This week I'm featuring my interview with 2006 Lynden Christian High School graduate Rachele Lynae, 24, who will perform Friday, Sept. 14, at the inaugural two-day East 542 Music Festival at the Deming Logging Showgrounds near Nugents Corner.
Also included are thoughts from country star Jamie O'Neal, who is producing Rachele's album; and from Jamie's dad, Jimmy Murphy, who was well-known in Whatcom County music circles as a terrific country singer (and yodeler) before he moved to Nashville a few years ago. Jimmy is general manager of Momentum Label Group, which is producing Rachele's album.
MB: Rachele, how does a young star who's full of ambition and talent get more recognition than other talented young people?
RL: I'm extremely blessed to have a close-knit family and strong friendships that keep me grounded. I'm on the road a lot, so when I'm home I take full advantage of that time to catch up with my friends - sometimes that means going out on the town and line-dancing with the girls, sometimes it's coffee dates or workout dates. Also, I try to stay as active as possible with my church through small group and service opportunities. My life is just like everyone else's except ... a little more all over the place.
MB: How does your upbringing, your parents, your community, help you become who you are, not only as a musician but as a person?
RL: My parents and sister are not only my biggest supporters but also some of my closest friends; they help me keep my head on straight. I was raised to always do everything to the very best of my ability, whether that meant school work, music, or serving people. As an artist, this means that it is important to me, at the end of the day, to know that I have done my absolute best when it comes to both music and connecting with my fans.
MB: Will your family be at the festival?
RL: My parents will be at the festival, and my little sister, Heather, will be singing backup vocals for me. I'm really excited to play a show so close to home for the people who have been supporting me and my music for quite awhile now. They believe in me, and now I get to give back!
MB: What's next for you?
RL: I am putting the finishing touches on my new debut album, and I seriously can't wait to get it out to everyone! Other than that, I'll continue writing, making music and, most importantly, getting out there and meeting more great country music fans!
FROM JAMIE O'NEAL AND JIMMY MURPHY:
MB: What's the secret to a successful album, and a successful tour?
JO: I think there are many parts to making it - luck, destiny, hard work and oh, yes ... talent. Also cutting songs you love, unique songs that mean something to you. Choosing great players and making the album your passion! To make a great video, choose the best director and the best treatment (idea) for your song.
JM: The secret to recording a great album is hard work, dedication, patience and vision, plus working with a great creative team. I am excited to have brought Rachele to Jamie and see how they work so well together.
Making a cool video is dependant on a great song plus a talented director, producer and editor. The secret to touring is either having enough name recognition or having influential agents, managers or record labels that get you on as an opener.
In Rachele's case, our company, Momentum Label Group, is using all our relationships to secure her as many opportunities as possible. As her single "Party Til The Cows Come Home" grows at radio and her video gains exposure, she is already being invited to play some cool shows.
MB: How does a young star who's full of ambition and talent get more recognition than other talented young people?
JM: Recognition comes from inside the artist, in my opinion. It begins with the love and respect for music, songs and performance; the desire to emulate what you see and hear in others. Then the willingness to be single-minded and sacrifice time and effort to create something unique and great. What you recognize in others will be recognized in you.
MB: How does one keep sane on tours?
JO: Touring with name acts is partly being at the right place at the right time - having a song in the top 20 or perhaps being friends with a name act who wants to help you and who believes in you.
MB: What's your advice to a young singer on how to avoid the pitfalls of fame and celebrity?
JO: I say keep your blinders on ... you have a long way to go as a new artist, so just work hard and keep writing. Don't watch reality TV! To stay grounded, look to God and your family to help.
JM: I think family, faith and down-to-earth friends are the best way to stay grounded.
It's just a job, after all, and success in any walk of life can go to a person's head if their priorities aren't in place. We are fortunate that we all have shared the spotlight at one time or another, so it's not a big deal. We are so normal it's boring! Rachele is humble, focused and caring. We all believe in her very much.
ABOUT BEHIND THE SCENES
Behind the Scenes focuses on the people who make the arts and entertainment world of Whatcom County happen. It appears in Take Five, The Bellingham Herald's entertainment section, each Thursday. Margaret Bikman is the Entertainment News Coordinator at The Bellingham Herald.
Reach MARGARET BIKMAN at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-2273.