Rachel B will be a name you’ll be hearing in the next few months. With her new album ‘I’m The Boss’ set for a release date of 1 March 2016, you only need to head over to her official website to check out live show dates in Michigan and Pennsylvania, plus two full song samples on SoundCloud: ‘I’m The Boss’ and ‘Shame On Me’ to really get a feel for Rachel B’s soulful, sultry, confident music. Her lyrics and her melody are both catchy and clever, but it is truly the voice that empowers the songs: in ‘I’m The Boss’ there is an incredible bridge, so incredible to the point where when she quietly croons into your soul: ‘I’m the Boss‘ at the end, you will be rooted to your chair and have absolute faith that Rachel B is undeniably The Boss. Still don’t believe me? Watch her dominate literally everyone in her mischievously fun official video for ‘I’m The Boss‘ on her YouTube channel.
Recently I had the privilege of interviewing this talented rising star (though I think perhaps a ‘supernova’ would be a more apt term for Rachel) and I wish her all the success in the future. She is truly a genuine, kind, patient and bubbly soul. Remember if you want to catch her live shows, check her official website for dates and you’ll understand my utter awe when I listened to her material. Rachel’s also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so send The Boss some love! Without further ado, I thus present to you the splendid Rachel B.
Hi, Rachel! First of all, I have to say I was absolutely enamored with your songs on SoundCloud. They were sultry, catchy and confident with a smoothly gorgeous voice to boot! How would you describe your style, and who were your influences growing up?
Thank you! I love the word sultry! I describe it as Soulful Empowerment Pop. I always want to be putting a positive message out there, even if it’s about overcoming pain and struggle. I’m a child of classic jazz vocalists and Motown. Some of my favorites are Ella Fitzgerald, Minnie Riperton, Billie Holiday, and the Supremes to name a few! More contemporary artists I adore are Amy Winehouse, Sia, Alicia Keys, Jessie Ware, Norah Jones and Adele.
I mean, on your press-kit, it describes you as: “If Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones, and Janis Joplin had a baby”—goodness me, what high praise, mind you!
Haha! I think that be a pretty awesome baby, right!? People often tell me I remind them of a sassier Norah Jones and a softer Amy Winehouse. I liked that description and am a big fan of all of these women!
Your songs are so full of catchy hooks and insane vocals—can I ask what your songwriting process is like? For example, ‘I’m The Boss’—how did that song come to fruition?
Songwriting is always a different process for me. My production partner and I had just quit our day jobs to be full-time creators and we were always joking around about who was the boss between the two of us. Then we started from the bass line and the melody and lyrics followed. It’s turned into such a special song for me. It’s truly inspired me how to be the boss of my own life and marked the period of my life where I actually became my own boss.
I feel like you’re my boss now, too, after watching your music video. Now, you have your first album—aptly, if I may say—titled ‘I’m The Boss’ releasing in March 2016! How do you feel about that? Excited? Nervous? How much elbow grease/time has gone into that?
I’m ecstatic about the release and really proud of the songs. Words can’t even explain how much elbow grease has gone into the record! I’m an independent artist and I’ve put a lot of time, sweat, tears, laughter, sass, and love into making this album reality, so have the people that worked on the record with me! I can’t wait to share it!
It says in your bio that you’ve gone from Michigan to LA to Pittsburgh…that’s a long journey, right? How was that process for you, finding the right niche, in a way—and what key lessons have you learned as you went along?
Yes, it is, both geographically and emotionally! I have learned so much! I would say one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my time in Los Angeles to Pittsburgh was to take control of my life. I think a lot of aspiring artists move to big cities like NYC or LA to be “discovered” and I realized that I wasn’t interested in waiting around to be discovered, I wanted to pave my own way. I decided to take things into my own hands as an independent artist and leave Los Angeles to continue growing in Pittsburgh. Bob Dylan’s definition of success is ‘A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.’ I do just that and I’m such a happier and productive person since changing my mindset to be a boss instead of waiting for someone to “discover me.”
Following on from that—for budding, upcoming musicians such as yourself—do you have any pearls of wisdom for them?
Find yourself. Don’t practice being what you think others want you to be. Dig deep and find what really matters to you.
To expand on that long journey to success—how have you found the landscape of music changing over the years? Is it much harder to get that successful record out? I personally think ‘I’m The Boss’ will be a mega-hit—I’m a huge fan already—but do you think it’s harder now to sort of—gain popularity and followers? It seems the music industry is really, really competitive.
First of all, thank you. That means a lot. There are a lot of different conversations saying it’s easier to get your music out there than it used to be but I think it’s also harder in some ways to cut through all the noise and saturation. I don’t really focus on that anymore. Making music is what I’ve committed my life to. I just want to make music that is honest and hopefully it resonates with other people. When you love something you find a way to make it work and I’ve done that with music and believe that I will keep finding ways.
Absolutely—it’s clear your passion for making good music shines through. I see you’ve got a list of gigs as well, in Pennsylvania and Michigan. One day, would you hope to expand on that? Does the thought of playing to a big sell-out crowd in New York City frighten you a bit, or is that the dream?
Ya, we tour all over! Mostly the East Coast and Midwest right now. The thought of selling out to big crowds anywhere excites me! I live for the stage!
Because our site focuses also on TV and film—if you had to choose one scene, from any film or any TV show—for one of your songs to be a background of, what would it be? And why?
That’s a great question! It would have to be one of two scenes in a movie and I’m not sure what movie. A passionate love scene or like a badass moment where Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, or some fierce woman kick ass and is walking off in a dark alley all lit up by the moonlight, ready to take over the world! Those are kind of my two favorite feelings in life, Passion and Empowerment. Maybe the show Jessica Jones. I got hooked on that show this year.
Gosh, if every time Jessica Jones barged into the room to the tune ‘I’m The Boss’ I will ascend to heaven. From the very limited access I have to your songs (the two on SoundCloud and a third teaser) I can garner you have a very playful yet confident sound. If I were to go to your gig, what should I expect? Something intimate perhaps?
You should expect to check your worries at the door and to feel a whole bunch of feelings. We have a little bit of everything musically speaking. I like to make people dance and I like to make people think and feel from the music. I want people to walk out the door of my show feeling amazing, sassy and empowered.
You’ve demonstrated you’re quite tech-savvy, uploading two songs onto SoundCloud. Spotify and iTunes and streaming really is the future, isn’t it? But so are mediums like Twitter and Instagram, so do you think privacy would be an issue as you rise to stardom? Does that scare you, or excite you, perhaps?
The good thing about Twitter and Instagram is people get to choose how much of their lives they want to share. I just look at it as a way to connect with more people but I won’t be TMIing (too much info in) on any social media sites! It’s not my style. I prefer to do that in person.
What’s the ultimate dream for you, say in five years’ time? It could be anything from having a sell-out Madison Square gig to a first number one, or even hiking Mount Kilimanjaro!
I’m going to revert back to Bob Dylan’s quote: ‘A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.’ In five years I’ll be touring the world with my original music. I’d also like to hike Machu Picchu and have a really nice master bathroom and tub.
A bit of a random one here—but what is your favorite song(s) at the moment? What kind of genre are you most into?
I listen to a little bit of everything! Like I said I love classic jazz vocalists, Motown, and Pop. Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson “Uptown Funk” has been my favorite for awhile! Working with Mark Ronson would be a dream!
Just imagining his beats and your voice combined together is a dream I need to come true! I wrote in my notes whilst I listened to your songs that you reminded me also of Eliza Doolittle and Paloma Faith…so I’m doing to do a very brief ‘this or that’ with you: Eliza or Paloma?
I think they are both are great! I’m going to have to go with Paloma Faith.
CDs or Spotify/SoundCloud?
Last one: falafel or Halloumi cheese?
Falafel, no doubt! I’m actually newly vegan, well a Chegan, which is a vegan who cheats every now and then…ice cream 😉
It’s been a genuine privilege, Rachel. I wish you all the success with your newest album, ‘I’m The Boss’ for March 2016—and I look forward to one day seeing your tour date in the UK! You will surely be a shooting star and a global name to look out for. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me!
Thank you for listening and asking great questions! I look forward to sharing the record with you and in the meantime, people can check out the music video for I’m The Boss on YouTube and go to my website for more information: www.rachelbmusic.com.
Rachel B’s new album ‘I’m The Boss’ will be released on 1 March 2016, so keep that date booked and a keen eye for her name in the future! It was truly a pleasure to interview Rachel, and I want to thank Rachel for being such a sweetheart, funny and affable. Check out her SoundCloud for free here! She’s a one to watch—and a sassy treat indeed!