Sara Bareilles and Marlo Thomas have teamed up for a revamped version of Marlo’s classic anthem “Free to Be … You and Me.” The duo Zoomed with Ryan Seacrest on Thursday, July 9, and shared how their collaboration came about.
“I didn’t want to fan girl too too much, but Marlo Thomas has been in my life since I was a little girl through the ‘Free to Be … You and Me’ album,” Sara admitted. “This was like the record of my childhood. … There’s a lot of Marlo in my life I was just trying to hold it together.”
Marlo shared for those who may not be familiar with the album — that is now almost more relevant today — they “had an idea in 1972 to … create the first anti-racist, anti-sexist entertainment for children.”
The 1972 album, book and TV special was a landmark in children's entertainment and has resonated with boys, girls, and parents alike who still to this day stop Marlo in the streets to thank her.
“We’ve never done a cover on any of the songs on ‘Free to Be … You and Me,’” Marlo added. “We’ve always avoided it … but Sarah is someone special. … She has a way of hanging on to what it is and also rediscovering it.”
For Sara, the opportunity was equivalently impactful.
“I felt comfort,” Sara told Seacrest. “The request came very early in the beginning of the pandemic and I have been pretty outspoken; I have been having a really hard time so I’ve been saying mostly ‘no’ to kind of engaging in any kind of performative activity just because I felt like there’s a lot to listen to and observe and just digest at the moment and I have just felt quiet and this came in and everything about my inner circuit board lit up and it just felt like this is a ‘yes.’”
Sara concluded that it hasn’t been reimagined before since “it ain’t broke,” but that as an artist she couldn’t wait to get onboard.
“It’s perfect … but as an artist it’s so fun to get the permission to sort of swim in these waters that have been so familiar and so beloved to me all these years so I found a lot of comfort.”
All proceeds of the track will also be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Watch back the full Zoom interview in the video above and listen to the track!