By Maureen Lee Lenker
July 08, 2020 at 09:30 AM EDT
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Sara Bareilles, Felicity
Credit: Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Everett Collection

Sara Bareilles thinks she must have a cosmic connection with Keri Russell's fictional characters.

The singer-songwriter famously adapted indie film Waitresswhich stars Russell, into a Broadway musical alongside writer Jessie Nelson. Now, the two are back for more Keri Russell-inspired love with Little Voicean AppleTV+ series that follows aspiring singer-songwriter Bess (Brittany O'Grady) as she struggles to make her dreams come true in New York City.

Bareilles cites iconic WB drama Felicity as a huge influence on her first television endeavor. "The musical Waitress is also starring Keri Russell so we have a weird cosmic thing," she quips.

On its surface, the show shares more with Bareilles' own early career than the tale of the beloved curly-haired NYU student. But they share a core piece of DNA -- J.J. Abrams, who executive produces Little Voice, was the co-creator of Felicity.

Abrams reached out to Bareilles about the possibility of collaborating on a television show, and it brought memories of one of her favorite shows rushing back. "My college years were spent in deep devotion to one of JJ's shows, Felicity," she tells EW. " I just love that show so much and I always felt like, as a young woman, it would be interesting to see what would the stories be of Felicity as a songwriter; if there was a way to marry those ideas."

It turned out that as one of his first projects it still held a very special place in Abrams' heart too, so he immediately warmed to the idea. "We both really liked the idea of dreaming up a world that had what ended up being sort of the tone and the sweetness of a messy young woman trying to find her way in New York City," Bareilles adds.

Let's just hope Bess doesn't decide to get a polarizing haircut.

Little Voice premieres on AppleTV+ on July 10.

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