Lyrically, Rachel Myall impresses with emotional storytelling à la Dolly Parton and the melancholic romanticism of songwriters like Tim Buckley, while her sublime vocal maturity reminds of singers such as Laura Marling. Her new single ‘Two Sides of Me’ is an emotional portrayal of the inner struggles and strains that relationships can cause. Taken from the upcoming EP ‘Science’, Rachel’s vocal perfection and lyrical sharpness form a beautiful sonic experience that the singer herself likes to describe as melancholic folk blues.
As a musician who cannot read or write music or play an instrument, Rachel’s song writing is underlined by a natural disposition that delivers an enthralling honesty and purity to her sound. Her songs are stories told through the juxtaposition of beautiful melodic vocals with truthful, hard-hitting lyrics.
“I have taught myself how to write songs over the years“, she says, “it starts with me writing the lyrics and working out the melody/rhythm/structure. Usually a line or two goes round my head for ages then the rest comes together pretty quickly after that. I then build up the music in my head. I can hear the instruments that I want, the harmonies, the riffs. I work with other musicians to bring the song to life, singing the parts and explaining what I want, working together to tease out what I’m looking for. So it can be quite a long creative process, piecing songs together bit by bit, but a very interesting and collaborative one.”
The London-based singer started her musical journey from a young age and has been in bands for most of her time. For near future endeavours and the release of her upcoming EP, she has consciously decided to go solo this time. After the break-up of her last band Cymbeline, Rachel wanted complete creative freedom and independence: “I learnt so much from leading a band but it was time to produce a recording that was entirely my own with songs that are very personal and meaningful to me.” The songs on ‘Science’ are a personal portrayal of Rachel’s own life and therefore as intimate as it gets.
‘Two Sides of Me’ was written about the anxieties that getting close to someone can cause: “It is about how the person you’re with doesn’t necessarily know you, they choose to see what they want to see, and you are selective about what you show of yourself. It’s ultimately about being afraid to show the real you.”
Other tracks on ‘Science’ touch upon topics including the explosive chemistry of a short lived romance, poetry by John Keats and about fighting for your dreams. One song was particularly inspired by her travels to South America, taking on influences of Salsa and Bachata. While mainly rooted in folk and blues, Rachel’s sound is taking on a broad range of musical elements, which is particularly underlined by the use of strings, piano, percussion and the occasional trumpet on the EP.
As both a professional songwriter and someone who works in the communications industry, Rachel is very aware of the challenges that self-promoting one’s music comprise. Like so many 21st century artists on the rise she understands that being a musician nowadays automatically means being a manager, a promoter and a publicist at the same time.
Her new EP is a collection of songs written by Rachel in her single twenties in London and forms a very intimate account of a young songstress who puts the experience of growing up in the 21st century into a musical narrative that feeds from a long chain of musical heritage.
The Single ‘Two Sides of Me’ is out now and the EP ‘Science’ is out on 18th March 2016.