As everyone knows, Nashville is filled with talented artists, songwriters and musicians. People are putting out handfuls of songs each week. Sometimes it's easy to get lost in the noise and not put out your best work. Or, for an artist just starting out, it may take a few years to find their true, genuine sound. That is not the case for Texas native Rachel LaRen. This badass came out swinging with her debut single "Jesus and Me" and hit a home run. Rachel is on the right track and her majestic voice can play ball with anyone. Excited to see what tricks are up her sleeve in the near future.
Get To Know Rachel
"I'm from Gun Barrel, Texas, a real small town. I always sang, I don't really remember when I started, but I asked my mom the other day. I was homeschooled growing up until 3rd grade. When you reached that age, you had the option to do choir, band or art and I really wanted to do choir. She made me sing right there on the spot and said it wasn't terrible. Things really grew from there. I took some vocal lessons, would sing in church,did competitions and sang throughout high school. I kind of got burned out since everything was so structured and super professional ... classic music. It was great to learn, but not what I really wanted to be singing. When I went off to college, I thought I was done with music and that it wasn't for me. I went to Texas State for 4 years, graduated and had no idea what I wanted to do. I played the piano a little bit growing up but didn't do it real well. My sister had a guitar so I took that with me and watched a lot of YouTube to learn some chords. A few months later, I decided I wanted to move to Nashville. I did and never looked back."
Songwriting In Quarantine Brought The Best Out Of This Young Star
As tough as the pandemic was on everyone physically and emotionally, Rachel put her best foot forward and used it as inspiration to put out her debut single to the world. Many artists in Country Music have done an exceptional job putting wise words into the world during this trying time: "Six Feet Apart" by Luke Combs, "Better Than Me" by Riley Green and "Worldwide Beautiful" by Kane Brown. Miss Rachel Laren does the same as she talks about her raw emotions, about her relationship with God and her strong religious faith. It's one thing to be able to put your own feelings down on paper, but Rachel not only did this, she also put out a beautiful and relatable song for everyone who listens. After hearing "Jesus and Me", Rachel must be pretty pleased with deciding to pack up and move to Nashville. If she can consistently put out songs of this quality, Nashville has a winner. We all aren't perfect, but sometimes effort goes a long way. A hell of a song."
Inspiration Behind "Jesus and Me"
Written By: Rachel LaRen, Ashley Ryan & Sam Blasko, Produced By: Brad Hill
"I got the title at the beginning of quarantine. I went back home - I love Nashville, but Texas will always be my home. I felt like the world was in such a judgmental place and everyone had to have an opinion on everything - especially with the election and COVID. To me, all of that stuff is so small compared to other things. I wanted to write a song that expressed how I felt. Jesus and Me came up; I was unsure about the title at first because so many songs have that title. I wrote the first verse at home, then 6 months later I took it back to Nashville. I was at a write with Ashley Ryan and Sam Blasko, who are both incredible writers. I played it for them and Sam said "yeah, I feel like you never turn down a cigarette". The song just came out and is an autobiography of my life. I didn't know how many people would relate to it until I posted it on Tik Tok. It got a lot of views on Tik Tok, but you always have a voice in the back of your head that second guesses you. It really came out of a place that the world can be really shitty sometimes. It incorporates my perspective and my relationship with God."
Q & A With Rachel LaRen
Q: What was your "lightbulb" moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "This is super specific, but I was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I hated my job and was praying a lot about where I was in my life. My faith is really important to me. I had never felt lost in my life and I had been praying for months. All of a sudden, I kept telling myself that I needed to move to Nashville and pursue music. I sat on it for a couple of days and really thought about it. I was so confident about that decision and I'm still in that spot now. I was lost for a little while and then these plans kind of fell into place. It's really weird, something I can't really explain."
Q: What was that song or album that really made you fall in love with Country Music?
A: "There's a couple. I have a weird relationship with Country Music because I didn't really grow up with it. I grew up listening to artists like Nora Jones, Otis Redding, Etta James. It was that Americana sound I'm into ... really has a lot of soul in it. I did start listening to Country Music in high school, but the first time I really found appreciation for the genre was when I was listening to Cody Johnson. I was a junior in college and he would come play for $5 at a local bar. This was when he wasn't big yet. Parker McCollum is another one who just really inspires me. Mostly his old stuff like "Meet You in the Middle". And I am one of the biggest Chris Stapleton fans around. I think the dude walks on water. I don't think I can really name specific songs. It's just a collection of them like Parker McCollum's album Limestone Kid, From A Room: Volume 1 & 2 from Chris Stapleton... there are just so many."
Q: What's something most people don't know about you?
A: "I go by Rachel LaRen, but my real last name is French, although my family is from Germany. I don't know how my last name came about. But most people just assume it's LaRen and when I tell them it's French they always ask if I'm from France. I don't usually have a good answer for them."
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
A: "Honestly, I think I would tell myself not to be scared. I went after Music at the right time. I believe everything happens for a reason, but I feel like society is so scared of getting judged and what other people will think when you take risks. That idea never necessarily held me back, but if I could go back I would be much more confident in figuring things out sooner. Even now I get so stressed about little things. I wish I could go back and tell myself that everything happens for a reason. Things are going to work out, even if it doesn't happen exactly when it's supposed to happen. I put everything in God's hands and let things play out the way it's supposed to, whether it's good or bad. I wish my younger self did that more."