CommitmentNow.com: You just released your debut album, and you are only eighteen! How long have you been writing music and singing?
Rachel Marie Schachter: Releasing an album at the age of eighteen is definitely one of my greatest accomplishments. I turned nineteen in October of 2010, but I was eighteen when the album was released. In some ways, though, it almost felt like an “it’s about time” moment - I’ve been writing and singing for as long as I can remember. I started taking piano lessons when I was six, and the first time I remember having written a full song (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus), was when I was eight. In middle school, I picked up a guitar and taught myself using some old books that my dad gave me, and my guitar skills have just sort of grown on their own since then. Meanwhile, I’ve been singing classically since middle school, as well as doing theatre and a cappella, so my voice has had a bunch of various sorts of training, which have all been really helpful in developing my sound. Writing and singing are constants in my life.
CommitmentNow.com: You have been compared to Ani DiFranco and Ingrid Michaelson. Does that surprise you?
Rachel Marie: I can’t say that it surprises me, not because I’m willing to compare myself whatsoever in terms of talent to either of them, but because I know that they’ve both influenced me greatly. Ani’s debut album has played on repeat in my room more times than I can count, and Ingrid and Ani both have a way of storytelling through their lyrics that I had never used on my own. The way Ani uses guitar for subtle percussion is something that has definitely influenced me, as well as her sarcasm and metaphor. And Ingrid’s powerful simplicity in lyricism and in music assure me that my simplicity is okay. In conclusion, those women inspire me so much that it’s no wonder some tastes of them show up in my music.
CommitmentNow.com: Some of your songs are folk music, others are more pop-oriented, and some are really soulful. How would you describe your music?
Rachel Marie: I’ve never really known how to describe my music as one entity, because it does come out in so many different ways. I suppose my music could be largely described as a reflection of my inner workings as well as my surroundings. What I had been listening to around the time that I wrote a particular song and who I had seen perform around that time have always had some influence on style. The upside to all this is that I never felt restricted by style. My music just flows, no matter what the style.
CommitmentNow.com: The songs on your album touch on a variety of emotions and experiences. Are they autobiographical?
Rachel Marie: Everything on this album is autobiographical. It’s all written by me, and it’s all written about my life, about my relationships, with myself and with others. There’s really not much else I can say on the subject, since it’s all in the music.
CommitmentNow.com: This album is an impressive debut! What’s next for Rachel Marie?
Rachel Marie: The summer of 2011 will take me from Pennsylvania to California and back, making music all along the way, and I’m incredibly excited for it. Meanwhile, I’ll be sure to make a serious effort to record some more, and I’ll be making music regularly at Drew University, on my own, in Madrigal Singers, Chorale, and my a cappella group, All of the Above.
CommitmentNow.com: Where can we learn more about your music?
Rachel Marie: You can keep up with me in terms of music and shows on www.reverbnation.com/rachelmarie, www.facebook.com/rachelmariemusic and my official website, which is currently undergoing construction, but which will launch very soon, www.rachelmarie.com