Rachel Siegel knows just how scary it is to be vulnerable in music, but she also knows those feelings are worth it. The singer/songwriter, whose debut album, Heart Injuries Are Cumulative, will be released this fall, finds a healing comfort in penning her feelings in music and uses her songs to connect with listeners. We spoke with the up-and-coming singer to learn more about her album, how she came to music as a child, and more.
Tell me a little bit about your background and music — how did you get started?
I was born and raised in rural, southern New Jersey and my mom says I started singing before I started talking. I sang in church and everywhere else growing up. I couldn’t help myself. I started writing songs much later but once I started I was hooked. I changed my plans and ended up getting my degree in songwriting from Berklee College of Music.
How would you describe your music?
Honest. I’m a storyteller and my musical taste is all over the board. I’m incredibly inspired by everything from Bach to Ella Fitzgerald, Fleetwood Mac to Kanye and so many others in between. I’m trying to make something that’s real, that feels all-encompassing in the way these artists feel to me.
With your debut album coming later this year, what can you share with readers about it now?
It’s called Heart Injuries Are Cumulative. I believe that the only way out of things is through and this is a collection of songs I wrote right in the middle. This is me looking my grief right in the face and healing the very best way I know how.
You also created a short film that will go with the album — tell me about creating that.
Creating Heart Injuries Are Cumulative – The short film was one of the most artistically gratifying things I’ve done so far in my career. My director, Quinn Baganz, who created the film from the ground up with me, invested so much into helping me tell my story. I feel very proud that we made such a beautiful piece of art that gives people an even bigger look into my journey creating this body of work.
Your music is very personal, as is the case for so many. Is it scary to be vulnerable with your music?
Absolutely! When I first started writing songs, I would try so hard to say what I wanted to say without ever really saying what I wanted to say. I was terrified of letting people see me. I had a teacher in college who said, “The more specific you are, the more people can relate their own lives to your song,” and that really set me free. We’re all looking for ways to relate, so even though it’s scary, it’s worth it.
Who are your musical heroes?
Carole King is a huge one for me! I am an artist who writes for and with other artists, I love doing both. I respect her so much because she models that it’s possible to do both successfully. Plus, her songs are powerful and insanely beautiful, I’m itching to cover “I Feel the Earth Move” at a show sometime soon!
You mentioned that you want your music to be a place of healing — what music do you turn to when you’re feeling vulnerable or down and need comfort and space to heal?
There are some really beautiful songs that feel like old friends by now. “Basket Case” by Sara Bareilles and “Stupid Deep” by Jon Bellion, to name a couple. Lately, though, when I’m in that space, I write my own. I bury my heart inside my songs I find real solace in the process because I can hear and be there for myself.
A lot of Chance The Rapper right now. Maverick City has also been on repeat.
Who is Rachel outside of the music?
I’m passionate about life! I take a lot of walks, drink a lot of coffee, and love eating good food with my people. I’m many things all at once, all the time but those are definitely some key pieces of my life right now.
What are your goals for this year, next year, and beyond when it comes to your music?
I would love to go on tour opening for a more established artist after the album drops. Maybe someone like Troye Sivan if he or his people happen to read this. I started releasing music during covid so I’m really excited to finally be able to connect with my audience face to face. Ultimately, I’m trying to set myself up to write, put out, and play music I love for as long as I’m able.