Singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata rediscovers her soul with her long-awaited third album, Chesapeake.
ISSUE: Fall 2011
STORY: Janice Jann
Those accustomed to hearing singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata’s smoky voice breaking from all the pain and heartbreak she endured in her first two albums, Happenstance and Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart, will need to take a second listen to Chesapeake, her first studio album in three years. “This record [has] a sense of humor, looseness and spontaneity,” says the Japanese-Caucasian American. “There’s still depth to these songs, but there’s sort of a jovial sense about them — it’s new for me.”
Yamagata, 33, credits her fresh outlook with the way the record was produced. “We were literally sleeping on air mattresses; I’ve got a tent pitched up outside, and we’re grilling food together,” Yamagata recounts. “It was a very camp-like, home-style situation.”
Recording in the bathtub of a friend’s house may seem like something a novice would do, but Yamagata, who
was previously with two major record- ing studios, has sung duets with Ray Lamontagne and Mandy Moore, and finds her songs taking up airtime on Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, and the new Muppets movie, is already a music industry veteran.
Though Yamagata is grateful for all the creative people that have championed her career, she found herself splitting with Warner Bros. Records about a year ago. “I think the pressure these labels are under to find ways for the music business to survive, it just was not the right envi- ronment for me anymore,” says Yamagata. The urge to reconnect with her fans and get new music out led Yamagata to re-team with her Happenstance producer, John Aliaga. Yamagata assembled a “dream team” of a band and began to make music right out of Aliaga’s house. Financial support for the album came through PledgeMusic, a leading online platform for musicians and fans to help raise funds. “It’s nice to know that there are people out there waiting to hear new music,” she says. “The [fans are] so supportive and the comments rolling in are mind-boggling sweet.”
Though Yamagata’s sultry vocals are the selling point of her music, the songstress’ first love is songwriting, which she picked up when she started touring with the funk-fusion band Bumpus in the mid-’90s. “The way somebody gets the acting bug and needs to delve into a character, I got it through songwriting,” says Yamagata. “You can see metaphors all over the place if you’re paying attention.”
After Yamagata self-releases Chesapeake on her own label, Frankenfish Records, she’ll begin touring October 24. Some of the places Yamagata hopes to hit are Asia, Australia and Hawaii. “I love to travel,” says Yamagata with a laugh. It sounds like Yamagata will have much to sing about.
— Janice Jann
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From music and movies to charity events and Halloween festivities, the last week of October is packed with happenings that will soothe your ears, warm your soul, and unleash your Halloween persona.
RACHAEL YAMAGATA, 2011 CHESAPEAKE TOUR
Beautiful Japanese-Italian-German American singer-songwriter, Rachael Yamagata, just began her 2011 Tour on October 24 in Portland, Main’s Port City Music Hall. The tour is in celebration of the release of Yamagata’s third album, Chesapeake.
Chesapeake features an eclectic collection of songs projecting Yamagata’s optimism and hopefulness, showcasing her sultry and smoky voice, rich, layered harmonies, striking ballads and soulful grooves. The tour will hit major U.S. cities and will finish off on December 22nd at New York City’s City Winery.
When : October 24, 2011- Dec 27, 2011
Where: In select U.S. cities Nationwide
How: To stream Chesapeake online, visit http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/av/2011/10/album-stream-rachael-yamagata-chesapeake.html
In our Fall 2011 issue, out now, we feature Rachael Yamagata who is getting set to release her first studio album in three years. Chesapeake, which will drop October 11, features Yamagata’s signature smoky vocals vis a vis an eclectic collection of songs projecting a lot more optimism and hopefulness than we’re used to. Get a taste with her new video for her single “Starlight.”
And don’t miss Yamagata live as she tours the U.S., starting on October 24 in Portland, Maine at the Port City Music Hall, and winding down on December 22 in New York City at City Winery. For more details on Yamagata’s 2011 tour dates, including her November 29th appearance at Los Angeles’ Troubador, check out her website.
Rachael Yamagata, the powerfully raw voice behind songs like “Be Be Your Love” and “The Reason Why” is back with a new collection of tracks in her indie-produced album, Chesapeake.
Chesapeake charms with the edgy “Starlight” captivating our ears and “Even If I Don’t” lifting our hearts (despite the somber message). Here are some facts you may not know about our favorite no-pain-no-gain songbird.