Many presses releases for concert tours, album releases, and artist updates arrive in my inbox on a daily basis. While I do give each and every email a glance, I tend to forward them on to my team of columnists to see if there is a spark of interest. However, when the email for Rachael Sage’s concert tour arrived, something about the email told me to take a longer look. Maybe it was title of her album, Haunted by You, that toyed with my interest. Perhaps it was the inclusion of a cellist and a percussionist on her tour. Whatever it was, I decided that for this press release, I would be the contact.
A newcomer to Ms. Sage’s music, I was able to schedule an interview with her to learn more about her background, her songwriting, and her record label.
TN: From what I’ve read, you taught yourself to play piano by the age of three. Are there musicians in your family?
RS: My father is clinically tone deaf; my mom can carry a tune but doesn’t play instruments. I play by ear. I don’t read music. I had a very strong music education. From my ballet classes I heard a good amount of classical music. I did ballet starting at the age of 4 or 5, and by the time I was 9 or 10 I was very serious. I would play the classical pieces on the piano when I came home.
TN: Do you play other instruments?
RS: I play guitar. I wrote Haunted by You primarily on guitar. It’s a great way to get away from patterns on the piano. I didn’t want to fall into the same tricks or signature sound.
TN: Did you take guitar lessons?
RS: I play guitar mainly by ear. I took a couple lessons to learn chords and then started playing around and writing music. It is very different on guitar; it didn’t come naturally. I don’t know how to find the things on guitar that I hear in my head.
TN: If you don’t read music, how do you write songs?
RS: I don’t notate, but it still is a similar process. I memorize it as I compose. It’s sort of a joke between me and my colleagues. If I can’t remember it, it probably wasn’t that catchy. When I am writing a song, sometimes it’s lyrics first, sometimes it’s music first, sometimes it is all at once.
TN: Do many musicians write music this way?
RS: It is not the norm; however, Irving Berlin did it this way.
TN: In addition to writing music, making albums, and touring, you also own a record label.
RS: Yes, I have done that for over a decade. I have several other artists on my label, MPress Records. We have issued charity compilations for several years. Our current compilation (album 4) benefits the National Network for Youth, which is an organization dedicated to the needs of homeless youth. These compilations are inspired by my experience in Lilith Fair and seeing how community minded that group was. I find these compilations to be a wonderful way to discover budding talent and to invite more established artists to be part of the project.
TN: Any final thoughts to share?
RS: I’m excited to have my tenth album out. It’s an acoustic album, stripped down. That’s how people will experience me on my next tour.
If you’re interested in seeing Rachael during her upcoming tour, you can find dates and locations here.