Her name has been all over our radar lately, but Rachel Platten has been making music and building her career for more than a decade.
The international relations major-turned-singer songwriter has shared the stage with The Strokes, Lady Gaga and Gavin DeGraw (to name a few) and her songs have been featured on shows like Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and the newest trailer for Supergirl. With her new EP Fight Song out now and as she prepares to jump on the Girls Night Out, Boys Can Come Too tour with Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri, Rachel is ready to crack the mainstream scene.
ANDPOP had the chance to chat with Rachel over the phone about her new music, her Times Square takeover and the artist she would do anything to work with.
Congratulations on everything so far. I think it’s safe to say this year has been your best to date.
Thank you! Absolutely it’s been a really incredible year.
After you decided that you wanted to pursue music, was there anyone around that time whose career you really admired?
Great question. I do remember thinking artistically that Robyn was so cool and I wanted to somehow emulate what she was doing, but I don’t remember being aware enough on the business side of things to say, “Ok, I wanna fashion my career to go like that.” I think it was just like, “Ok, I’m diving in because my heart’s telling me this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Is there any artist that you feel the same about at this particular point in your career?
I think Taylor Swift has set the bar for how to be a boss and run a company. And she does it with such positive messages, on top of making music that is excellent. She’s also writing for the New York Times [Taylor Swift wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal last summer] and she’s really helping change the conversation on music. She’s definitely a role model.
“Fight Song” is such a universal message, but it actually came from your struggles in the industry.
“Fight Song” was really about how hard it was and how much I wanted this career to happen and it felt like it wasn’t happening. And the song became a declaration that I still believe in myself and I can still keep going.
Is it still hard to wrap your mind around all the positive ways fans have responded to the song? It’s really taken off and become an anthem for them.
It is so heartwarming and I don’t know if I have the words to express what I feel when I read their messages. They’re really beautiful and it’s hard not to cry a lot. There’s a lot of really heartfelt and hard stuff that people are going through that they share with me. I feel really grateful that they feel comfortable sharing that, and that the song is helping them in a way and allowing them to express themselves.
ANDPOP: The YouTube comments alone are amazing.
Aw that means so much to me! I really wanted to make sure I did the song justice. It meant a lot to a lot of people and I wanted to make sure that the video carried that and honored it. I didn’t want it to be too light in a way. I wanted to make sure I was showing people what my own struggle was and showing them a little of what I went through.
You were recently on Good Morning America. What was that experience like? Because it was a very powerful performance.
That was pretty amazing. They told us in rehearsal a couple days before that they were going to come up with something special but I don’t think I really understood what they were talking about. So I got there and I saw that Times Square had been taken over with #MyFightSongGMA hashtag which—I’ve lived in New York for 10 years and it’s so surreal. I walk through Times Square and to see this thing that I started all over the jumbotron was so amazing. I felt like this movement was starting: people standing up and declaring what they’re fighting for, and getting to look around and see that we all have something we’re working on overcoming or something we’ve overcome.
Speaking of your fans, you not only have the #MyFightSong campaign, which has been hugely successful, but you also have a #FightSongFriday Q&A every Friday on Twitter. It’s pretty obvious that you have a really strong and personal relationship with your fans.
It’s kind of a responsibility and one that I really love, that I want to give back and I want to answer back. I want to comment back when they tell me what that song meant to them.
The EP is out now and lyrically it’s obviously very personal. You’ve been doing this for so long but is it still nerve-wracking to put yourself out there in that very personal way or is it just a natural part of your life?
It’s not nerve-wracking, no. It actually feels good. It’s kind of nice to say “this is exactly what I was feeling.” I listen to a lot of Macklemore and I love how honest he is in his lyrics. I felt like I want to do that too. Really talk about what I mean and not filter it.
Who would your dream collaboration be?
I’m dying to write a song with Mark Ronson. I really love Amy Winehouse’s album “Back to Black” and Lily Allen’s album, and his solo records. I just love the whole of what he does.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.