Raechel Whitchurch’s debut album, "Finally Clear" feels like we’ve been invited to a party we always wanted to go to, where you receive a warm welcome and the setting beautiful and the entertainment perfect. Moreover, ad host, Raechel Whitchurch holds us in an embrace the whole time, so you really never want to leave. "Finally Clear" is Whitchurch issuing us an invitation to her party, and she’s going to ensure we have a really great time.
Raechel Whitchurch was born and raised on Country music and has spent her entire life immersed in Australia’s Country music scene. Some might say that her life reads like a Country song, from her parents’ shotgun wedding and her childhood spent living in a caravan. Whitchurch grew up playing mandolin, guitar, banjo, and keys, as well as being the primary songwriter, in her family’s travelling band The Lees. They released three albums together, appearing at festivals including Tamworth CMF, Gympie Music Muster and the Adelaide Fringe Festival, before Whitchurch decided to pursue a solo career. Raechel's Country life continues with her dobro-playing husband and their babies named after long gone Country music stars. It therefore is hardly surprising that she ended up singing her songs for a living.
Raechel started playing piano when she was 5, and then traded it in at 8 for a mandolin. Guitar and banjo soon followed, and so did the songs. Songwriting became something she simply had to do, and many nights her parents would find her in her room long after her bedtime, lights dimmed, pen and guitar in hand.
“My family were all very musical and we were encouraged to chase after our own musical dreams. I started playing guitar when I was 12 and it changed everything for me. I realized that if I could put how I felt into a song, people were able to understand and relate to it more than when I just said it. I was hooked and something in me came alive.”
Whitchurch's songwriting was always beyond her years, and while other kids her age were fixated on the popular artists of the time, Raechel was listening to Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Lucinda Williams and countless other songwriting legends. This shaped the way she wrote her own songs, and even from an early age, she didn’t care if she was ‘cool’, she just wanted to say something profound and beautiful.
It’s been four years since Whitchurch released her debut EP, "Outlaw". Clearly, Country music fans are resonating with what Raechel has to say though as "Outlaw" , opened at #1 on the Australian Country iTunes charts (ahead of Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Chris Stapleton). She also sold out her Sydney launch show, and travelled all over Australia on a tour she booked, promoted and funded herself.
When it came time to follow up the ‘Outlaw’ EP, Raechel wanted to make sure the body of work she created for her first full-length album was all it could be. So, she took three years to live, experience, grow and create. She wrestled with the feelings that all artists experience, and made sure that she had the grit to live and breathe music. “After I released my EP, I discovered that my skin wasn’t as thick as I thought it was. To pursue a music career is all consuming and I had never really sat down and thought through the repercussions of that for my family and I.”
In 2019, Raechel realized that she had more than enough songs for a full length album, and she felt ready to put those songs out into the world. The uncertainties she had about whether she was ‘good enough’ were outweighed by the inescapable pull she felt to create and perform, with her skin a little thicker, her voice a little stronger, and her songs a little braver.
In March this year, she released the single ‘I Found Home’ which peaked at #27 on the The Music Network’s Country Airplay Charts and caught the attention of Compass Bros Records, who have signed Whitchurch to an exclusive distribution agreement.
In March 2020, Raechel released her new single, “I Found Home”, along with a music video shot in Saint Albans, northwest of Sydney. “I Found Home” is a song about realizing that no matter what you do, see or achieve in your life, there is nothing as good as coming home to someone you love. Despite releasing her first single amidst a worldwide pandemic, it seems that fans and artists alike are excited for her new music. One of those is Country music star, Adam Harvey, who saw Raechel perform to a packed house on Cruisin’ Country in 2019.
Raechel's single, ‘Don’t Be Afraid’, spoke of the anxieties you experienced during the recording process of your forthcoming debut album. Tell us a bit more about your journey to Finally Clear?
I’ve been waiting to release Finally Clear since early 2020 and so to be finally putting it out into the world is just incredible. I quit playing music a long time ago and never thought I’d come back to it, even though I love performing and songwriting with everything I’ve got.
She recorded her new album with multi award-winning producer Matt Fell at Love Hz Studios, and it features some of Australia’s best musicians, including Josh Scuberth, Stuie French, Lawrie Minson, Mick Albeck, and Raechel’s husband, Ben Whitchurch. It also includes a co-write with one of Australia’s finest lyricists and one of Raechel’s songwriting heroes, Colin Buchanan, and guest vocals from award winning artist, Kevin Bennett.
“I have watched Raechel's career since she was a kid performing in her family band and it's been fantastic to see her grow as an artist, a singer and a songwriter. This latest single demonstrates her real talent.” – Adam Harvey.
The rest of 2021, I’ll be out on the road with Adam Harvey, and also playing at a bunch of festivals like the Gympie Music Muster, NQ’s Rock’n Country Festival in Mackay, and Savannah in the Round in Mareeba. I’m also squeezing in writing wherever I can for album #2. I’ve got so much more to say and hopefully there’ll be some folks out there who are interested in what I’ve got to say.