Newfoundland, Canada-based singer-songwriter Rachel Cousins recently released her new single, “For Myself,” an appetizer for her forthcoming album, slated for release later this year.
Talking about “For Myself,” Rachel shares, “Inspired by early 2000’s pop and R&B, the song is a groovy and empowering dance-pop number that speaks the importance of self-care and living your truth day by day, without the need for a significant other.”
Rachel emerged on the music scene in 2017, releasing her debut EP, This Fire. Since then, she’s appeared on the collaborative album, Songs from Home, with Alan Doyle, Fortunate Ones, The Ennis Sisters, and The Once, along with signing with Toronto’s CYMBA music publishing, resulting in sync placements on Wynonna Earp, The Wedding Planners, CBC’s Hudson, and the film, The Art of Falling in Love.
“For Myself” opens on contagious dance-pop colors riding a cool, mid-tempo rhythm conjuring up suggestions of Michael Jackson, at once seductive and voluptuously energizing. Rachel’s voice, cashmere and alluring, infuses the lyrics with luxurious timbres. It’s one of those silky-smooth, bravura voices that exude posh, luscious textures.
Impressed and intrigued, Guitar Girl Magazine caught up with Rachel Cousins to find out more about the inspiration behind “For Myself,” her upcoming album, and her evolving tone.
What three things can’t you live without?
My cats, my guitar, and my phone.
What inspired your new single “For Myself?”
I had just gone through a bad breakup, and instead of writing a ballad, we decided to write an upbeat self-love song. I wrote this with my producer Daniel Adams, and Toronto-based artist J.E.M, over Zoom during lockdown. I really wanted to have a song out that made people feel good, almost like they were speaking an affirmation while they were listening.
Walk us through your mindset as you approached recording the song.
Recording this song was very therapeutic for me at that point in my life. With just Daniel and I in his room to record, we could really have fun with it and put our energy into the song. I was dancing while recording, dancing while listening, and just really wanted people to feel the good vibes when they listened to it.
You have a new album releasing later this year. What can you share about it?
The new album means a lot to me because it really feels like I’ve settled into my own now. I think this album is going to show people how much I’ve grown, how far my music has come, and what I’m trying to do with my music from here on out. It’s all about my Aura and how I see it in a way. The fun, the empathy, the different colors about my energy, and that’s why I’m so in love with it.
How did you get started in music?
I started really young in musical theatre and absolutely loved it. I fell in love with the way I felt on stage at around 9 years old, even during recitals. Once I started writing my own songs as therapy, my first teacher taught me how to place some basic chords on guitar and would give me words as print to write with. That’s when I started recording and gigging, and at that point, I was probably 15.
Where are you from?
St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada.
Did your hometown impact your sound?
I started writing folk, singer-songwriter style at first, and my first CD was very rock and folk-influenced. A lot of the music here is folk and Irish Newfoundland trad, so acoustic guitar and those kinds of sounds were all I grew up around. I soon transitioned into pop music, but I have to credit my songwriter abilities to the incredible songs written and played here at home.
What kind of guitar do you play?
Taylor GS Mini.
What is your definition of tone? And has your tone changed over time, or remained pretty much the same?
Tone is like the vocal or instrument quality to me and all are unique. My vocal tone has changed significantly just over the past 2 years. Of course, I’ve grown since then but also just being trained more vocally and becoming a healthier singer gave me a much more developed tone to my sound. So, I would say it’s changed over time for sure.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?
I pull inspiration from a lot of different places. I could read a poem and have a lot of ideas come to me like prompts for a song, and other music does that for me as well. I’m also super visual when it comes to not only writing but also being inspired. Pictures always give me ideas for songs.
What can you share about your writing process?
Often times I just start playing chords over and over and improving until something sticks when I’m alone, so I’m always voice-memoing. When I co-write, I definitely consider myself a lyricist because I always get a vibe off of another person’s melody or production ideas. So, I’ll start writing verses upon verses in silence, and then piece the song together.
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
Billie Eilish, Tate McRae, Olivia Rodrigo.
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? New material? Live gigs?
Fans can definitely look forward to lots of new material both on the album and on its own, and to see more live shows. I’m really hoping to get to gig more this summer because I’ve missed it a lot during lockdown, and I’m most excited to showcase my new music because it’s been 2 years of a lot of growth.