“Sometimes life can change for the better, overnight,” sing the sweet, girl-next-door vocals of Rachel White.
It really has been a whirlwind lately for the 21-year-old country singer. Her debut EP, Destination Sunday, is days away from release (at the time of writing this), and several songs are already in regular rotation on radio, but she still found time to chat with me, proving that her kind and optimistic personality shown on social media (Twitter + Instagram: @RachelWhite04) is genuine, just like her lyrics.
Straightforward, relatable, and always looking at the bright side seems like an accurate tagline for Destination Sunday – while I have pre-ordered the EP, I’ve only listened to the live versions of each song on her active YouTube channel, where in their simple state still sound, to quote a Canadian radio DJ who played “Good Kind of Criminal” this very afternoon, “pretty good.” Listeners of “Destination Sunday” would never be able to tell that “the songwriting is a pretty new thing for me;” Rachel’s gift for storytelling and honest self-awareness give her a maturity beyond her years in the songs she writes, all while remaining the cool girl-next-door who plays guitar.
She bought her Takamine EF341SC acoustic guitar in Nashville – the same model played by Bruce Springsteen, and her favourite artist, Bon Jovi. “My favorite songs in general are very guitar-driven,” she continues. When pressed about her writing style, Rachel explains that “most of the time, I have a line or two pop into my head, and it usually has a certain flow to it. So I sort of have the melody in mind while I’m writing the rest of the song. My song styles are so varied that you’re sure to like at least one of them! […] They could also very easily be played on variety and top 40 stations, because they honestly are a mix of genres and fall easily into more than one category.”
When pressed upon genres, Rachel continues “Country is a lot more diverse of a genre than it used to be (I have a mandolin in one of my songs but no one is going to call me traditional country by any means). One of the key differences, to me, is that my songwriting itself is very much in the country genre. My strongest, most obvious songwriting influences are modern country artists, so that’s probably always going to be sort of a core thing for me.”
“I love modern country music, to be honest. I’m a Florida Georgia Line fan! Basically if it’s on modern country radio, I love it. I grew up listening to 90’s and early 2000’s country. That’s my thing. I love the pop/rock and country mix of a lot of the newer stuff […] I actually do have more male artists on my phone than female – No particular reason why. […] I just have one thing to say about [the difference between country songwriting styles of guys and girls]: “Girl in A Country Song.” So yes, with some male artists there is a difference. But only some of them. Girls can definitely be just as stereotypical. You just don’t hear complaints about it much. Most girls write about guys. Most guys write about girls. That’s the truth of it, a lot of the time.”
For someone as easygoing as Rachel, a typical gig outfit consists of jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers – and she doesn’t expect to change any time soon. “This is me. Take it or leave it. I’m not changing for anyone. The pressure might be there but anyone who expects me to change will likely be very disappointed.”
Rachel’s 6-song EP, Destination Sunday, is released the 28th of June, 2016 – digitally and in physical copies.