"He did a good job taking care of me," the singer tells PEOPLE in this week's issue

By Carolyn Cutrone and Brianne Tracy
July 16, 2020 10:10 AM
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Sara Bareilles and Joe Tippett
Sara Bareilles/Instagram

For Sara Bareilles and her boyfriend, actor Joe Tippett, the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic has brought new meaning to the phrase "in sickness and in health."

After revealing her COVID-19 diagnosis in early April, the "Love Song" singer, 40, says she's now fully recovered thanks to, in part, Tippett, 38.

"He did a good job taking care of me," Bareilles tells PEOPLE in this week's issue, on newsstands Friday. "He was a good friend and companion through all of that."

Bareilles — whose new series, Little Voice, premiered on Apple TV+ last week — says she's thankful she had a "very mild case" of the disease.

"I didn’t have it nearly as bad as other people who are struggling with it, one of them being Nick Cordero," she says of the Broadway star, who appeared in her hit musical Waitress and died of the disease on July 5, shortly after this interview. "I was lucky. Like I said, I had a very mild case, so I didn't need to go to the hospital or anything."

Still, Bareilles says, her experience was "scary."

"You really have to listen to your body, rest and pay close attention if you're having any respiratory issues," she says. "But it was scary because you're waiting for it to get worse the whole time. So I can understand why it's a really panic-ridden time for so many people. It's a scary thing, but lots and lots of people are getting it and recovering just fine. So I think we should remember that as well."

Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles/Instagram

Though the physical symptoms of COVID-19 have passed, Bareilles says that she's currently having "a really hard time" emotionally.

"I’m dealing with old demons of anxiety and depression and working to manage that while taking in what’s happening and leaning into activism," she says. "I’ve been going to [social justice] marches, all masked up, of course. I did a lot of reading, researching, listening. I’m trying to correct my mistakes. And philanthropically, supporting organizations like Color of Change and Black Lives Matter."

To take care of her mental health, Bareilles says she talks to a therapist weekly.

"I am a firm believer in therapy," she says. "So I've been in my weekly therapy and sometimes if I'm having a bad week, I might talk to my therapist twice a week and she's been enormously helpful. The other magic bullet for me is meditation. It’s been a tremendous help in befriending the parts of this that are uncomfortable, like the uncertainty of everything."

Sara Bareilles
Stephen Lovekjin/Variety/Shutterstock

Amid the pandemic, Bareilles and her boyfriend have been quarantining in her New York City apartment and making the most of the space that they have.

"I have a little meditation cushion that I drag out onto the fire escape when I do my meditating outside in the mornings, and he’s got his X-Box in the next room," Bareilles says. "I know when the door’s closed, he’s just having some alone time. It’s hard spending 24 hours with someone."

Bareilles is no stranger to making the most out of spaces. Prior to making it big, Bareilles and her friends rented a storage unit in Marina del Rey, Los Angeles, and converted it into a makeshift studio.

"That was the cheapest place we could get to have a studio," she says. "My neighbors would get mad when I was playing music at home, so we would go to the storage facility and have rehearsals and hold auditions. It’s where I wrote 'Love Song.'"

Sara Bareilles

That memory inspired a scene in Little Voice, which Bareilles produced and wrote the original music for. Partly inspired by Bareilles' own life story, the show follows main character Bess King, a young musician in New York City, as she tries to find her authentic voice and fulfill her dreams.

"Bess and I, I think we share spirit more than we share an autobiography," Bareilles says. "It's really not my story, but when we're watching her go through the audition process for labels and [getting] feedback on her material, some of those things are taken directly from my life where I was told I'm just a voice or I'm just a writer and I shouldn't sing my own material, or, 'I love you, but I don't know what to do with you. I just wouldn't know how to market you.'"

Little Voice
Apple

Over time, Bareilles says she's learned to trust her instincts and "that little voice that lives inside of you."

"I am less gripped with self doubt than I used to be, but I certainly still deal with it on a very, very regular basis," she says. "We all have to face our demons in some way, shape or form. I think self doubt is such a tricky and ubiquitous experience that we all kind of have to grapple with."

Despite the stability of her relationship, Bareilles has no fears about lacking inspiration creatively.

"The part of myself that I don’t think is in danger is the part that will always be wandering and wondering," she says. "I had a fear that if I was happy and content in a relationship that I would stop writing music. But now I am seeking and wandering in partnership."

For more from Sara Bareilles on love, health and finding confidence, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.