"I’m quite eclectic in my music tastes...Just give me anything with a strong female lead!"
Rachel Alice Johnson is a young musician in Edinburgh. Her sound is enticing in the most delectable way. Intertwining shimmery bedroom pop with echoic alt-rock and elements of funk, means Rachel boasts a sound that is unheard of in the Edinburgh music circuit. She excites over abstract ideas and idealisms, developing a musical sound that is ethereal.
"Song-writing has always come easily to me. I normally just take little memos on my phone before bringing it to a rehearsal with the [band]. I then work on finding a distinct ‘sound’ for the song...Since Christmas we’ve been working with our producer Mark Morrow who has a real talent for bringing out the best of each piece and getting the sound we’re wanting."
This young creative is also a keen artist, having just graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. She experiments with oil paintings and cross media techniques. Combining her art with her music, means Rachel Alice Johnson has created something of a personal brand.
Her most recent single, SAFE ISLAND, exhibits a grace and verve that Lana Del Rey would be proud of. The track sees the young artist's haunting voice melt over an intermittent rhythm section, which rests in splendid harmony with her persuasive vox. It is an elusive sound, which digresses into abstract avenues, supported perfectly by her eclectic artsy display.
The video for SAFE ISLAND (see below) formed part of Rachel's Degree Show exhibition, which boasted her most impressive pieces of work. "I’ve been investigating a theme of celebrity culture for the past year, including it’s consequences upon the individual, both positive, such as empowerment, and negative, such as physical degradation. For the Safe Island video, my friends studying film at ECA shot the video at a wig party in my flat and the surrounding part of Edinburgh."
The SAFE ISLAND artwork is one of her main pieces from the show:" ...it is derived from a 3ft x 3ft oil painting I produced in my last semester of art school. The image is based upon a film still of myself from the music video."
Rachel has taken musical inspiration from the likes of Amy Winehouse and Duffy, meaning she meandered away from her classical roots and expanded on the pop/soul sound we hear now: "I’ve always loved singing but I felt like I never fitted in at school in the choirs... at age 17, I taught myself guitar and from then on I’ve been writing my own music. In the past year I’ve been working with my amazing backing band to develop my ‘sound’, experimenting with instruments to create something ethereal."
Music is an enriching endeavour, and to Rachel it is something quite internalised: "I use music to connect with and liberate my emotions and subconscious, and escape the mundanities of everyday life... [music has] incredible emotional power. It’s another outlet to express myself; I find music a lot more personal than painting. I normally begin with a chord sequence and vocal melody, and then arrange instruments and lyrics to fit around it."
Rachel puts as much effort into her stage presence as she does with her artistic expression. Her live aesthetic, as a result, is equally as expressive and alluring as her sound: "I’ve always Ioved feeling glamorous, particularly onstage, I think it’s because it’s such a contrast to my alternate self in the art studio, where I wear no makeup and I’m permanently covered in oil paint! I love colour and texture, so you will often find me wearing velvet, sequins, silk and lace in magical colours."
But, what does Miss Johnson prefer: music, or art? "At the moment I’m very much enjoying music, but I think I will return to art in the future. I’d like to get a Masters Degree at some point, perhaps in art theory. I love learning, but I’m happy to have a break from it at the moment and continue with writing music! I’m in the midst of recording my debut EP."
You won't want to miss out on her new EP. Find Rachel Alice Johnson on the following sites:
SoundCloud - https://soundcloud.com/rachyjohnson