Rachel Curtis: Heartfelt Melodies


Image: Rachel Curtis

Independent singer-songwriter Rachel Curtis is a contemplative folk and pop artist. She has beautiful and remarkable vocals, weaving an ongoing idea of genuine songs all through the fluctuating alternative of pop and folk genres. In 2018, Rachel earned her ticket to Hollywood by competing on American Idol, grabbing the attention of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan.

Since, she has opened up national for touring bands and Grammy award-winning artists including Cole Swindell, Chris Janson, Tracy Lawrence, Gladys Knight, and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Rachel's original music herself received a national spotlight at the 2019 CMA Fest, landing her the opportunity to be on the Spotlight Stage in Nashville, Tennessee at the Music City Center.

Rachel Curtis performs with her band that includes members Tyler Tesla on bass, Jason Marr on electric guitar, and Danny Lindstrom on drums. Rachel is a multi-instrumentalist known for playing the guitar, mandolin, and vocals. She aims to inspire others, reaching her audience emotionally through her love and support for music.

Image: Tylr Tesla (Bass, Keyboard), Rachel Curtis (Guitar, Vocals), Danny Lindstrom (Drums), and Jason Marr (Lead Electric Guitar)

Interview with Rachel Curtis

What’s your origin?

"Lansing, Michigan."

What inspired you to make music?

"I had a fascination for music at a very early age. My mom tells me stories of me making up my own songs of gibberish in the crib and how it just grew from there. I first started writing songs in middle school for fun, but I didn’t actually start writing with the intention to share the music with others until my senior year of high school. I had always done talent shows, national anthems, and musicals growing up. It was right out of high school when I started singing in bars and gaining experience.

It was kind of crazy how it snowballed from singing karaoke at a bar down the street from where I grew up. The owner put me in contact with the talent manager that brought bands in to play. I ended up joining a duo that started playing more shows throughout the state. Eventually, I started doing solo gigs. I learned how to play more instruments and how to release original music.

Finally, I formed my full band around the music I was releasing and started getting bigger opportunities at music festivals; opening slots for nationally touring artists and here I am now, still going for that childhood dream. It's pretty crazy to me that signing karaoke a few blocks away from where I grew up started a journey that I hope to continue into the future for a very long time."

Who are your biggest influences?

"Growing up I would listen and be inspired by multiple genres in music all the way from Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, to Dolly Parton and Ella Fitzgerald. When I started performing and releasing music, I became interested in more folk-pop bands like Vance Joy, The Lumineers, and Florence and the Machine.

My releases in the past have leaned toward more of a contemporary folk-pop sound, but I am excited to explore a different style of music in me since my upcoming songs have naturally drifted into more of a pop sound that I gained inspiration from starting at an early age. I am excited to explore that more in a modern way."

Image: Rachel Curtis

What's your songwriting process like?

"The road map to writing a song is always a different process for me depending on how the idea forms or if someone comes to me with a chord progression or guitar lick. Typically when I go to write a song, I like to get in tune with my own emotions such as dreams or ideas that have been locked up inside. From there I like to get those emotions or sparks of visual representation onto paper. I pick up an instrument and come up with a progression to go with that vibe or idea.

Once I get an idea for a chorus and verse, I put it into my DAW and start to visualize by building the bigger picture around that demo. Lastly, I send it to a producer to bring it to life and get any of my fellow band members to come up with other parts to support what I have. My mixing engineer finishes the project off for masters. Different songs call for different methods, though; this is just my most common route."

How important has networking been when it comes to working in the music industry?

"Networking has been extremely important in the music industry. Without gaining relationships over the years, I would've found it very hard to know where to start. Once you make one connection, it all unravels from there and it leads you to the next opportunity. Lately, I have been really enjoying Clubhouse and getting the chance to chat or be in the same room with industry professionals, build connections and support other artists even if we can't in person."

Image: Rachel Curtis

Looking back to the very first song you've written, and seeing where you are today, what are your thoughts? How much has changed?

"The first song I ever wrote was actually when I was four years old. I must have been a very deep child since it was about my grandpa who passed away of the time. I kept asking him, "What is it like in Heaven?". Looking back, I would have never guessed that my little, slightly morbid song would lead me to actually having pursued a career in songwriting and performing. After learning, growing, and experiencing new things, my music still comes from the heart as it did from an early age. It since has matured like anyone would with age."

If you had the option, what artist or songwriter would you have loved to have met, or even collaborated with?

"I would love to meet or collaborate with Hozier. He just released his first self-titled album in 2015 when I started to write music with the intent to share it. I really gained influence from his poetic lyricism and his unique melodies."

Image: Rachel Curtis

How did you feel the first time you've performed live?

"The first time I performed live I honestly was sick to my stomach with nerves. I was a very shy kid, so I don't know how I mustered up enough courage to get on stage. After I did, I felt accomplished. I loved that rush and sense of community. I still do!"

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?

"I think the biggest challenge personally has bled into my biggest challenge as an artist. I have an invisible rare chronic health issue called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It's a collagen disorder that affects your joints, ligaments, and organs. I also have a blood clotting disorder and other complications. So all that being said, I have to force myself to take breaks, stretch, and make sure that I am getting enough water. I just have to take care of myself in a healthy way so that I can continue to pursue what I love."

Image: Rachel Curtis

What is the best advice you’ve been given in your music career?

"When I was on American Idol, Lionel Richie told me I had a soulful voice and that he could tell I was holding it back. He said to not be afraid to let go so it can be heard. Sometimes when I feel doubt, I think of that and it helps me to release."

What is some advice you can give when it comes to engaging with your fans for other artists?

"Never compare yourself. Everyone is beautifully unique and there is a special place for everyone. It can be hard to not compare yourself, especially with social media being such a big influence in daily life, but every voice and talent is different, just as a fingerprint."

Image: Rachel Curtis

What are your future goals in music?

"My future goal in music is to continue to make music from the heart and have it be heard by more people in hopes that they can confide and find comfort while listening."

What would you like your followers to remember Rachel Curtis by when they listen to your music?

"I hope my followers find comfort or can relate to the music. I would love for my music to provide some type of musical therapy in whatever they are facing at the time."

Listen to I Don't Like It By Rachel Curtis:

Rachel Curtis

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