On Tuesday, Sara Bareilles joined Ben Folds onstage at New York’s BAM Howard Gilman Opera House to discuss her new memoir Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two chatted about what Folds referred to as “the s—show at The Sing-Off,” the NBC series for which both performers previously acted as judges.
Bareilles wrote briefly about her time as a judge on the talent competition back in 2011 in a chapter called “Beautiful Girl.” In entries penned to her young self, Bareilles wrote that the experience is the reason she decided to “find a therapist again.”
She described the pressures of balancing her shooting schedule with a tour, as it “breaks you down.” The songwriter went on to explain how the experience made her own “self-image” issues resurface, detailing how the wardrobe process was “humiliating and degrading.”
“You will end up wearing sparkly dresses that you hate and you will feel like you don’t look like yourself. That part is true,” she wrote. “The insecurity this causes bleeds into how you carry yourself, and you will suppress your shame and embarrassment until the season is over. You smile to their faces, talk s— behind their backs, and in the end, lie to the press about why you left the show.”
At the event, Bareilles elaborated further, saying, “It was super traumatic for me because, growing up, I was incredibly insecure about what I looked like,” Bareilles said at the event, according to THR. “I was hired on the show because I am a musician and I sang in an a cappella group, and it felt like it became more about filling this need to have some version of femininity represented – which is not to say that’s a bad version, it’s just not my version. I felt I was stripped of my ability to say no; I said no, and it was like, ‘Mmhmm, that’s cute!’ And then I didn’t know what to do with it, and I was a grown ass woman feeling like I was stomping my feet and I felt totally powerless, not only because of contractual obligations but also just big corporation people and they wear suits and I don’t know what words they’re saying, and I was like, ‘I don’t belong here!’ “
But Bareilles spoke positively about the impact of the show as well its contestants, which Folds echoed, referring to the show as an “amazing force for good,” and “Ninety percent of the people that work in it are great, and then sometimes there’s just some stuff that’s just some stuff that’s just kind of bulls—.”
EW has reached out to NBC for comment.
Bareilles’ next record What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress, her fifth studio album, will debut Nov. 6, with more information on that available here.
For more on the conversation, head on over to The Hollywood Reporter.