Once the frontwoman of Gloriana, an American country music group that toured around the world and opened for Taylor Swift. Rachel Reinert is stepping out on her own and pursuing a solo career. After being in the music industry since she was sixteen, Reinert is revamping her presence as an artist and approaching her music with a new sense of passion. Her most recent single, “Dark Star”, is just the moody anthem we need.
I sat down with Reinert to learn more about her choice to go solo and the inspiration behind “Dark Star”.
Could you talk a little about the inspiration behind your most recent single, “Dark Star”?
Dark Star is a really special song to me. It was written in the midst of this hugely transitional phase in my life/career. It was inspired by the struggles and fears that I’ve had to face after leaving the band I was in to pursue my solo career…but it mainly serves as this reminder to myself that even in the darkest of times, I still have this light within me. It’s filled with hope and optimism.
How is it similar and how is it different from the music you’ve made previously?
Well, my solo sound is completely different than what I was doing in Gloriana. The music I’m writing now is deeply personal and the musicality is inspired by Southern California in the ’70s. Gloriana was a very modern pop-country band. As far as similarities go, I will say that I’ve held onto that very harmony driven vocal sound. That is something I always have/always will have an affinity for.
Could you talk a little about your choice to leave Gloriana and pursue your solo career?
I actually moved to Nashville when I was 16 to pursue my solo career. The opportunity to be in the band was truly one in a million, and I am so incredibly grateful for the memories and experiences. However, I always knew there would be a day where I would feel like I needed to get back to that original dream. I had given the band 8 years and 3 albums and reached a point where I felt like I wasn’t being challenged or fulfilled anymore creatively, so I made the difficult decision to walk away from everything. It really pushed me in all the right ways and forced me to find myself as an artist and a person.
Would you say having gone solo has allowed you to further explore music genres that you want, or is the direction about the same?
The last three years since I have left the band have been incredibly liberating for me creatively. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to take my time and experiment. I always knew that I wanted my sound to be California-Country, but it definitely took a while for me to find my creative partners and get the sound just right.
How does the writing process differ with being in a band versus being solo?
I am in the driver’s seat. I have creative control. I’m making songs that reflect who I am. Being in a band is a constant compromise, especially when you have a very specific sound. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a different thing.
You made the brave choice to move to Nashville at the young age of 16. Do you ever regret doing so? Is there anything you would go back and change?
It’s pretty wild for me to think about. I see other 16-year-olds moving to town with stars in their eyes and I always think “oh my god you’re too young!”…but I was THAT kid, so I can’t judge. I don’t like to live my life with regrets, so there is nothing I would change. I was SO driven and had my mind and heart set on moving to Nashville and pursuing my music career, so no one was going to stop me. I’m lucky that my parents were so supportive of me and my dream. I think the only unfortunate aspect is that I maybe had to grow up too fast-Sometimes I wonder if I should have let myself be more of a kid when I was a kid…but at the end of the day, I’m exactly where I am supposed to be, and that brings me peace of mind.
What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to do or obstacle you’ve had to overcome in the music industry?
Definitely starting over after I left the band. There were SO many odds stacked against me. Many people that I thought were friends in the industry turned their backs on me. I went broke. I had to sell my house to survive. I couldn’t get anyone to work with me. I had to discover myself, discover my sound, and re-establish myself in the Nashville community. It’s been an incredibly humbling experience, but it’s made me so strong and confident in who I am today.
On the other hand, what moment in your career so far has left you the most satisfied or proud?
When I finally put out my first song as a solo artist. It’s undeniably reflective of me, and I am so proud of the music I am making today. I have been through the ringer over the past 3 years and I think there were many people who believed I wouldn’t still be doing this, so it feels really good to prove myself right in that sense.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
I adore Stevie Nicks. She’s just so insanely talented and has made a career for herself based on that talent alone. Her songwriting style and her essence just completely mesmerize me and I so hope to embody that magic one day.
Are you working on any other exciting, forthcoming projects that you want people to know about?
I’m very close to finishing my full-length studio album!
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or bands in the field? How has your success story panned out?
Just be yourself. Don’t chase trends. Make music you love because, at the end of the day, you’re the one who’s gonna have to be singing/performing those songs ad nauseam. Everyone’s definition of “success” is different…I would say that my success story is that I overcame some massive challenges and I’m finally doing what I truly love. I may not be a superstar, but I’m really happy and thankful to still be doing this.
Any last thoughts?
I’ll be performing in New York, LA and Nashville this February/March. Come check me out!
Photo courtesy of Rachel Reinert