Music Unites welcomes Rachel Platten to be the newest member of their women's empowerment initiative with the presentation of an award at her Highline Ballroom opening for Carbon Leaf on April 15.
The Music Unites Woman's Empowerment movement was created to promote awareness about the importance of leadership and self-esteem in young woman around the world through emerging and established artists.
"We look for women who are great role-models in society and see the importance in giving back to the community," says Michelle Edgar, founder and executive director of Music Unites.
"Rachel is a vivacious go-getter whose independent music career has surpassed that of many major artists. She regularly inspires women with her upbeat songs and positive outlook on life and we're excited to have her on board."
Although one might think of Rachel as an emerging artist, she's already established in the New York scene since she's garnered a loyal following at venues like Highline Ballroom, Le Poisson Rouge and Mercury Lounge.
There are some artists you meet and their personality is so utterly incongruous to their music you question and wonder how the tracks playing on your iPod ever came from them. Others are the exact opposite and are walking versions of their songs. New York-based singer and songwriter Platten, who plays happy, quirky pop music that manages to be light but smart and grounded, is the latter type.
She finds inspiration in the Beatles, Queen, Stevie Wonder and what she considers "confessional singer-songwriter stuff." "I've worked hard to fuse these two elements in my writing - and I believe that pop music can be intelligent, and well written, but also upbeat and full of joy and love," she says.
She recently traveled to London, Germany, and Sweden to work with songwriters who have written for the likes Craig David and Duffy. She writes differently for different songs, but the melody usually comes first, followed by lyrics. "Lyrics are very important to me. I like speaking to women and saying what I mean. I like to be supportive and a role model. I don't like sappy ballads though. I like structure, cool, hip songs and fun hooky music."
At the moment, Rachel is taking cues from other female artists, naming Marina and the Diamonds, Lilly Allen, Kate Bush, Alexa Wilding and Call me Kat as musicians she is currently listening to. "I get really excited about other female acts. I feel inspired when I see another women succeeding in music because it makes me realize that if they can do it, I can do it."
When she tours, it is mostly solo but in town, she has a six piece band including a trombone, cellist and more keyboards than you can count on stage. She likes playing live and says, "I just want to bring love. I want everyone to feel like they just got a giant boost of adrenaline and oxygen and Prozac after a show, and just feel good."
Following New York, Platten will go on an East Coast run in May and the Chicago Midwest area in June with Nick Howard. It will only be a matter of time before this young artist fulfills her dream stage at the Glastonbury Festival.
By Mara Siegler