Rachel Norman - Voices Interview

Rachel Norman is a soulful pop songstress based in NYC. Her voice is described as having “a tone that strikes you from the moment you hear it." Rachel's voice has led her to many remarkable collaborations: Luke Aymon (producer), Jason Leonhard (jazz composer/pianist), Kris Wong (songwriter/guitarist), CLOCKWORK DJ, and Mike Abisuo of Behind the Curtains Media. Rachel is also an actor who has been seen on NYC stages and beyond. What is your earliest memory of music? And, how did you get started in music? I have really vivid memories attending shabbat services as a kid. My family and I would go more regularly back then, and our temple had a full jazz band to accompany each song. I remember feeling so connected to that band, and was free to belt my heart out and harmonize with everyone. That’s where I really discovered my love of singing, and then I took my first voice lesson in the fifth grade. 

What was the first song you ever wrote? What or who inspired you to start writing music? The pop vocal legends of the early 2000’s really inspired me to write my own music. Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, I could go on. I started writing songs secretly in my childhood clubhouse. I would hide away there as an extremely angsty teen, and write my thoughts out in a journal. The first song I wrote that I was really proud of though, was in college. “Sadness” which was the first single released off my EP, was the first song I listened back to and really felt like I was sharing my world with someone. 

Do you play any instruments? If yes tell us about it. If not, do you work with a band or studio musicians? Do you produce your tracks or work with a producer? Voice was always my main instrument, but I’ve been learning a lot more piano these days. Whenever I perform live, I have a band of friends that reunite and accompany me on stage. They’re SO talented, and it’s a lot of fun to see how the live shows transform into an edgier, more rock n roll sound. When recording though, my producers and I record a mix between electronic and organic live instrumentation. 

I’ve been recording for the past four years at Behind the Curtains Media in Brooklyn, with producer/engineer Michael Abiuso. Another main collaborator is Luke Aymon, who lives all the way out in WA. Luke was the executive producer on my EP and co-produced/mixed/mastered Fairway Drive. Both Mike and Luke are so special, and have been the backbone of my music career. I definitely recommend checking out their work!

Do you have any advice for young women pursuing music? If art is your calling, follow that instinct. There’s a myth that art should be done on the side, that it’s limited to being an after school activity, that it’s not sustainable… It’s difficult to pursue for sure, but it’s possible. Listen to your instinct because we need your voice. For readers who have never heard your music, can you suggest one or two songs to start with? I’d start with Sadness, and then move on to Verified. I’ve learned so much since writing those songs, as both a girl in her 20’s and a music maker. I think that Fairway Drive really encapsulates the world I most strongly resonate with, and I’m ready to let people into that world.

What do you feel your strengths are as an artist? Confidence is a big one. Pursuing music is really intimidating, posting on social media is really intimidating, it’s all very intimidating! Putting yourself out there is part of the job, and I think women are taught to apologize for themselves from the start. I’m really learning to just put my head down and do the work. Dress for the job you want, and use what you got. 

Tell us where fans can access your music. For links to streaming and digital outlets - Distrokid

Visit Rachel's website.

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