By Alisha Sawhney
Early childhood memories are often fleeting and fragmented, but one of Rachael Kennedy’s fondest recollections was when she sang for her parents for the first time.
The second year Arts and Contemporary Studies student from Oakville fell into singing at the age of 15. As the younger sister in the family, Kennedy constantly felt overshadowed by her older sister’s stellar singing abilities. Rachael put her energy into sports, playing rep hockey and becoming the jock of the family. Singing, however, was always her first passion.
“I remember telling my parents to turn around as I sang my first song, It’s You,” Kennedy said. “They were so shocked but I knew when I saw their faces that I had their approval.”
In Dec. 2010, after a year and a half of vocal lessons, Kennedy’s vocal coach set her up with a producer who recruits young, aspiring artists.
Since then she has been with Warner Music Canada in a development project, making a four track extended play (EP) – a track that is longer than a single but shorter than a full album.
The EP was released in October and Kennedy has since been promoting it and playing at gigs around the city.
With the advent of YouTube sensations and countless singing shows aired on television, the competition for stardom is rapidly changing. Kennedy said that having the opportunity to be recognized by Warner Music Canada gave her the chance to produce her music in a setting with industry professionals.
Kennedy said that her lyrics draw from all experiences in her life. But it was her trip to Ethiopia in grade 11 that changed her.“Volunteering at an orphanage and building lunchrooms and soup kitchens was an eye-opening experience,” said Kennedy. “I started to understand how much harder life is away from home. When I got home I wrote three songs in a week!”
Kennedy admitted she enjoys listening to virtually all types of music, but her soft spot is for the Indie genre. After hearing Nineteen by the Canadian Indie band Tegan and Sara, she immediately knew this music would dictate the direction of her sound.
Kennedy draws her singing inspiration from artists such as John Mayer, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, The Beatles and Lights.
While she establishes herself as a rising artist, Kennedy knows the path will be filled with hope and heartache. Before launching her EP, she said she could have never dreamed of singing in front of an audience alone.
“I was always the class clown in high school,” Kennedy said. “But I never had the confidence to seriously get myself out there.”
Despite the challenges and difficulties associated with breaking into the music industry, Kennedy remains positive.
“People are going to judge you no matter what you do,” she said. “If I put myself out there it’s because this is what I love to do.”[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvsV3z0YGF4&feature=youtube_gdata[/youtube]