EXCLUSIVE Interview: Rachel Sage Discusses her new music video for ‘Deepest Dark’

In a captivating blend of emotive storytelling and musical prowess, celebrated singer-songwriter Rachael Sage invites us into the enchanting world of her latest release, “Deepest Dark.” Against the backdrop of London’s historic Asylum Chapel, Sage unveils a mesmerizing music video directed by the talented Lee Malone. The video serves as a poignant visual narrative accompanying her heartfelt track, part of her latest studio album, “The Other Side.”


In this exclusive interview, Rachael Sage opens up about her musical evolution, the inspirations behind her acclaimed album “The Other Side,” and the transformative experiences of touring alongside renowned artists like Imelda May and Howard Jones. From her earliest influences to her dream collaborations, Sage offers a glimpse into the inner workings of her creative mind, revealing the essence of her artistry and the boundless passion that drives her forward.


  1. How did you first get into songwriting?

I’ve been writing songs since before I could really have a regular conversation. I started playing my family’s living room piano at 2 years old and by kindergarten I was writing full songs with verses and choruses, very much influenced by my school friendships (or lack thereof!) and my early affection for classical music from ballet class, Solid Gold, the weekly Top 40 radio countdown and my Dad’s Beatles, Buddy Holly and doo-wap collections. I haven’t really looked back since; I discovered folk, blues and rock in my teens and it was around then I found my own “voice” as a singer-songwriter which allowed me to express myself more fully as both a lyricist and composer.


  1. Your album “The Other Side” came out last year –  what was the inspiration behind it?

The album is about transcendence, about overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and of course, as a late-stage cancer thriver, I know just a little bit about this:). All in all, each of the songs is inspired by the inner and outer resources that enable us to rise above adversity – such as friendship, loyalty, spirituality, self-belief, compassion and empathy. I am continually inspired by anyone I observe or meet who chooses kindness, inclusiveness and hope in the wake of tragedy, frustration and despair. I am inspired by courage, resilience and honesty – and of course, by my rich experiences along my travels all over the world, as a touring musician!


  1. Who are your favourite Folk/Americana artists? 

I love Glen Hansard, Elles Bailey, Brandi Carlile, Suzanne Vega, Passenger, Lucinda Williams, Marc Cohn, Hozier, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello (he can do it all), and I love blues as well – Fantastic Negrito is my current favorite artist. Not a lot of people know this about me but I was close friends with John Lee Hooker in my ‘20s and we hung out a lot while I was at Stanford (where I also worked as a DJ). Someday I hope to write a book about those experiences – it was a very formative time in my life and definitely exploded my musical heart in ways I never could have anticipated.


  1. If you could choose just three songs to add to a playlist, what would they be?

“I Want You” by Elvis Costello, “99.9” by Suzanne Vega” and “Take Me To Church” by Hozier.


  1. Whilst recording “The Other Side” you toured with the likes of Imelda May and Howard Jones. What venues did you enjoy playing?

Those were absolutely incredible tours and both Imelda and Howard are in my Top 10 pantheon so it was both humbling and exciting to be their support! With Howard, my absolute favorite venue was Union Chapel, and with Imelda, we had the opportunity to play The Palladium which was amazing!


  1. What is your creative process? 

I have no idea! I honestly don’t. I believe being creative is a mindset and a way of walking through/perceiving the world–intellectually, emotionally, visually, musically…My faucet is always on. I suppose quieting the surrounding “noise” of day-to-day work/business is step one. Shutting off email, turning off the phone ringer. You need to be ready to receive, so to speak. I also find that a self-imposed deadline is a very helpful thing! I say yes to things and then figure out how to make them happen under a sort of positive pressure. For instance, last week I created a painting for a local art show and I didn’t start making it until the night before it was due. Then I called up a photographer to shoot it in the nic of time to submit it, but ultimately I create when I have something to express and I just can’t hold it in. It is not necessarily a choice…though I can choose, like I said, to prioritize quieting the rest of the demands upon my time/energy so as to be able to complete the creative process in relative peace.  And occasionally, you will just be blocked, period. That’s a great time to go see a film, read a book, have a dinner party or volunteer to help others. One must live to be alive, and art was never created by anyone who wasn’t, as far as I know – ha!


  1. You released a music video for your single Deepest Dark on January 12th – what is the song about? 

The song is about connecting with unconditionally loving friends across whatever distance and keeping that thread energized. It’s a song that honors vital relationships that may not be romantic but are lasting and deep and what may even keep us from falling off a proverbial ledge, in times of darkness. I wrote it as a teenager actually – but I was re-inspired to record it and include it on this record after watching the entirety of the series “Stranger Things”, which struck me as a kind of “Stand By Me” for the current generation; it’s really a story about loyal friends getting each other through enormous challenges and rising up together to face adversity with courage and determination. I loved the series and recorded the song in honor of the wonderful young actors on the show!


  1. You collaborated with Jack Petruzzelli (Patti Smith), Russ Johnson (Elvis Costello), and James Mastro (Ian Hunter) on “The Other Side”. What did you learn from each of them? 

I’ve been working with all these players for many years now actually. Their collective skill, talent and insight are part of my “production not-so-secret sauce” and the reason I continue to lure them into the studio is that regardless of their wild talent, each one of these musicians has one goal when they walk into the studio: the serve the song and help tell the story. Everything else is a part of that shared goal and I think we learn from each other how to keep listeners surprised, engaged, connected and entertained every time we re-approach a track. None of these players is afraid to try something that may be ridiculous or inappropriate, which I think is fantastic. But they also have no ego about it if it doesn’t ultimately work. We play in the fullest sense of the word, and that process is so joyful!


  1. What is your dream collaboration? 

I have already had 2 of my dream collaborations so I feel quite spoiled – recording with both Judy Collins and Howard Jones…but I suppose my #1 dream collaboration at the point would be Elvis Costello. Everything about his artistry, passion for music, ability to shape-shift as a composer across all genres and imagination as a writer has fueled me in my own career, and I continue to study and learn from his musicianship all the time. I would also be thrilled to collaborate with Marc Cohn, whose voice and authenticity as a recording artist have always inspired me. And I wouldn’t say no to Sarah McLachlan either – she was easily the most influential artist on me in my 20s, and being a part of Lilith Fair absolutely encouraged me to stay the course as a self-produced, self-released artist, while also integrating social activism into my work. It would be an honor to collaborate with any of these incredible humans on any level – and perhaps this interview will manifest it!


  1.  What have you got planned for 2024?

I’m very excited to be returning to the UK very soon! I have my very first UK headline tour in March, and will also be performing at The Great Escape in Brighton in May. I’ll also be back in July for some festivals and various other shows, so I hope folks will stay tuned to my socials and the tour section of my website! (rachaelsage.com). Later in the year I’ll be finishing up a newer musical project I’ll be releasing in 2025, but it’s too early to talk about that…ha!


Watch the video for Deepest Dark Here: 


Leave a Reply


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)