Chris) Hi Rachel, nice to meet you. What's been happening over the past six months? Update us, please.
Rachel) So nice to meet you too! The past six months have been really exciting for me; I recorded and released a single off my upcoming EP and I had the opportunity to go on a small release tour. The song is called ‘Didn't I’ and it's sort of my angry, heartbroken anthem. It's been really incredible to see a positive response to the song and it makes me so eager to release more music.
Your voice has a stunning unique tone and style, who inspired you to sing in such a way?
Thank you so much. I'm definitely inspired by old soul vocalists who are bursting at the seams with passion – Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave and James Brown all come to mind. I'm incredibly inspired by current vocalists who incorporate the same soul into their sound; artists such as Allen Stone, Donna Missal, Marc Broussard, Tori Kelly and Leon Bridges. Then there are vocalists who are so unique that you can't help but be inspired by their individuality and their interpretation of their instrument. Sia is a great example.
Is there a story behind the song?
‘Didn't I’ is about doing everything you think you're supposed to do to make a relationship work, and then sitting in your confused, hopeless, lonely, lost feelings when it still manages to fall apart around you.
How long have you been making music?
I was involved in music from a young age – choruses, school bands, piano lessons, etc. I wrote my first original melodies around the age of 12, and then as time progressed my passion and skills developed. I studied vocal performance in college and moved to NYC to pursue music shortly after I graduated. I’ve been writing, performing and recording ever since.
Your new EP is coming, can you tell about that please and when can we expect it drop?
Yes, the new EP is coming! This project reflects my musical influences in a way that I don’t feel my previous projects have been able to. There are hints of Sixties pop, R&B, rock ’n’ roll and gospel music, and my producer Ali Culotta was an essential driving force in making sure that these aspects shone through and met the vision we had for the project. You can expect the EP to drop late summer/early autumn – we’re working hard to get it out to the world!
Looking back on your career so far, there must be times you say to yourself: “If only I knew that then.” Is there any advice you can offer new bands out there to help them on their way?
Know your worth! In artistically saturated areas like NYC, sometimes you’re scared of losing work or nervous about your ability to get hired, so you don’t require others to value your work in the way that they should. People will take to you if you convince them that what you’re doing is important, and it is! In conjunction with that, I’d add: be professional. There are so many instances of industry folk lacking professionalism – stand out from them by being punctual, respectful, communicative, etc. It will pay off.
What’s the process involved in your songwriting – how does it start? Are any producers/writers involved?
My songs come to fruition very organically, just me at a piano or keyboard sussing out chords and melodies I like. For this EP I had the opportunity to work with Ali Culotta of [Miami-based ska band] Stop the Presses when she took on the role of producer. She was able to really elevate the songs and speak to my influences in such an effective way. I’m so excited to show that world what we’ve created.
Do you have any gigs in the pipeline?
I’m performing at the Can I Live Music Festival on 22 June at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. There are definitely more shows in the works, so be sure to check out www.rachellynnsings.com for more updates.
What would be your dream venue to play and who else would be on the bill?
It would be radically amazing to play Troubadour, The El Rey Theatre, Irving Plaza, 930 Club, The Fillmore, Brooklyn Bowl – the list kind of goes on. These venues range from large to larger, but they all mean something to me and it’d be incredible to share my music in those spaces. There are so many artists I would absolutely love to share a bill with, but a few who come to mind are Sarah Dugas, Donna Missal, James Morrison, Grace Mitchell and Myylo, who I recently had the opportunity to play a SoFar show with, so it would be amazing to play a show with him in a venue capacity as well.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Keep creating! There are roughly 1,000 reasons why your creative process can slow at times. Take care of yourself, and do what you need to do to keep making your art.
Anything you would like add?
Thank you for taking the time to talk about my project! For any readers who’d like to keep up with me and learn more about my new EP, check out www.rachellynnsings.com and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @rachellynnsings!