Rachel Hale Interview
by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine
A self-professed small town country girl from Prescott, Arkansas, Rachel quickly gained international recognition in 2013 when she was a Top 20 finalist in American Idol season 12, and Billboard ranked her performance of Grace Potter’s “Nothing But the Water” as one of the top moments of the season.
Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?
Rahel Hale: I love to record fun, upbeat songs! I love to dance and workout so I am ALWAYS looking for music that helps accompany those two things. I decided, why not create what I am searching for?! Additionally, I want to give people songs that help them recharge and feel motivated to move forward in life. Upbeat, fun music does just that, and I believe there needs to be more of it!
Lamitschka: As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?
Rachel Hale: My favorite activity is performing. When I am on a stage, my heart comes fully alive, and I feel FREE. There is nothing else like it.
Lamitschka: Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?
Rachel Hale: My parents were always supportive of my music. However, growing up, I was bullied A LOT in school, and many of my female classmates would laugh at the low end of my voice. It was a hard time, but my mom and dad always encouraged me with “ you have a BEAUTIFUL voice.” When I first got to Nashville, things were not easy either. In college, I interned at Capitol Records and got to work on a campaign for Keith Urban. I wanted the people at Capitol Records to “discover me,” and it was NOT HAPPENING. I remember going home at Christmas SO
discouraged and telling my parents, “I am just going to get a job in the industry, I don’t want to sing anymore.” My mom quite literally yelled, “NO. YOU WILL SING.” Looking back, I am so
grateful she did because her voice became louder than the lie that had settled in my heart saying “you are not good enough.” It was just a couple years later that Keith Urban (whose campaign I
worked on for Capitol Records) ended up being MY judge on American Idol, and he LOVED my voice! What are the chances? I LOVE how God always comes through and brings everything full
Lamitschka: What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
Rachel Hale: My greatest challenge has been not bending to culture. I believe it is possible to keep your personal standards while simultaneously creating great music. I see so many people drop their authentic selves to “fit in” or reach a “wider” audience. I refuse to be one of those people. It is EXTREMELY difficult because sometimes that requires people leaving you, and it is hard to lose
people. However, if you are not your authentic self as an artist you will have to perpetuate a lie on stage night after night, and you will be miserable. It is not worth it. I have strong Christian roots, but I sound country. I have had so many labels who have wanted me to either be a sexy, country icon or solely a pop, Christian artist. It always seemed to be one or the other. I finally decided I will just be myself.
Lamitschka: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?
Rachel Hale: One of my personal favorite moments was co-writing a song called “Firm Foundation.” “Firm Foundation” became the title track for the album recorded by gospel trio Selah that went on to win Inspirational Album Of The Year at the 51st Dove Awards. Another career highlight was singing “God Bless America” at the 2022 Atlanta Braves Independence Day Game. I grew up
watching the Atlanta Braves so singing for their game against the St. Louis Cardinals was a dream come true.
Lamitschka: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Rachel Hale: During my time off, I love to relax by turning on CMT and making a new paleo recipe for my Instagram series “Hale’s Kitchen!” It is how I recharge. “Hale’s Kitchen” is a spin on Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and a pun on my last name. In the series, I team up with paleo companies to make fun recipes for my followers to enjoy. I sometimes invite celebrity guests to join as well! I am making my first appearance at The World Food Championships in Dallas, Texas, this November. I cannot WAIT!!
Lamitschka: Is there any place you haven’t played that you would like to?
Rachel Hale: YES! I want to perform at Madison Square Garden, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Lamitschka: What message would you like to send your European fans?
Rachel Hale: I LOVE YOU! Thank you for listening to my music, and I hope to perform at an event near you VERY soon. Until then, please engage with me on social media. My Instagram, TikTok,
Twitter, and Facebook handle is @rachelhalemusic.
Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs to record?
Rachel Hale: Yes! A fun fact- one of the first songs I ever wrote was with my mom when I was about 12 years old. I remember we were in the car, and she said, “Rachel, if you want to be an artist, you need to learn how to write your own songs.” So right then and there, we began writing a song together. After I graduated high school, I studied songwriting at Belmont University. I love writing my own songs, and I prefer to record my own songs versus finding outside songs to record.
Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?
Rachel Hale: TRUE STORY. I once had a deaf man gain hearing again during a live performance. This is one of my FAVORITE stories to share. Just so people know a little bit of my background, I am a Christian, and I believe Jesus has the power to open deaf ears. I was booked for a show in northern California, and during the show I began to sing a song I performed on American Idol called
“Nothing But the Water.” There was a man in his 50s, and he looked like he was a member of Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. During the performance, he stood up and ran to find my friends who were helping me at the show. He said that during my performance of “Nothing But the Water” he had what felt like electricity shoot down his back, and his ears were opened! He said, “I could hear her sing every lyric!!” He was ecstatic because he was DEAF! To be clear, he only was able to hear during that one song, but regardless, the story still amazes me! We took a picture together, and I
keep it to remember what God did. I am so grateful.