Monday, June 22, 2009

Rachel Platten: Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Light positively emanates out of Rachel Platten, dazzling those fortunate enough to share a moment with this powerful force of kindness, talent, and true beauty. Blessed with the understanding of the Universe's give-and-take policy, the stunning songstress balances a thriving music career with personal charity, nurturing a life path filled with nothing but love.

Growing up in Boston, Rachel's musical journey began with piano lessons, choirs, and school plays, tinkering with writing songs in high school but ultimately choosing a career in politics. Everything changed one semester abroad in Trinidad, when Platten took stage singing back-up for a Soca band at a massive music festival. Performing her first gig in front of thousands of people, the then 19-year-old knew at that moment she found her calling. "It felt like lightening struck me," says Rachel, her smile widening. "This is EXACTLY what I'm supposed to be doing and it was amazing, just the most incredible thing."

"Music infuses everything in the culture there, which is a big change from where I grew up and everything was academically dominated," Rachel explains. Submersed in Trinidad’s artistically focused lifestyle, Platten quit her internship with the diplomat’s office, toured with the Soca band, and concentrated on writing, practicing, and playing for almost a year.

The Trinidad experience carved the path for the inevitable move to New York City, a transition that encountered a few bumps in the road, in traditional artist fashion. A self-proclaimed expert at being fired, only within this past year has Rachel made music a full-time career. "Even though I moved here with the intent to pursue music I got a little sidetracked and just tried to support myself. I've had seven different jobs and I've been fired from seven different jobs. I am amazing at getting fired," Platten affirms, bursting into laughter. "I was always trying to get gigs, searching for band members, practicing, and I would just not be in [the job] at all. I am the worst employee ever."

Finding the ultimate composite of musicians to get the ball rolling and form her band took some trial-and-error, but eventually Rachel Platten and the Sista Girls- Martin Rivas, Craig Meyer, Brian Killeen, Ryan Vaughn and Eddie Venegas- was assembled, now dominating stages throughout NYC. "I just feel like I have the most incredible [group]- not only in their playing but they are just the kindest people... it's all love," Platten sighs.

It's taken some time for Rachel to hone what she's doing with sound, a self-described modern-day Jackson 5 vibe that's uplifting, upbeat, fun, and happy. Channeling influences like The Beatles and Motown, Platten exudes energy, light, and soul in every performance. Due to its multifarious appeal, her music fashions a scene of it's own; one that charms the intimate acoustic environment of Rockwood Music Hall and captures eclectic audiences at larger venues like the Highline Ballroom. Independently selling over 5,000 copies of her first record made four years ago, Rachel is currently focused on the follow up album, as well as giving back to the community who have so graciously shown support.

About three years ago, Platten linked up with Musicians on Call, a charity that bring musicians into hospitals for live, private performances with patients. The experience has been one of the personal highlights of her career, keeping the ”give to get back” mantra flowing consistently. "When you start trying to be a musician in New York it's very hard and very scary. You don't know what you're doing, you have no guide for it- it's very self-absorbed. It's a lot of ego, you're constantly trying to promote yourself," she admits humbly. "I needed something to do with what I loved that wasn't for me."

Searching online for local charities, Rachel came across, reached out immediately, and once again felt, "This is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.” Now participating on a regular basis, "I'll schedule it after something good happens for me career-wise," Platten claims, pointing to the sky with a laugh, "I got you back!"

“The whole point is you’re uplifting people one-by-one; just trying to make someone feel better and take a little bit of stress off them for the moment,” the singer says of the experience. “Moments when you know you’ve touched someone deeply… that’s powerful.”

Rachel’s generous heart also beats for the NYC artist community, finding it important to encourage and pass along lessons learned to fellow colleagues. Wanting to give back to the scene that has bestowed good fortune on her career, Platten understands the struggle, hardships, and frustrations that artists encounter and is willing to help in any way possible.

“When you get to know yourself and what it is you have to give, that it’s unique and special, it’s really easy to support others, see their shows, and be excited for their success,” Rachel reveals. “I found that people have been incredibly generous, kind, and open and it makes me want to give that too. I have some really exciting stuff going on and I’m of the mindset ‘Cool! Let me pass this on and pay it forward. Let me give this back because it helped [me] more than anything.”

Currently in the studio Rachel is turning to newer influences like The Pixies, Elliot Smith and Nick Drake, paired with the creative energy of Bob Dylan (who once lived in Platten’s building) to produce an album that reaches audiences spiritually and emotionally. “I don’t let myself get away with anything,” Platten states confidently, “I’m very hard on myself until the lyrics are all real.”

Songs saturated with happiness and hope and a voice that resonates deep into your core ensure this singer-songwriter is destined for an explosive career. In the current state of our country and the difficult times people are enduring, Rachel’s music provides the ultimate remedy to cure the darkest moments: an infectious smile, a giving heart, a radiant soul, and a whole lot of love.

For more information on Rachel Platten’s music and tour dates please visit,, or become a fan of Rachel Platten at

Rachel’s next live performance will be Tuesday, June 30 at the Canal Room at 8:00pm. Be sure to check it out if you are in town!

1 comment:

  1. I love Rachel's music! I've been listening to ONLY she and lilly allen lately and she has the same kind of sweet badass thing about her. check out my website!!!