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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Rachel Shaps Chats About ‘Learn My Lesson’

Rachel Shaps, 23, is a singer-songwriter with a flair for the creative. She has recently released her latest single titled ‘Learn My Lesson‘. She combines her folk-style storytelling with a Pop/Alternative sound. Rachel’s vocals are incredibly unique, with a hint of New Orleans soul, of which she certainly inherited from her grandmother, the legendary, Eartha Kitt. Much like her grandmother, Rachel Shaps was born an old soul, which she clearly conveys through the depth of her lyrics. Her ability to connect with people through her music is astounding, and you can hear the rawness of her emotions in every word. With a series of releases planned for 2019 and a steadily-growing following, it seems certain that there will be many more opportunities that are sure to bring her great success.

At Fuzzable, we sat with Rachel Shaps to talk about her latest release, music career, future plans, social media and much more. Check out below to know more.

Hello Rachel. Welcome to Fuzzable. How have you been doing? 

I’m doing awesome, thank you so much for having me here. 

You have recently released your single ‘Learn My Lesson’ which is very soulful and empowering. Is there any personal inspiration behind this track?

Yes, there’s definitely a personal inspiration behind it, as with most of my songs. 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, the guy turns out to now be everything girl wanted him to be, the 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 behavior over and over again – behavior 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. 

Wow! That’s a very deep yet relatable thought. So how did you embark on your music career? Do you always want to become a musician?

The short answer is yes, I always wanted to become a musician. My grandmother was legendary singer, actress, and activist, Eartha Kitt, so I grew up around the industry and guess it’s always been in my blood. The long answer is that my parents wanted me to have a stable foundation and something to fall back on, so I started going down a more “traditional” route. I went to college, got my degree, moved to Chicago, worked a 9-5 job that I hated but honestly, everything happens for a reason and I firmly believe that it was the kick in the butt I needed to really go for it. I started to really tap into music as my outlet and that was it. I quit my job and started working on music full-time.

Sounds great. Which is the favorite part of your job – writing, recording or performing your own music?

Man, that’s tough. If I had to rank them it would be- 1. Performing, 2. Writing, and 3. Recording. 

Which is your biggest personal inspiration that brings you every day to work in the studio?  

This sounds so cliche but my honest answer is just my love for music. There’s nothing else I want to do. Even the days where I don’t have to do anything, I find myself writing or reaching out to other artists, or setting up calls or sessions or shows, and the next thing I know it’s time to go to sleep. It’s just the love of my life.

If you have to describe your relationship with music in three words, what will you say?

Passionate, soulful, and honest.

Who are your major musical inspirations, dead or alive? Have these influences changed over time? 

My musical influences have changed so much, and I think they’ll keep changing, but some of my all-time influences that have stayed constant though are definitely Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, and Adele. Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You” is the first song I heard that I remember tearing up during. Her voice is just so raw and soulful, I felt it and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. 

In what ways has your personal music taste that you grew up on has inspired your current music style and creativity? 

Well, my first concert ever was Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, so it’s safe to say I was a big Top 40 Pop fan. Plus, I grew up in the “heyday” of Disney Channel. It was Miley, Demi, the Jonas Brothers, and that’s what I listened to when I was growing up, and what pushed me towards my love of commercial pop. But I also loved soul and country/folk music, so what started as me writing Top 40-style Pop songs ended up becoming blend over time. Now I’d my style is folk-style writing, set to Pop/Alternative production and arrangement, with Pop/Soul vocals. It’s easier to call it Pop/Alternative, but that’s really how I’ve analyzed and defined it.

Who are your current favorite artists from the industry? If offered a collaboration now, who would you pick?

My most recent favorite artists are Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, Lennon Stella, Chelsea Cutler, Julia Michaels, Ruel, and Alessia Cara. My list goes on and on because I really love so many artists on the scene right now, but those are my most listened to. About the collaboration, I’d love to work on something with OneRepublic. I think Ryan Tedder is such an insane talent, and I think our styles mix really well. 

What’s next in Rachel Shaps’ career bucket list for 2019?

I have lots of new songs in the pipeline, a bunch of fun performances planned, and a move to LA all before the end of the year. So it’ll be quite chaotic, but really exciting. 

Rachel, where do you see yourself in next three years?

In three years I’d love to be headlining a world tour. 

Apart from doing music, what else are you most passionate about?

I’m honestly passionate about anything creative. I love film, TV, fashion, beauty, food. I absolutely love traveling. More food. There’s a charity organization I’d also love to take this opportunity to shed some light on because I feel it’s so important. It’s called “Everytown For Gun Safety” and you can get more information about it at https://everytown.org.

We all are familiar with the power of social media today. On a hand, it’s a great tool to exhibit the art and get exposure, on the other, sometimes it gets difficult to deal with criticism and filter out haters. What do you think is the best way to deal with this?

I speak about this a lot because honestly, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without social media. It’s just the way of the world now, but you’re right, it can be tough. There are always going to be hateful people in this world, and sometimes it’s impossible not to let it get to you, but I’ve been really good at just focusing on the positives and letting it drown out the noise of the negativity. Not everyone is going to like you, or support you, and that’s fine. If you are proud of what you’re doing and happy and secure in yourself, then it doesn’t matter. 

Before we wrap up, let’s have a quick rapid fire round.

Current song on your playlist The new Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber track, “I Don’t Care.” It’s just such a happy, simple bop.
Favorite album Ed Sheeran, Divide
Dream venue Madison Square Garden
Favorite holiday destination Italy or Cabo
Favorite movieHarry Potter
Favorite tattoos None yet, but soon
Favorite food Sushi
Favorite fashion brandEverything on Revolve
Musical instrumentGuitar and piano
When not doing musicGoing to concerts or watching movies
Biggest pet peeve Arrogance
One habit you wanna quit Binge-eating cheese, but it probably won’t happen
The idea for a perfect Sunday Making a breakfast spread, watching a movie, and accidentally writing a bunch of songs
If not a musician – I’d still love to be involved in the music industry even if I wasn’t a musician. I think I’d still be a songwriter even if I wasn’t performing my own stuff. Outside of music though I’d love to do acting or something in fashion.

Connect to Rachel Shaps here on Instagram and website

Listen to ‘Learn My Lesson’ here on Spotify.

Tweet us your thoughts about this latest track by Rachel Shaps at @Fuzzable

Written by Khushboo Malhotra

Autodidactic Ambivert!
Music gives wings to my mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
Have a story? Contact at khushboomalhotra24@gmail.com
Twitter: @KhushMalhotra
Instagram: @malhotra_khushboo

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