As any musician can figure out, the music business is the furthest thing from a cakewalk. With so many ups and downs, it’s no surprise that many of them all but vanish into thin air at some point in their career. But then there are others—some of whom are living proof that nothing good ever comes easy—who manage to go above and beyond to reach their full potential. Rising songstress Rachel Platten knows this from experience and, despite all obstacles, she was courageous enough to live for her dream, or more appropriately, fight for it, as captured in her hit single off her EP, “Fight Song.” The eternal optimist, with an inspirational, refreshing sound that’s quite rare in the world of pop (at least nowadays), is now putting the finishing touches on her new album and taking part in The Girls Night Out, Boys Can Come Too Tour. It just goes to show, perseverance really is everything.
Though quite busy with her current agenda, I was still able to catch up with her while on the road with Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri. Incredible, yes! So naturally, I inquired about what her thoughts were on being on the tour. According to Rachel, it can all be summed up into one word: “Fantastic!” Check out what else she had to say below:
Has it been a difficult adjustment, juggling your new EP and being on tour?
Yes, it’s been difficult, but also incredible. I’ve been waiting my whole life to get these opportunities, so although the schedule is quite tough, I am constantly buoyed by my gratitude and excitement that all of this is actually happening.
Most of the tracks off your new EP share a common theme that is essentially overcoming life’s obstacles and rising above them. What kinds of obstacles have you encountered that brought all of this energy into “Fight Song”?
I struggled working odd jobs, like temping in an office. I received a handful of rejections from record labels and had a number of doors closed on me. Even the songwriting process was a bit grueling a times, but despite it all, there was a tiny voice inside that wouldn’t let me give up on this dream.
I think it’s safe to say that “Fight Song” is the summer’s greatest and most influential pop anthem, as it clearly resonates with many people. Being a track that delves into the idea of self-empowerment, where did the inspiration come from for you?
“Fight Song” was a chance to tell my story. After a few months of trying to write a “hit,” my publisher asked me why I hadn’t told my story yet. “Fight Song” was just that; the story of coming face to face with numerous rejections, and despite it all, believing in that tiny voice in my heart that wouldn’t let me give up.
Are you surprised with how much positive attention your EP has received?
Absolutely! The whole thing has really blown my mind, if I’m being honest. Seven months ago I was in a van about to play a house concert to 30 people or so and now this. It’s quite incredible watching my dreams come true.
Your second album, Be Here, also holds the same level of authentic optimism as your Fight Song EP. The only difference I can detect is that the EP sounds slightly more assertive lyrically, but still carries a very positive, beautiful meaning. With that being said, would you say that your sound is evolving a bit?
Thank you! I would say absolutely, yes. I’ve grown up quite a bit since then and gone through a lot. The songs on “Be Here” were basically demos I made in Sweden and London in 2009 and 2010. I didn’t ever have the chance to revise them or produce them with intention, and though I’m proud of them, I am really excited to have the chance to craft an album with resources and time and support this time around.
I saw that you graduated from Trinity College with a degree in international relations. Just out of curiosity, what inspired you to transition into becoming a full-time musician?
That was pretty much all me. I always loved making music, but I didn’t think I was talented enough to pursue it. Finally, that voice inside my heart became too loud to ignore and I listened to it and went after my dream.
You’ve also been asked to perform at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards, alongside Flo Rida and Robin Thicke, along with a few other popular artists. Along with everything else you have going on at the moment, did you ever foresee yourself being involved in something this huge?
Absolutely not. I mean, maybe in my deepest, most hopeful dreams, but not really, no. I had too much self-doubt for a long time.
Thus far, what would you consider to be your favorite accomplishment?
Singing with Taylor Swift, or maybe receiving my platinum plaque for “Fight Song.” Or maybe it’s less glamorous…a quieter moment like singing for someone in need in a hospital room; those are just as amazing, if not more sometimes.
You’ve demonstrated plenty of support and encouragement for your fans through your own website, as well as various social media sites, especially when it comes to their own personal struggles. Having endured some struggles yourself, what valuable piece of advice do you think has helped you the most on your musical journey?
Never give up and believe in yourself fiercely. We create the world we see, so we must guard our minds from negativity or doubt and constantly reaffirm what it is we want to experience. Practicing gratitude is one of the most important things we can do, I think!
How does it feel, knowing that you have such a societal impact with your music?
That’s such a big statement I don’t honestly know how to respond. But thank you…and I don’t know, it brings tears to my eyes when I think of how many amazing people have shared their stories with me. It’s just a lot, really. So powerful.
Do you think that your fans’ “Fight Song” hashtag responses and feedback will provide you with more compositional ideas for your next album?
Absolutely! I love that question!
Rachel Platten will be performing on Sept. 27 at Brooklyn Bowl in New York. Aside from frequent touring, she’s also currently working toward the completion of her new album. For more information, check out her website at rachelplatten.com.