During 2009 the group released their first single “Wild At Heart” and released three albums and toured with Taylor Swift during 2009 and won the Academy of Country Music Award of 2010. When Cheyenne announced she was leaving in 2011, Rachel took lead on the vocals and wrote the song “Trouble” on the group’s last album Three.
IMM: When you decided to make the jump to leave the band and selling your house and left everybody and everything. Was it when the band ended that tour for the “Three” album to pursue on your own and start fresh?
Rachel: I decided to move to Nashville when I was 16 years old I moved there to be a solo artist and was always a dream of mine and when I joined the band I knew I had to put that on the back burner. I knew there would be the day to jump off and do my own thing and almost 10 years with the band, a little over 8 and three albums and went through a lot together, and started to hit a little lull and things were slowing down and I felt in my heart of hearts I wasn’t fulfilled anymore and getting older and creatively I was really stuck. I just didn’t feel like I was really growing, I didn’t feel like I had a true senses of who I was and I knew had to make this big change and had this intuitive feeling in me that grew and grew over time. And decided to walk away from all of it and eliminate any sort of safety net. So, when I make a decision, I can’t be one foot in and one foot out. It has to be a full commitment for me and so that came to me to walk away from everything. You know walk away from the label, from the team, management and from income. From everybody who was physically involved in what we were doing and I needed that fresh start. I needed that to find myself, my identity and to grow as a person and as an artist. I am very grateful for the experience and was very humbling and had a lot of challenges and I had to rebuild. I finally feel I am starting to get on the other side of it and very thankful for the learning and growing experience.
IMM: You are starting fresh. Basically from nothing including to find musicians to work with and other people to start this new career goal for you?
Rachel: Yeah, a lot of it was just putting my head down and just writing and finding the right creative partners and I knew what I want the sound to be. And I want it to be this 1970’s Southern California, Laurel Canyon essence yet still modern and want it to feel like me. I actually grew up in Southern California and so that was really the foundation for all of it and a very specific sound I knew. And I knew it would be a challenge to find the right people to nail that sound. It took me a lot of trial and error and eventually found my way to a friend of mine David Nash. We started writing a lot together and we just clicked and he was creating these amazing demos of our songs. And one day we looked at each other and I said you should be producing these. So that is how he fell into the producer roll with what I am doing now. And he is so great for steering the ship for me and just gets it. We were friends before we started working together, so we definitely have that comfort with each other and that openness and vulnerability when were writing stuff. So yeah, I am very lucky he came into my life and met a bunch of amazing writers along the way who have come into the picture. I didn’t really have that amount of solid time in Nashville as other do when they first come to town. I mean I was there for two years then I got into the band and on the road all the time. So I didn’t have time to grow and meet people and develop true relationships and friendships with that community in Nashville.
That’s what been amazing for me in the last few years is establishing these close relationships and friendships.
IMM: So currently, you are going in the studio to record more songs?
Rachel: Yeah, I just signed a new record deal with a label called Green Iris and the publishing company is Still Working Music which Roy Orbison’s estate. Basically is legacy company run by his sons and the history there. I respect what they are doing over there and super excited for what their vision is for me. Their A&R guy is amazing songwriter name John Randall and has written some incredible songs. When he heard “Cool” on the Spotify play list he stopped in his tracks. And he had to know who did it and who was behind it. They brought me in and told me they love what I am doing and want to support that. I feel very, very lucky because it doesn’t always work like that especially when the labels get involved. So were finishing up this record and hopefully putting this out and I think we are looking at is for this fall and I am thrilled about that and for people to hear what I have been doing. I am proud of the songs and to bring them to life with a full band. I have full ownership over it. All the songs are mine and are completely reflective of me and my experiences and can’t wait for people to hear everything.
IMM: Is good that you’re back and doing what you love and fulfilling your goal. And the record should be release this fall and on the road performing?
Rachel: Yes, yes that is the plan but I don’t have anything lined up just yet but definitely trying to figure that out. I love performing and getting out there and is big part of what I do. And hopefully we figure it out and try to get on a tour.
IMM: Do you want to be pegged as Country, Pop, or Country and Pop or does it really matter?
Rachel: No, I don’t think it really matters at this point I don’t care to label myself one way or the other and I’m trying to do what feels good to me and hope the right people find it. Because nowadays there so much access to everything and the days of having those straightforward lines of what fits in each format is kind of behind us and the lines are getting more and more blurred so I just want to do what feels good to me. And how people want to define it that’s fine and I don’t think it fits to any specific box at all. That’s what excites me is the creative freedom and it’s not limiting and I can’t go I can’t do that or I don’t want to sound like this so it’s been nice to free myself from that.
IMM: It was good talking to you and to hear the full album this year and to talk to you.
Rachel: Thanks so much!