Rachel Cousins talks international expeditions, adopting a pop sound and writing music from the heart in the wake of the release of her latest album
It’s been two years since rising singer-songwriter Rachel Cousins released her debut E.P. This Fire.
Much has changed in that time, with Cousins adopting a sound that adopts much of the pop sensibilities that crack the mainstream today. She’s been recognized internationally, with her music featured in television series Wynonna Earp, and even signed a publishing deal based out of Ontario. But Cousins remains true and consistent when it comes to crafting music from the heart.
Following the release of her self-titled E.P., Cousins caught up with The Herald for the latest of our artist Q&A sessions.
How was your experience in Sweden for Live at Heart? What does something like that mean for you in terms of career growth?
It’s totally different than doing something here because not only are you in a totally foreign place but you’re meeting people that you never would have gotten to meet here. Just the scale of it all is totally different when you’re somewhere like that. The venues were crazy and there’s so many different people from all over the world.
The other side of it was it’s a different audience that you’re playing to because when you’re home and you’re doing it there’s like this sense of familiarity. But when you’re in a foreign country you don’t know anybody in your audience, so you don’t know how they’re gonna react, if they like your stuff, if they don’t. So that was a whole other thing that I got to play with. I’m glad I got that experience while I’m still young.
So much has happened in the two years since your first E.P. Do you feel like a different artist and songwriter?
It’s funny because when I was doing this new E.P. we made the cover art and then we compared the two and they could not be more different but yet the same strength and the same vibe that I wanted is still incorporated. I look back on This Fire and I’m really happy with the first debut E.P. because some people look back and say oh my God I never want to look at this again and that’s a normal thing for artists. There’s always a sense of that, I could have done this different on this but you know that’s part of the growth. There’s been a lot of lessons learned in between. Releasing this E.P. I can almost say that I was more nervous than my first. This one the what ifs really played a part because it’s this new genre. I don’t know if people are going to like it, but to release it and see this new audience come out of it too. It’s like this younger audience that is really obsessed with pop music which is a really cool thing that I didn’t get for This Fire.
Releasing your first set of music your family is your biggest audience, which is an amazing thing, but with this E.P. I’m finding that there’s people that I have never talked to before saying I really enjoy your music. There’s a lot of different things compared to This Fire, but there’s still that same kind of here I am and this is what I want to do.
Adopting a more pop sound on tracks like Let Go and Dangerous Love, do you feel that this is the sound and style you were meant for?
It was really important to me to not get way too excited with the pop sound and go insane electronically and then get away from my roots, which is folk music. As a singer songwriter it’s always gonna be me and my guitar at heart. I made sure to keep that in the E.P. with songs like Hope to Bring, Man of Stone acoustic and Steal Mine. They’re just very rooted in that singer songwriter vibe. I made sure to stay true to that but I do really, really love pop music … so it’s a different thing but I just made sure to stay true to what I really wanted. It was quite a different leap and I was scared to do it but with my first single Let Go, once I made that and I released it I was like this is totally what I want to do. Pop music is where my heart is at.
You’re 18, have a publishing deal and have already performed across the pond. How would you like to see the next stage of your career go?
The publishing deal is great because now I get to have that experience for everything that I’m releasing and I’m writing with different artists so that’s really cool … I’m not going back to school or anything so I’m just really focusing on my music. I’ll do little runs to Toronto here and there just for work. But I’m going to keep writing. The thing about releasing an E.P. is that you do the promo and you’re doing all the stuff, but in the meantime you’re preparing for the next big thing. It’s like a constant hustle.
Now that I’m doing all this stuff with the E.P., cause it’s still very much fresh, now I’m like I wonder what I could do for this music video? Or the next E.P. or the next visual. It’s always like that. But that’s the thing about being an artist is that you never are just satisfied. If you are you should probably think about something else.
For more on Rachel Cousins and her new E.P. visit rachelcousinsmusic.com and visit her official social medias.