Independent Lens: Rachel Farley - RedBow Newcomer's Talent 'Ain't Easy' To Dismiss
By: Ben Foster
Newcomer Rachel Farley earned the #1 most added song on Billboard and Mediabase with her debut single "Ain't Easy," but before she had even had a single released, the seventeen-year-old had already shared the stage with the likes of Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan. At this year's Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with this talented new artist as she answered a few questions about her musical roots and her burgeoning Country Music career.
Ben Foster: Let’s hear a little about your background. Where are you from?
Rachel Farley: I’m from Georgia, from kind of the Atlanta area. I grew up between Atlanta and Athens. I picked up a guitar at eleven, and started playing gigs. I played my first gig at a coffee shop when I was twelve, and I played about a hundred gigs after that every year. When I was thirteen, Brantley Gilbert asked me to come out on the road with him, and I toured with him for about two and a half years in all these college bars. It was a lot of fun. It was a big learning experience – just me and my guitar for years.
Ben: You’ve gotten to perform with Brantley Gilbert like you mentioned, and also Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean. What kind of influence do they exert on you?
Rachel: Oh man, you know I’ve always listened to their records, and I just really look up to their performance and their songs. They’re amazing artists, and I was lucky enough to get to go on tour with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan last year for the last leg of the My Kinda Party tour. It was just unbelievable, and so cool of Jason to bring me out there. At the time when he brought me out, I didn’t have a label, and I didn’t have any music out, and you know he can have anybody he wants to opening for him. For him to choose me based on the fact that he liked my music was really, really humbling.
Ben: Who have been your biggest musical influences?
Rachel: You know, everything that’s good! I love music, and I grew up listening to everything from the Dixie Chicks to The Judds and Keith Urban. [From] Kenny Chesney to people like P!nk and Joan Jett.
Ben: What can you tell us about the creative process behind your single “Ain’t Easy”?
Rachel: I wrote it by myself. I wrote it in my bedroom, and got to the first chorus of the song, and I knew I had to finish it up, because I just felt that it was going to be the first single. I knew – something told me. I finished it up, and we got in the studio later that year with Michael Knox, and he turned around as we’re tracking the song, and he says “Girl, I think that’s your first single.” I’m like, “Well, me too! So, glad we’re all on the same page!”
Ben: You’ve been getting a warm reception so far – most added on Billboard and Mediabase. How does that feel?
Rachel: Oh my gosh, it’s amazing. We’d been out promoting the single on a radio tour for about two and a half, three months. We were actually on the last day of the tour. We're sitting on the bus, and everybody’s waiting to find out how we did, and to get that back that we’re the most added was really, really exciting, and very cool that country radio is being welcoming to what I do.
Ben: You have one song called “My Daddy’s Song,” which I understand comes from a personal place. Would you like to tell us about that?
Rachel: My daddy was diagnosed with Angiosarcoma, which is really rare cancer, when I was fifteen. He fought for about two years, and when I was sixteen, he passed away in August of 2011. It was just such a long battle, and we fought so hard, and my daddy always told me to write him a song. It was one of the last things he told me, like ‘Write a song for me.’ I wrote this song the morning of the funeral, actually, and I played it at his funeral. I never thought I would be strong enough to do something like that, but I did it. It’s a song for him, just kind of promising that I’m going to move on with life and make him proud.
Ben: Do you have anything coming up that you would like to give a little teaser for?
Rachel: Yes, actually! It’s really exciting. March 15, I’ll be making my Grand Ole Opry debut. I definitely cried when I found out about that. That means a whole lot to me, so it’s really exciting. That’s been such a huge dream of mine for as long as I can remember it. To get that phone call is overwhelming.