Interview || Faren Rachels

There's a new queen in town and her name is Faren Rachels. 

There were two options to consider for that opening line--princess or queen. The more I thought about it, the more I realized Faren falls into the queen category far more than she'll ever be country's princess. She is confident. She's courageous in her style of music. She's got an incredibly contagious personality. And her voice--it's one of the smoothest, most calming voices to hit the country scene in a while.

It's not likely that you'll catch this new budding country queen in a pair of high heels and little black dress onstage. She will, however, rock her cut offs, signature tees and Marc Jacobs boots. Yes, you read that right. Marc Jacobs. One look at her twitter feed and you'll realize that even though Faren may be on a fast track to being the hottest ticket in country, she will always be true to her Georgia roots. Faren just recently dropped two new singles on iTunes and Spotify-- "If It Aint Fixed" and "Free Drinks." The two tracks are just a hint of an EP that is self titled and will be releasing on November 10 of this year. The EP is the perfect introduction for fans to understand exactly who Faren is.

 She already has an impressive list of artists she's been able to open for this year, including Dwight Yoakam and Riley Green. Aside from getting her feet wet with opening for artists, she's also hosted her own songwriter rounds in Nashville and played in countless others. One thing is for sure--Faren Rachels has put her time in in Nashville and Nashville listened. She's joining Luke Combs for the rest of his 2017 tour which is completely sold out. 

I was able to sit down with Faren for a few minutes before her sold out show with Riley Green at Exit/In a few weeks ago. I'll emphasize the few, too, in this instance to prove this point. Faren had three other interviews the same night. Take a number, Nashville, and wait your turn. Faren is here to stay. 


Thank you so much for taking some time to chat with us tonight. This is crazy--another sold out show for you to be involved in. How does that feel?

Thank you for chatting! It feels incredible. To have moved here five years ago and finally be doing this at the level I'm getting to do it still blows me away. It's so fun to be around all these guys in Nashville and to write with them and get to know them. Performing with them is just another bonus.

You mentioned moving to town five years ago. How did you make it here? Was it always in the plans to move here?

Yes, absolutely! I've always wanted to move to Nashville. I wanted to move here when I was 18 and go to Belmont. But, my mom talked about how it was too expensive to go there, especially when I was able to go for free in Georgia. I went to school in Georgia and played acoustic shows throughout my college year. My senior year of college I met my husband and I was still playing small gigs. He was really the first one who told me 'Hey, you're pretty good at this, you could really do this if you want to.' I never really had someone push me to chase that dream. I graduated and got an office job in Atlanta. I was miserable--the people were great and the company was awesome but I knew that wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Especially after having the desire to want to do it for so long, then having your husband push you?

Exactly! One day I came home and he said, 'You know what, let's do this. Let's move to Nashville and give it a few years. If nothing happens, we can move back to Georgia.' He was the first one to really push me. So, we moved.

Did you hit the ground running in the music scene when you arrived? Or did it take some adjustments?

The first few years that  I was here I was just working so much that I didn't really make a lot of progress in the music scene. But, I was making relationships and meeting people. I started concentrating on writing a lot more because I knew that was something that I could get better at.

And then you signed a publishing deal a few years later?

Yes! About two years ago I signed my publishing deal. When the option came to renew with them or step away, I chose to step away. I loved having that deal but so much was happening on the artist side of things I needed more time to devote to the artist venture. Now here we are with all the opportunities happening as an artist. I'm happy that it took me as long as it did to get where I am, too. I was able to figure out what I wanted to say as an artist. 

You're working with River House now, correct? ( ie: Luke Combs, Ray Fulcher)

Yes! It's all dudes. I'm always in the boys club.

Does that push you (in a positive way) being around all the males, especially in country music where males tend to dominate the charts?

It does. But, country music needs girls in the same way that we need girls in every job. We bring a different perspective to the table that guys simply cannot bring--because, well, they're guys. I'll be in a write with a bunch of guys, writing a dude song and they'll say 'We love writing with you.' And to that, it's simply because, like I said, it's a different perspective. It's not that theirs is wrong and mine is right or vice versa, it's just different. I can chip in and say 'Hey, no girl wants to hear you talking like that to or about her.'

That's such a great point. There's been this focus on singer songwriters in Nashville the last few years, too, where when they ask the male about certain songs, several have responded with "well, I got the girl's perspective / I wrote it from her point of view /  I ran the lyrics by my girlfriend, etc."

We need to get more credit for the songs! It's cool to know that as a female I am bringing a perspective to the format that isn't being said a lot. I don't try to focus on how there isn't a lot of females in country music right now. I just say what I want to say because I know other girls want to hear it.

Right. It would be very easy to pull the victim card.

It's not about trying to dominate country music with girl power and all of that. It more about, you know, just write a good song. And, when I focus on that, it comes together more easily and more honest. Of course, I am a girl so the songs are going to end up being 'girl' songs more often than not. In general, life is harder for women. We have to have the babies, you know? I accepted that a long time ago, though. Life is just harder for us. 

That's so true. Okay, now to something that's not hard to talk about--your new EP. What is the process like picking out the songs you want the world to hear? You've released music before but you have a greater platform now so people are going to get one impression of you from this EP.

We decided to cut an EP, which is usually about 5 songs. I tried to pick 5 songs that told people who I am. There's a song about sitting at home on Friday night with your husband and making a drink at your house. That's real life. That's what we do sometimes. Then, there's "If I'm Being Honest," which is really just about me admitting I'm a little crazy. I just tried to pick a song for everybody. They are all so different but they are all me. 

What song on this EP is the most personal for you and why?

"If I'm Being Honest" is the most honest song I've ever written from top to bottom. Every single word is the way I was feeling that day. I was in a really bad mood the day I wrote that song. I was kind of throwing the pity party you need to throw sometimes talking about how hard it was for women in this town. There is so much pressure to look and act perfect. There's this stigma that we can't push anyone's buttons. It's just the most honest song I've ever written.

The EP is coming out right as you start touring with Luke Combs. Everything seems to be lining up perfectly.

Yes! This is really the first "big" tour that I've been on. We've been playing some shows this year but this will be the first tour that is consistently on the road with the same group of people. I am so blessed to be able to do it with my friends. I know all of the guys. We write together, hang out together. We text almost every day. I'm so blessed. A lot of people just get kind of thrown out on their first tour with someone they don't know at all. Luke is the best guy on the planet. I've watched how he treats his camp--and I'm always impressed.

Okay, so you'll be in a bus or a van a lot over the next few months so you're going to need a good playlist. Who are your current favorites to listen to?

I have a Spotify playlist of all my favorites and it is crazy. It will go from Jo Dee Messina to Trisha Yearwood to BB King. I listen to a little bit of everything. Right now, though, I've been loving The Cadillac Three. I'm such a southern rock girl. Obviously Luke (Combs). I love Cole Swindell. I love Old Dominion. I really have so many favorites. I love country music right now.
Cole Swindell has been a friend of yours for awhile. What's the best piece of advice he's given you?
He has always been so great to me. We were talking about publishing deals one day and he was talking about how, you know, certain writers and publishers will want you to write a song that you know other people will like. He told me "Always go with your gut. If you love it, someone else will love it, too. As long as you're staying true to yourself, there are going to be other people drawn to the authenticity of what you're doing." I've tried to take that advice to heart and really stay in my own lane doing what I want to do and being grateful when I look around it seems that other people are liking it, too.

Of course, I want to thank Faren for squeezing us in for a quick interview while she's so busy with everything happening. But, also, a big thank you to Cole for speaking that wisdom to Faren. That is exactly what Faren has been doing. She's been approaching the music scene her own way on her own watch with her own agenda. And, she landed an opening spot on a sold out tour with a headliner that is country's next big thing. I feel like it's pretty safe to say it won't be long before Faren is the one headlining tours, if I'm being honest.

All photos belong to Faren Rachels

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