Rachel Platten’s fight is far from over
I honestly was not sure what to expect prior to meeting Rachel Platten, otherwise known as “the ‘Fight Song’ girl.”
Was this going to be an artist who would create that one song then disappear off the map and resurface on a NOW CD? Or did she have staying power?
Hearing a slower ballad coming through the doors, I entered Lincoln Hall in Chicago curious as to what kind of crowd I would find. I surprisingly found myself surrounded by fans of truly all races, backgrounds, and ages. I saw little girls sitting on their dads’ shoulders, hipsters casually swaying holding their craft beers, middle-aged women sipping on wine, and college kids taking shots from their purses.
All of these people had one thing in common: they were absolutely entranced by the furry-jacket-and-bralette-wearing Rachel.
As she finished her ballad, she started interacting with her audience.
“Hey guys, sorry about these sad songs,” she said, “I promise it’s going to be time for a dance party soon!”
Throughout the remainder of the show, she kept the energy high and the audience interactions even stronger. She taught the crowd lyrics to her songs, held a dance contest with a T-shirt as the prize, and recreated a PG-13 Snoop Dogg cover of “Gin and Juice.”
Rachel is the type of artist who has the rare ability to make the entire room feel as if they’re her friend, almost as if every person coming out to her show is someone she personally invited. She is a girl-next-door version of Gwen Stefani: that cool girl from high school who everyone knows is talented and whose yearbook superlative is “most likely to be famous.”
This “Fight Song” girl fought hard enough to make sure she’s here to stay.
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How were the AMAs this year?
Award shows are honestly not all that fun. It’s so nice to catch up with friends, but you could be in the middle of a conversation with someone then a photographer comes up and you have to remember to look perfect and suck in.
Going this year was a last-minute decision. I have a new album, “Waves,” out now so I thought it would be a good idea. My look was Diana Ross 70’s inspired, and my hair stylist killed my hair, I loved it! Last year, I was presenting so it was super nerve-racking, this year I got to relax a little bit.
When it comes to red carpets and award shows, what inspires your style?
Lately, I have been trusting my gut a lot more. I used to be a lot more nervous and I just mainly used my stylist. I’m all about feeling good at night and performing over who I’m wearing. When I first starting touring, I would wear mostly jeans and T-shirts. Now more and more I’m starting to really see how fashion is an art and appreciate the beautiful things that designers create.
You wrote “Fight Song” when you needed a little extra push to keep pursuing your dreams, how would you encourage other women to pursue their own dreams?
The truth is six years ago a label offered me a deal and everything seemed to be finalized, then they just took it all away. At that point I really had to re-decide what I wanted to do, but I knew I refused to give up.
During my shows what I say on stage to my audience is really what I believe in. I believe that when we start listening to someone else’s version of ourselves, it’s not going to get you anywhere. You have to believe there is no timeline and you just have to run your own race.
You can’t give up if it’s scary and you really have to work hard. You have to work harder than you have ever worked in your life, don’t go back down the mountain.
How did you feel about performing at the Miss Universe pageant?
I was so proud to be a part of it! Miss Universe really works hard to show empowered women in a way where it’s not just a pageant. They truly recognize remarkable women and make an incredible show. The fact that I was able to sing Broken Glass, which is kind of a feminist anthem, just made it even more amazing.
Don’t warm yourself at anyone else’s fire. Build your own and people will come to it.
How does it inspire you as an artist when fans tell you that music helps them?
It’s really just an indescribable feeling. Sometimes I can get caught up in the fame, but then I remember that I really want my music to spread love and help people feel things. When fans tell me stories about their lives it reminds me that the “fame” shit doesn’t matter.
When do you feel the strongest connection to your fans?
The best show I ever had was in a hospital through the organization Musicians on Call. I’ve never felt such a raw connection then in that moment. Performing at the hospitals inspired me to become a part of The Starlight Foundation. I’ve partnered with The Starlight Foundation in creating fashionable hospital gowns for teenage girls in the hope that we help make them feel beautiful.
Current artist you are obsessed with?
People always ask you about your breakout “Fight Song” and say how it’s an anthem to so many people, sports, politics, and more. Growing up, what was YOUR “Fight Song”?
That’s a tough one, there’s just so many songs that made me feel something. Definitely had more than a few songs that were my female anthems. Most of them by Lauryn Hill, Tori Amos, and Regina Spektor. Of course, I can’t forget Missy Elliott and Madonna!
Was your involvement with your new album “Waves” different then your previous album?
Well the last time I was in the studio I was on tour while the album was getting produced. This time for Waves, I produced the music and was really heavily involved in the sound process. It was really hard when the music was getting made without me, so this time I really owned it. I felt like a boss and I was really inspired in making everything fresh. I felt like I knew as much as all the other guys sitting in the studio and knew exactly what direction I wanted to go in. I’m extremely proud of how “Waves” turned out and couldn’t be happier.
Dream collab for 2018?
Chance the Rapper!