Rachel Claudio had us at ‘hey ya’ The Australian native, now living in Paris, did one of the most achingly gorgeous covers of Outkast we’ve ever heard. We were so intrigued we YouTube spiraled into her own lush, R&B inspired epic tracks. We caught up with Rachel and learned more about her chords, sacred space, beauty and covering famous Atlanta rappers.
Honeysuckle: Do you sing, record, DJ, produce, all?
Rachel: If you substitute DJing from songwriting, that sentence describes my life.
HS: Your background:
RC: I would lock myself in a room with my piano for hours on end, transcribing music I loved, writing lyrics probably too weird for a kid to be writing and bugging out on the endless beauty of harmony. I’m such a chord nut. The piano and writing were my mediums for understanding the world.
HS: Where can we see you perform?
RC: I do festivals and intimate shows alike. In lots of different countries, there’s no real theme. I love being invited to
random places (relative to my life experience) and connecting with people who have already connected with you via the music.
I always see music as the transmission of energy through sound. I really get off on witnessing people get into that “sacred space” in the presence of music (or whatever medium, really.) What I mean is, when they get so vibed out that they forget to be cool or to want to be accepted or to be conflicted & misaligned, or whatever is anything superfluous to what I think is a human’s “pure state”. Egoless, full of joy, heart-driven… I love that.
HS: Which artists/music currently inspire you?
I’m in love with a British girl called Szjerdene. Her voice, her lyrics, her sense of melody & harmony just kills me. Otherwise, it’s hard not to be hopelessly addicted to James Blake (who isn’t?) Ta-Ku’s stuff never fails to pull me into line if I ever forget for a second to love music first & foremost.
HS: On being a woman in the industry.
RC: I don’t know if I’ve really paid attention to what that means or doesn’t. I kinda’ keep to myself a lot of the time. Sometimes I’ve noticed that people who don’t know me don’t expect me to do anything more than sing. Or are surprised to know that I build my tracks alone. It’s nice to break down preconceptions if that’s the case. But that’s not why I like learning. I have high expectations of myself and that pressure comes exclusively from me. I don’t feel in competition with any gender or person or entity. I feel like my role is to constantly bash through my own limitations & stay as inspired and honest as possible in my writing.
HS: Does beauty hinder or hurt?
RC: I don’t want to be attached to someone’s arbitrary concept of what Beauty is. I hope that in my own personal experience, I’ll always accept whatever skin I find myself in. But I have often been afraid of being given concessions based on anyone believing I belong to that particular side of the coin. I must be focused wholly on what I want to hear of myself – to be at the top of my own game – as determined by me & no one else.
HS: That OUTKAST cover.
RC: I’ve always thought that that tune is one of the most brilliant pop tunes of all time. But I heard someone singing along to it around that time & became hyper-aware of the lyrics & their depth. I became consumed by it for a while. It didn’t allow me any peace until I had made that remake.
For more and upcoming shows.