Only a couple of days to go before Clockenflap! Hong Kong’s biggest annual music & art festival is the talk of the town this week, and we can’t wait to head on over to the West Kowloon Cultural District to check out all the amazing local and international acts. Here at Sassy we’re all about supporting our fellow females, so we caught up with Rachael Yamagata, one of the musicians performing at Clockenflap 2015 to talk about her inspirations, who she’d most want to perform with at Clockenflap this year and how she’s faced sexism in the music industry (how to shut down a creep!).
The American singer/song writer has a beautiful, soulful voice that perfectly matches her confessional, intimate lyrics. She’s performed at The White House and with the likes of other awesome female singers, Sheryl Crow and Bette Midler, but one the coolest things about Rachael is that she has been working without management representation for the past four years. We love her independence and down-to-earth nature, which sets her apart from other pop singers and songwriters… check out her latest song below and keep an eye out for her new album coming this Autumn.
Tell us about your background and how you got started in the music industry. How did you get to where you are now?
I was originally studying languages and theatre in school. I never set out to have a career in music, however I was completely blown away by this band in Chicago while I was in college and eventually became a member. All I knew was that I needed to be onstage with them. After seven years of playing in that band and simultaneously writing my own songs, the magical alignment of circumstances lead me into label showcases and starting my solo career. After about ten years of major label rotations, several eps and two full length records, I opted to go independent. The past several years have been a mixture of myself as CEO/Entrepreneur/Artist.
Describe your music style in three words.
Cinematic. Soulful. Honest.
If you could collaborate with one other artist performing at Clockenflap this year, who would it be and why?
Damien Rice. I’ve done shows with him in the past and am just a big fan of his art and emotional vulnerability.
What are 5 of your all time favourite songs?
Still Crazy After All These Years – Paul Simon
The Way We Were – Barbra Streisand
Something – The Beatles
Blue – Joni Mitchell
So Far Away – Carole King
What/who has inspired you?
My family has been the most important influence in my life. Their complexities and love and diversity of personality and culture have truly shaped me. I am a lover of nature, animals, travel, and the pursuit of authentic connection.
Have you ever faced any sexism in the music industry? If so, how have you dealt with it?
Yes. I look for the way for both parties to win. I try to connect on a deeper level than stereotypes and push through and past it. Sexism is such a lazy, foolish tool and has only ever made me work harder and more strategically. Being my own boss is a great advantage in this and yet it still creeps around. I’m pretty good at shutting down a creep though 😉
Any advice for aspiring musicians/artists?
Follow your own creative instincts and find your authentic voice. Play live, fail, fail worse and then get up there and do it again. (Repeat). Work on self-discipline, developing a thick skin and find your mentors. Be good to your fan base and give them all you can, but give to yourself first. Study business, law and finance. Be fair. Figuratively – hire a driver, but also know how to drive yourself. Be as creative in your business as you are in your music. Feed your soul and don’t waste time with toxic energies in people or situations. Read and learn. Learn some more. Love fully. Be humble while thinking you are the shizzle.
Wish you could see Rachael live, but haven’t had the chance to buy tickets? Enter our giveaway below for your chance to win a weekend pass to Clockenflap. Good luck!