Country singer-songwriter and guitarist Rachel Louise Taylor will release her full-length album “Sunflower” on Aug. 26. Today, Rachel spoke with ETV about her musical influences, the lyrical themes behind her upcoming album, and her plans to play more shows. Check out the track “I Got Mud” from the album here:
Rachel’s discovery and interest in music begins at a young age. At around age 7, Rachel would go on trips with her dad to see her uncle, who was a lead guitarist in a band in Wichita, Kansas, perform live. She remembers thinking about how cool it was to see her uncle perform, and soon after, Rachel asked her dad to get her into guitar lessons. She learned to play guitar in 2nd grade but it wasn’t until 4th grade that she started writing her own songs and soon after she began performing live.
Rachel’s influences early on include every girl’s favorite star, Taylor Swift, as well as a little bit from what her musical family listened to.
“I grew up listening mainly to Shania Twain,” Rachel said. “I nearly had her entire album ‘Come On Over’ memorized, listening to it over and over. I did grow up on a farm, but my dad listened to more oldies music back then. I feel that between Shania and Taylor Swift, that was enough inspiration to help me develop and discover my genre.”
At age 12, Rachel played at a coffee shop in Topeka with her guitar teacher, who invited her onstage to play a song with him. Rachel said she got nervous and froze when she was supposed to sing and play guitar at the time, but she only played guitar. The brightness of the stage lights and the whole experience would normally discourage an up-and-coming singer-songwriter, but Rachel continued her path to becoming a professional musician.
“I think the coffee shop showed me the worst that can happen – not being able to sing, and be frozen,” Rachel said. “Due to that happening to me early, I was able to convince myself that I didn’t want that to happen again. I was able to experience it and grow from that. My advice is to never give up. If performing or being in front of stage is what you want to do, never let go of that hope. One obstacle can be overcome to make way for so many other opportunities, if one takes the effort to do so.”
Rachel continued to perform on stage and soon businesses and organizations took notice of what she was capable of. She performed at the Texaco Country Showdown 2012 and Topeka First Friday Artwalks and was getting know, but the biggest surprise was when Rachel’s song “I Got Mud” was played on the radio.
“The radio host had e-mailed me, so I was listening to the radio, filming my friend on skype, as she was filming me through skype,” Rachel said. “I believe the video is still on YouTube, but I actually cried happy tears. I will never forget that ‘aha’ moment.”
Rachel’s latest album “Sunflower” is the culmination of her journey so far but it’s only the beginning of a whole new chapter. The writing for the album took about a year and a half with some songs taking longer than others to write. Rachel has become confident with her writing style and took the time she needed to make sure the songs were as perfect as they could be before releasing them. The album was recorded and co-produced in Wellington, Kansas, at the Green Jean Studios.
One of the songs on the album, “In Your 85,” was featured on national and international country radio and topped the Ullplay music chart in the U.K. for three consecutive months. Check out it out here:
“My main lyrical theme is not to take life for granted,” Rachel said. “Whether or not it’s being in love, it is just as important to take in the current moment before it passes by, as well as looking for the future. I heard a quote somewhere that says, ‘If you dwell on the future, you will lose out on living in the present.’ I truly believe in this, and I intend to live that way.”
In addition to making her latest album, Rachel also keeps busy by teaching guitar lessons since 2015. She said it was a lot of fun and has allowed her to re-learn some of things she learned back when she herself was younger.
“I decided to teach guitar lessons because I wanted to give back to younger artists just starting out,” Rachel said. “I want to potentially stand as a role model for younger girls who have goals in life, to look up to and know that anything is possible, and they can do anything they set their minds to. I have also given them multiple performance opportunities joining me on stage, where they are in the spotlight and are able to showcase their new learned talents.”
With her album complete and coming out this month, Rachel looks ahead to the future. She plans to continue performing and broadening her touring destinations.
“My plan is definitely to play more shows!” Rachel said. “Although I am in college, I plan on being more busy next summer with festivals, etc. I also hope to broaden my 3-hour radius circle to be able to travel farther and open more performance opportunities not only for me, but to connect and be able to meet with my fans.”