1st Look Loves: Singer Rachael Yamagata and New Album “Chesapeake”

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Laura Crosta

When we were introduced to Rachael Yamagata, we thought, "who is this stunning girl?" We were intrigued. Well, it turns out she's a singer-songwriter with a captivating voice and quite a repertoire of collaborations with names like Jason Mraz, Ryan Adams and Ray Lamontagne. Her sound is upbeat and catchy, reminiscent of Adele or Norah Jones with a little Carole King and Stevie Nicks thrown in. And, she's pretty funny, too. Meet Rachael Yagamata.

Tell us about your new album "Chesapeake." What do you hope listeners take with them from this particular work?
Hmm, I find it a cool "drive as you listen" experience. So perhaps, I’d wish a good road trip for the listener. The content feels fresh and spontaneous to me, more joyful than some of my past records, and yet still with layers of heartbreak. That said, I always hope that my songs can somehow purge the emotions people feel and yet can’t put into words themselves.

What is behind your newfound optimism and hopefulness, as the mood of this album has been described?
It’s almost the laughter that rides the line between carefree wisdom and when you start to go crazy. I’ve had such a roller-coaster ride of life and career that I got to a point where you experience the liberation of "nothing left to lose." The big picture of releasing expectations and a certain hold over results made for a return to inspiration and hilarity.

What was your favorite part of making "Chesapeake" and why?
I loved the do-it-yourself nature of it all. There was something so gratifying about seeing every idea come to fruition without any "regime" to pass through. I came down to the studio/house and started washing windows and mopping the porch before the musicians got there. I booked the flights and blew up the air mattresses and gathered a crew I really believed in. It all felt so tangible to me. It was rewarding and empowering to set it up and just let the music guide us. Because it was DIY, we were so much more free as musicians to just follow our collective "muse" every day.

Tell us a little bit about PledegeMusic--seems pretty incredible to see fan support in such a concrete way.
It was amazing and there is no way I could have pulled off this record without their [my fans'] support. I love that PledgeMusic bridges the gap between fan and artist and it allowed me to include them [fans] in the behind-the-scenes aspects of what goes on. I had no idea if people were still listening or checking my site. The response was immediate and reassuring, to know people were willing to support whatever I was doing.

What do you love most about touring and what do you dislike the most about it?

I love the travel part of it. I’m a huge fan of waking up in a new city, experiencing new people and environments and always being on the go. The lack of physical space to spread out and the fatigue… not so great.

Who are some musicians you most admire?
Anyone who keeps on going...

If I weren't a musician, I would be a ___________.
spy or interior decorator

Tell us one thing people might be surprised to know about you.
I have stage fright.

What is your favorite late-night bite?
Philly cheese steaks

What is your favorite thing between two buns?
This seems like an X-rated question. I’m scared.

What is your favorite dessert?
Anything between two buns.

What is your favorite hotel and why?
Anything haunted, keeps me on my toes.

"Chesapeake" is available now. Watch her video for new single "Even If I Don't" below.

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