The Trendaholic Chats With Rachel Fine
Recently at The Trendaholic we had a chat with an independent artist by the name of Rachel Fine that has a similar sultry style of music like Jill Scott and a haunting voice that grabs your attention almost like Fiona Apple. Although, there are similarities in certain artist there is no mistake that Rachel Fine has her own unique sultry sound with a dash of intimacy to go with.
1. I realize you have some sort of working relationship with some industry types (namely Joe Jackson) so I just wanted to start off saying, how was it meeting and being around Joe Jackson?
I met my management team while I was doing a photoshoot in the middle of a busy street in Manhattan. One of Mr. Jackson’s executives asked who I was and wanted to hear my music. The rest is history I can say that in my experience, Mr. Jackson is a very nice man and I’m honored to know him.
2. Call me crazy but listening to your song “Or You Won’t “ reminds me of Claudia Christian’s music (she was Ivanova from Babylon 5) do you know who she is? If not, then that has to be an original question, right?
Actually - that’s the first time I’ve heard that one! Definitely an original question, I’ll have to check her out.
3.“Care and Closure” is my favorite song, what was your inspiration for it?
It’s one of my favorites, too. Care & Closure is an apology. It’s about the mercy it takes to let someone go when you know it’s the right thing to do. Everything I write is from my personal experiences and this one’s probably the toughest to talk about because I’m not proud of hurting someone. Not only do I hope this person can forgive me, I hope that listeners will either be inspired to ask for forgiveness, or will better understand the motivations behind someone who hurt them in a similar way. It’s a brutal song. And as much as I was trying to help my friend find closure by writing it, it helped me let go too. There are those people who just keep coming in and out of your experience and at some point, you have to make yourself walk away before more damage is done.
4. Do you write your lyrics right away when you want to express something or write when you are about to record and let it flow?
I write when I’m so emotionally strung out about something that to NOT write would kill me. I never force myself to sit down and write a song. When significant things happen in my life, sometimes the only way I can process it is by writing a song. It’ll be so built up in my head that by the time I grab paper, the whole thing just pours out. I may go 6 months without writing anything, and then in a week I’ll have 5 new songs.
5. After seeing your performance videos on YouTube it makes me curious to what your preparation is for them?
You know, every performance opportunity is different and takes different preparation. When I play Ashford & Simpson’s place in NYC, I usually work up an old Duke Ellington number- I like doing the classics in that venue because the crowd feels it. When I’m doing my own material somewhere, I look to add a cover or two that would be unexpected in my sultry style. The last show I did (Bowery Electric on the Lower East Side of Manhattan), I covered NIN’s Hurt & Radiohead’s Creep.
6. What are your fans like?
Well, definitely diverse- I’m honored to have fans in 36 countries! One commonality I see is a lyrical appreciation for music. I get a lot of well thought out questions from my fans about little subtleties in the lyrics and I appreciate that they put as much care into listening as I do into writing. I would rather have a smaller, long-term, devoted fan base that grows with me as an artist than have a huge flash in the pan following that’s on to the next club banger a minute later.
7. I noticed that you have a master’s degree in Elementary Literacy, I was wondering were you at any point thinking of becoming an Elementary school teacher?
I actually used to work in education, more on the business end though. I ran a supplemental education company until last year, when I recognized I was at a crossroads in my life. I could continue the corporate path or truly, whole-heartedly, make the leap of faith and go for my dreams. I never wanted to look back with regret that I hadn’t given 100% to pursuing music. That’s what 2009 was all about.
8. If given the opportunity would you consider teaching music to youngsters as a second career? (Saw your video where you were a guest teacher for a day that was great)
I hope to be able to do both, in a manor of speaking. Education Through Music is an amazing charity that puts musical instruments in underprivileged New York City schools. I was honored to spend a day teaching their 5th graders and I hope to work with more of their schools. I think some part of me will always be invested in music education.
9. What are your biggest influences and why?
Well, my producer, Timothy Schletter, writes the music and I write the lyrics. Musically our influences range from Quiet Storm to philly soul & broken beat. We talk a lot about finding a true blend between electronica and neo-soul (think Jill Scott meets Portishead), with a very laid back feel. Lyrically, my heroes are writers who are honest and heartfelt in what they write, often regardless of rhyming or sentence structure. Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Ben Folds, Dave Matthews come to mind right off the bat for me. Their lyrics make me think, make me feel something.
10. Who have you met that made you the most star struck?
Madonna walked past me at the VMAs. I almost passed out.
11. Now on a more serious note, I’m sure you’ve noticed the past few days in regards to the tragic events that have transpired in Haiti. I would like to know what were your thoughts when you heard the news and do you happen to have any Haitian friends that are personally affected by this event?
What’s happened in Haiti is truly devastating. My father is a therapist who is certified to do critical incident stress debriefing- he counseled 1100 people in the first week after 9/11, he was onsite at Katrina and it looks like he’ll be deployed to Haiti to help the rescue workers, police officers & firefighters who are exhausted and overwhelmed by the situation. I think everyone can find a way to be of assistance, whether its financial or sharing their abilities with those in need. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy.
12. Last question, what are your plans for the near future and what can we expect from Rachel Fine especially in 2010?
I’m so excited for 2010! There are some BIG things happening over the next few months…I’m not allowed to say anything about it yet, but it might involve television…
I would like to thank you on behalf of The Trendaholic in granting us this interview, bringing us in your world and letting our audience connect with you as a person and artist.
Truly my pleasure