What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
I’d say my music is a mix of Pop & Soul, with a folky song writing style.
Give us a little bio about you.
Well I’m 23, turning 24 next month. I grew up in New York and Connecticut. My grandma was the legendary performer, Eartha Kitt, so I’ve been around the music and entertainment industry since I was born. I always loved it and just knew it was the world I belonged in. I started writing songs when I was probably 11 years old. They weren’t good at all, but I just always loved writing and singing and performing. I still did the “traditional” thing though, I went to college, got a job, but I just felt so unfulfilled. That’s really when I started tapping more into my music as an outlet, and when I realized that I had to go for it, all in.
What made you want to go into music?
Being around it as a kid definitely made me fall in love with it. I’d watch my grandmother perform and nothing was more magical to me than looking out into the audience and seeing how much people felt. They’d laugh, cry, sing, dance… They went along every step of the ride with her, and I wanted to do that too. I wanted to use music as a way to connect with people, and make them feel.
What is the meaning behind “Learn My Lesson”?
It’s not about any one person or one situation, but I kept finding myself disappointed after getting my hopes up about a potential “love interest” and then writing lyrics always blaming the guy and they all sound the same… “Girl meets boy, gets her hopes up, guy turns out to now be everything girl wanted him to be, girl ends up heartbroken over non-existent relationship”. Then I’d end up in the same situation over and over again and wondering why or what went wrong, and I finally figured it out. I found myself gravitating towards the same kind of behaviour over and over again – behaviour that I hated – but I’m such a hopeless romantic that I’d get swept up in the excitement of a budding romance and make excuses, or turn a blind eye. So when I’d end up disappointed yet again, I’d shake my head, unsurprised. It was my turn to take the blame. I wanted to write a song accepting responsibility for the part I played that lead to feeling that way, instead of blaming someone else for something I should’ve seen coming and actively avoided.
Describe the track in two words.
Honest and freeing.
What was the writing process like?
This was one of those songs that kind of wrote itself, and afterwards I thought, “whoa.” I sat down at the piano, inspired by this concept and these feelings, played a chord progression I liked, and just started saying exactly what was running through my head. 30 minutes later, it was done. It doesn’t always happen like that, but when it does, it’s like magic.
What was the recording process like?
The recording process was interesting because I was working with the insanely talented Simon Cohen out of Studios 301 in Australia. That’s what’s crazy about the time we live in now, because we worked on the whole track virtually. I sent him over a demo with just dry piano and vocals, with a couple of reference tracks to give examples of the “vibe” I wanted. I still sometimes listen to the first draft he sent me. It was just amazing how well he understood my vision for it and took it above and beyond. I took the instrumental into a local studio that I’d gone to before and their engineers were awesome. We recorded the vocals in an hour, sent them back off to Simon and from there it was just mixing and tweaking.
Who did you work with on the single?
I wrote the song completely solo, but Simon and I really got to the arrangement style together. There were quite a few Skype sessions to nail down the energy and sound and style I wanted. My favourite thing about working with Simon is what a tough critic he is on himself, because I’m the same way. We just wanted to make it as great as it could’ve been, and I really love where it ended up.
Will we see a music video for the single?
Yes! The music video is out now. You can find it on my youtube. It was directed by my dear friend Ryan McFadden and we filmed it at this amazing loft studio space in Los Angeles. It looks great, the crew was amazing and they’re so talented.
Will we see an EP or album?
If so, what can we expect? There will definitely be an EP or album in the next year. As of now, I’m working on a bunch of upcoming singles, but I’m expecting to release a catalogue of some sort before the end of 2020 for sure.
Do you have any shows coming up?
I have a bunch of shows coming up in NYC this summer. All that info is available and being constantly updated on my website. make sure to check there.
If so, where will you be heading?
I’m doing a special guest feature set at the Voice Open Mic Night event at Rockwood Music Hall on June 18 and then headlining . I’ll be at the Delancey July 7th, a very special secret location on July 18th, and The Well in Brooklyn on July 25th.
What else can we expect in 2019?
More music, super fun performances, and lots of cool collaborations coming up.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I get inspiration from anything and everything. It’s usually based on some personal experience of significance, but sometimes it can literally stem from a comment overheard in passing, or a TV show, or a conversation with a friend… anything that sticks with me, I jot down in my notes on my phone and it usually finds its way into a song.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
It’s rare that I’m not doing something music-related, but I absolutely love to travel, I love food, and I love fashion & beauty. So if I’m not doing music, I’m taking a trip, or trying a new restaurant, or shopping.
What song has most influenced you?
That’s a hard one, because there are so many songs that in different periods of my life have been significant to me. The two that stand out are “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys, which is the first song I cried to because it was so beautiful and raw and simple, and “Hometown Glory” by Adele, which was the first song I ever taught myself on piano, and could listen to forever and still get chills every time.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice ever given to me was by my Dad, quoting the great Wayne Gretzky when he said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” We’re all so afraid of rejection and failure, that sometimes we think it’s easier not to try, but if you don’t try – whatever it is – you’ll never even have a chance at succeeding, so why not go for it. It applies to all things: careers, dreams, relationships… I say it like a mantra every day.
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
Coffee An’ Donuts! Order a bacon, egg and cheese on a hard roll and a classic chocolate glazed donut. It’s seriously epic. Also my Mom’s clothing store, West!
Where can fans follow you?
You can follow me @RachelShaps on all platforms. I’m most active on Instagram, so that would be the first place to check for any upcoming shows, songs, updates, etc.