock until I went to college, but in general I have always been drawn to strong melodies and lyrics that tell some kind of story, however impressionistic and regardless of genre.

“After demo-ing hundreds pf songs on a four-track I was given at my Bat Mitzvah, I started playing live at local talent shows and at venues like The Bitter End, Sine-e and Fast Folk in NYC, where Suzanne Vega got her start.

“Eventually I sent my first album to Ani DiFranco, who gave me my first big break by inviting me to tour as her opening act. After that I won the NYC Lilith Fair Talent Search contest and began touring full time while continuing to release albums on my label MPress Records. I've been so fortunate to share stages with so many of my favorite artists like Marc Cohn, Sarah McLachlan, A Great Big World, Eric Burdon and Beth Hart, and now… Howard Jones!”

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