Stargazer: Rachael Price

Rachael performed in Oregon, U.S., in 2012.

Imagine touring Europe with an international choir, singing solos in France and Spain—all at age 12! Rachael Price did just that—with the Voices of Bahá, a Bahá’í choir directed by her dad, Tom Price. Today, she’s a much-acclaimed jazz singer who tours widely.    

Rachael grew up in Tennessee, U.S. She recorded her first CD in high school. She worked as a jazz vocalist while attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Rachael and three classmates also started the soulful pop-rock band, Lake Street Dive. Rachael has performed around the world and made several CDs. She says, “My goal is to be playing shows . . . and to make records as long as I can.” She lives in New York City, where she likes to do yoga, dance, and go out to hear live music.

 

Q: What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Dancing around the kitchen with my sisters or singing in my house with my dad and my sisters.

 

Q: How did you decide you wanted to be a singer?

I’ve been singing since I was really little . . . I decided that I was not going to go to a college that offered anything but music classes . . . It’s all I did. The possibility of it was always a very encouraged thing in my house . . . I just decided . . . this is what I want to do, so this is what I should study, all the way.

 

Q: You performed with The Voices of Bahá and toured internationally as a kid. What impact did those experiences have on you?

I definitely got a taste for life on the road . . . Because of those trips, I’ve always loved that and wanted that to be my life . . . I also definitely developed a taste for the rest of the world and all the different types of people . . . What kinds of things people respond to musically I think was a huge impact on how I think about music and how I perform . . . It doesn’t matter if you’re in Tennessee singing Gospel or in Hungary doing Gospel . . . The spiritual basis of it and the depth of it comes across no matter what, in any language.

 

At age 12, Rachael traveled to Spain and France with the mostly adult choir, Voices of Bahá.

Q: How did you decide to focus on jazz music?

I started listening to Ella Fitzgerald [at about five] . . . I don’t think a lot of people my age were listening to it . . . There was something about that . . . I liked.

 

Q: What inspired you to record the CD Dedicated to You while in high school?

I think about making albums as like a snapshot, taking a photo of where you are at that moment in time. So I wasn’t the most accomplished jazz singer at 17, but . . . I wanted to take a photo of what I sounded like then.

The cover for Rachael's first CD

 

Q: What was most challenging about navigating the music business at 17?

I just think being who you are, figuring out what it is that you like, the type of show that you want to put on, the way you want to present yourself, versus all the ways people are saying works better, makes more money . . . is more popular. That’s the hardest part, especially when you’re young . . . Choosing . . . what it is that actually works for you.

 

Q: What do you like best about performing?

I like everything about performing. I like the feeling before I get on stage. I love being on stage. I love being in front of people. I’m way more comfortable on a stage than talking to them in a group of people . . . I just love opening up my mouth and communicating with a melody more than anything else.

Lake Street Dive tours around the U.S. Left to right are Rachael, Mike Calabrese (drums), Mike Olson (trumpet, guitar), and Bridget Kearney (bass).

 

Q: What’s been your favorite musical experience so far?

There’s definitely a certain type of audience that’s extremely special, and they’re sort of rare and hard to find . . . I’ve performed in Panama and Brazil, and I don’t think I’ve experienced a more excited audience . . . They’re so focused on what you’re giving them that it’s like you give them a quarter, and they’re throwing twenties back at you. That’s how it feels. You give them one note, and they give you all of their love back. They’re just so appreciative.

 

Q: How does the Bahá’í Faith influence your work?

We believe that music is praise, and that is service, and service is prayer, and so that’s how I think about it . . . I think music is an extremely spiritual art form. I do it for praise and gratitude. That’s what the Faith has taught me about music.

 

Q: What advice do you have for kids who want to pursue a career in music?

The age-old “Practice!” is very helpful. You have to do it a lot and in a lot of different ways, and you have to try a lot of different things. I would say, try anything.

 

Q: What do you say when someone asks, “What is the Bahá’í Faith?”

[It depends] on who I’m speaking to, but how I always think about it is the Faith is really cool. What is not awesome about it? . . . When people ask me, I just think how cool it is . . . and I want to tell them about it.

 

Q: If you had one wish for Brilliant Star readers, what would it be?

I wish that they do everything that they want to do and they do it in the way they want to do it.

Photos: Lake Stree Dive by Deidre Schoo, Oregon by John Keel

Stargazer32 Discover282 Musician9 Music134