Rachael Yamagata has been called ‘the troubadour of heartbreak’ by the press and fans are drawn to her ability to ‘turn emotion into song’.She’s got the old soul singer songwriter essence that calls upon Todd Rundgren, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, The Carpenters and Elton John and sonically gravitates towards the darker stylings of Nick Cave, Tom Waits, P.J. Harvey and Danny Elfman.
She hits the road again this fall stripping it down to a more intimate show – expect strings, seated venues and wine – all in support of her 2012 independent release ‘Chesapeake’ and a new as yet untitled EP of ‘darker fair – some lush with strings and others stark with vulnerability’. Guest appearances include Liz Phair and Madi Diaz along with Mike Viola (of the Candy Butchers, ‘Get Him to The Greek’, ‘That Thing You Do’).
She’s toured with the above as well as The Swell Season, Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams, Sara Bareilles, Adam Cohen, opened for David Gray solo at Madison Square Garden, been the guest of Pete Townsend’s In the Attic Series, and shared the stage at Carnegie Hall with R.E.M. and Patti Smith. Recently she’s played with Steve Earle for a Woody Guthrie tribute show alongside Allen Toussaint and The Wood Brothers after her own headlining tours for the past 8 months throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe. Her collaborations have included songs with Jason Mraz, Mandy Moore, Dan Wilson, Katherine McPhee and she’s lent vocals to the works of Rhett Miller, Bright Eyes, Dave Matthews, Ray LaMontagne and Ryan Adams etc.
She’s played for President Obama and performed this year at the Cherry Blossom Festival with The First Lady as well as been the guest of the White House for a tweet dialogue on behalf of her fans with the White House Office of Public Engagement. She appeared as herself in the new movie ‘Renee’ performing her song ‘Keep Going’ based on Renee Yohe’s true story of addiction and triumph which started the movement TWLOHA. She’s been the Barnes and Noble two-time guest of the ‘Upstairs at the Square’ series pairing artists with writers – first with author Alaa-Al-Aswany (The Yacoubian Building) and more recently with Bill Clegg (Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, 90 Days). Mr. Clegg requested Rachael specifically for the relevance her records had during his own recovery process. She’s covered tracks for ‘The Village’ compilation (songs of Greenwich Village) and on the other end of the spectrum, for the Muppets Soundtrack.
Of late, her song ‘You Won’t Let Me’ has reached number one on the Australian charts as the first single for The VOICE Australia winner Karise Eden and her song ‘I Don’t Want to be Your Mother’ is currently playing in the movie ‘Hope Springs’. Past placements have included songs in films like ‘Prime’, ‘Bella’, ‘Monster in Law’, ‘In Her Shoes’ and ‘Hotel For Dogs’. She’s recently had two appearances on Carson Daly and past appearances on 30 Rock, The O.C., Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. Her T.V. placements include songs in ‘Pretty Little Liars’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘E.R’, ‘The L Word’, ‘Brothers and Sisters’, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ etc. etc.
She spent her early years on RCA releasing ‘Happenstance’ and then Warner Brothers releasing ‘Elephants.. Teeth Sinking Into Heart’, but chose independence of late and releases on her own label ‘Frankenfish Records’. She launched a Pledge campaign to raise funds for ‘Chesapeake’ and reached her goal in 3 days thanks to a loyal following that continues to support her. She turned in a ‘dowry’ of sorts from her father to help fill in the gaps and even slept in a tent for recording when the house converted studio left beds to be desired. NPR, The Audio Perv, Perez Hilton and even Taylor Swift remain fans (she’s photographed this year with Rachael’s lyrics to ‘Even If I Don’t’ on her arm during one of her shows). The highly known photographer Jungman Kim of South Korea calls her ‘a muse’ and even featured a special release of her album paired with his photographs.
Image by Janet Dancer