Rising country star Rachele Lynae has spent the better part of the decade fearlessly blazing her own trail. During her time in Nashville, Rachele has earned the respect of her peers and the support of a growing legion of fans. Her high energy stage show spotlights her continual growth as a performer, but it’s the richness of her voice and depth of her songwriting gift that are distinguishing the singer/songwriter from other country newcomers. Along the way, she has shared stages with Keith Urban, the Band Perry, Kelsea Ballerini, Randy Houser among others, and she’s garnered a 12 million plus audience on country radio. Lynae has also been featured on such major media outlets as The Huffington Post, Billboard.com, People Country, WGN-TV, CMT and WSM with Bill Cody. Lynae’s new sophomore album, ‘Every Reason,’ serves as the next exciting chapter in her blossoming career. A testament to her journey as a songwriter, the album was co-produced alongside of longtime friend David Dorn and showcases her latest creative stride. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently connected with Rachele Lynae for an exclusive look inside her world. Along the way, she offers a unique look at her creative inspirations, songwriting process and the making of her captivating new album!
I wanted to go back to your early years for a moment because I’m sure a lot of young people can look to you for inspiration. What went into finding your creative voice as a young artist?
I think my greatest advantage in finding my own voice has come from being a songwriter. Telling stories from my life or imagination that starts in the writing room has always been my first step, from there, I usually can tell pretty quickly if it is a ‘me song’ or a song for another artist. For this album, I went even deeper into finding my own sound by not over listening to what was already out there. I stopped playing the comparison game and just did what felt right to me.
What do you remember about your first time on stage?
I don’t remember my first time on a stage. But there is a picture somewhere and the story is that my grandma was sound checking for her show and I commandeered the microphone and began my own performance.
When do you feel you came into your own as a songwriter and performer?
It’s really been an ongoing process… always evolving, always growing. Sometime in high school I started to get a solid hold on live performance and songwriting, but I think that in both areas the most growth came from being open to learn. I worked with performance coaches on my live show. I started co-writing in college and picked up tips and tricks from my collaborators, always honing my craft.
You have a great presence online that offers a window into your world. You’re a really positive force and have a great energy. What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about you?
I’m kind of a nerd. I LOVED school and still really enjoy reading and learning new things.
The last interview we did was nearly 7 years ago, which is crazy! What has changed for you the most in that period of time?
EVERYTHING! [laughs] I’m happily married now, a change that influenced my current album in a huge way. I have grown so much as a writer and an artist. I have released two albums during that time… so crazy! I released my new album, ‘Every Reason,’ as an independent artist, which has been an adventure for sure!
Having followed your story over the years, I can’t help but be inspired by your hustle. What keeps you so driven and how did that end up in your creative DNA?
Well, thank you!! I’m honored that you would say that. I guess it really is in my DNA because I watched my parents work hard growing up, and I wanted to be like them. We were taught to not do anything half way. Add to that the fact I am so passionate about music, and it only comes naturally to do the most I can with the gifts I am given.
Who are some of the people who have had the biggest impact on you as an artist?
While my musical heroes have had a big impact on my artistry, I think that the people who have had the biggest impact on me as an artist have been the people I have directly interacted with during my artist career — starting with my family. My parents and sister have been my greatest supporters and influencers, helping me with both artistic and business decisions from day one. Now, add in my husband who has been my support and my muse since our relationship began. Then, looking at my managers, my producers, my band mates; without all these people I wouldn’t be the artist I am today.
What are some of the lessons you learned early on as a musician in your early years that you took with you and really impacted the way you approached your career going forward?
You have to enjoy and be present in every moment. The magic is in the moment. It’s good to be career minded, but when it comes to making the art, it has to be about the art and enjoying the process. Interestingly enough, the more I make the art the focus, writing something I love that I’m proud of, it’s actually pretty likely to also be more relatable and better for my career.
You just released your sophomore album titled “Every Reason.” How did the ball get rolling for this one?
It’s really been in the making for years; I just didn’t know it yet. When I wrote, ‘Ground Me,’ with Emily Jubb and Gina Venier, I immediately knew I wanted it on an album. I had a vision of what the album would feel like and sound like. That day, the search for the rest of the pieces began.
Did you have a particular vision for what you wanted to create with this album when starting the creative process? If so, how did the end results compare or contrast with that vision?
This album turned out to be everything I wanted it to be. The vision I had from the day I wrote ‘Ground Me,’ to the day I got the final master in my inbox, only became more and more fulfilled.
What do you consider the biggest challenges of bringing this album to life?
Narrowing the songs down was rough. After the first round of ‘narrowing it down,’ I was still left with 44 songs I wanted to record, but somehow, we found the exact right songs for this album.
Was there anything you wanted to accomplish technically that you might not have tried before?
Not exactly. However, from a vocal standpoint, I did aim to take the focus off of belting and more into other vocal nuances.
What went into finding the right mix of tunes for the album and was there an “Ah Ha!” moment when you knew you had it?
I thought I had it a couple times, but then even on tracking day I made some changes. I don’t think I knew I had the perfect grouping of songs until all of them were mixed and I started listening to them all together. I was like, wow, this is exactly right. I picked the exact right songs for this.
When you think back on the creation of the album, what are some of your favorite memories that spring to mind?
Every song has its own special writing memories, but aside from those, choosing to record ‘Got It Bad’ at the last minute on tracking day was really exhilarating! And when we were deciding who should mix the record, Jerome, who I had not yet met or spoken to but who ended up mixing a majority of the songs, sent us a sample mix of “Vinyl.” It was so magical. It was like he had heard it in my imagination and made it sound just like I imagined it! It was incredible. All the moments when it was clear that someone was catching the vision that I had and adding their own spark to it, all those moments were beautiful.
What can you tell us about the songwriting process these days? How does it compare and contrast to what you’ve done in the past?
Well, in recent months if I write with anyone outside of my family, it has been over FaceTime or Skype. Other than that, I don’t think the process has changed much. I have never been the type of writer that does it one way all the time anyway. Sometimes I start with a story to tell or a lyrical idea, other times it starts by just picking up my guitar and playing around with rhythms until it sounds like an emotion and lyrics begin to come out of it. In the last couple of years, I’ve added a bit of top lining to the arsenal as well. No matter how it starts, I always feel like it’s this living puzzle that I get to put together and I love it.
You’ve lived with this material for a while now. Which songs resonate the most with you at this point and time?
I really love all the songs on the album, so that’s a hard question. I think the last couple of weeks I have been most drawn to ‘Run Away’ and Ground Me,’ probably because in this crazy world, love keeps me grounded and is the best escape I can find.
How do you view your evolution as a songwriter?
I started writing really young and it’s funny when I look back on how it has come full circle. In the beginning, I wasn’t really worried about following any rules. I just wrote whatever I felt inspired to write. Then, as I honed my craft, I learned all the rules, some tips and tricks on staying in the country songwriting box. I focused on what was working in the market, and most of my writing was centered on suiting me as an artist. Now, I am in a place where I know the rules and I know where I want to break them. I totally trust my gut with that choice because I have enough experience to lean on. These days, like in the early days, I write all kinds of things—many of which are totally different than what would be in line with ‘Rachele Lynae the country artist.’ Of course, now the quality is a million times better and the bending of the rules is much more intentional.
What does this album mean to you personally?
I could probably write a small novel on that! [laughs] It really all comes down to love. Every song comes down to being free, to love yourself, or being free to love someone else. So many pieces of my love story are spread throughout the lyrics. This album is full of the reasons that I love my husband, and the reasons I love making music. That’s why I decided to call the album ‘Every Reason.’
You are on the frontlines as a musician. What’s the best way to support artists like yourself in this day and age?
Thank you for asking! The best way to support us, is to support our music. Buying music and merch, streaming our songs, this is a great time to take some extra steps and subscribe to our YouTube channels, add our songs to your own playlists and post about them. If you like my album, tell all your friends about it. It really does mean the world, not only to me, but to my fellow artist community as well.
You have certainly faced your own challenges and learned some things from your time with this project. What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey so far?
I’ve been learning to trust God in the journey. It’s okay to not have everything figured out. As long as I’m doing the best I can, loving as fiercely as I can through my art and in my interactions, something beautiful will come out of that. I’m learning to embrace the journey.