Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1091

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Rachel Claudio: Journey Of A Thousand Beats

Rachel Claudio
Rachel Claudio

So maybe you are asking who is Rachel Claudio? Well wonder no longer because I am sure this singer, songwriter and composer will become a known force in the UK as she takes you on a musical journey through her creative mind.

Her debut album "Claudiography" is familiar, yet new, something echoed by the brilliantly mercurial and talented force that is Erik Rico, who was also on production duties for Tupac Shakur: âshe is a throwback from the future." Who would dis-agree with this multi-instrumentalist and producer? Rachel entices, enthrals, causes goose pimples AND has you flexing those calve muscles in pumping funky rhythms whilst being introspective on some soul searching music. A debut that has taken some âtimeâ it is a quality project that definitely points to a lady who will be stupendous live. Rachel is it seems, all about authenticity and purity in her musical craft, something that she genuinely is keen to be known.

Usually the best way to conduct any interview is face to face. It stands to reason that you are going to get more of a connection because you can see the other personâs emotional fluctuations, but in a free plug for Skype (cheque I am assured is in the post), Rachel Claudio and I found the virtual interview and technology came colliding in a beautiful harmony: we Googled, You Tubed and interviewed - it was a beautiful thing which set things up nicely for when we actually do meet.

Her beginnings into the world of music evidently began from a very early age and she details with a wry smile the fact that she was probably classed as a little weird because she would âorganise concerts and compose musicâ and then subsequently force her friends to take part. âSocially I think I was lucky because I did not care much about what people felt and so I was not excluded because of my unusual activitiesâ

As our Skype interview commences what is clear is that Rachel has a tendency to digress to the point that in one of her vocal flights of fancy she utters the words: âwhat was the question again?â but I loved that.

âI was too young to take lessons at six, so I would play whatever was on the radio and then I started lessons but I rejected the formality of itâ she states unsurprisingly. She adds passionately, âI hated the idea of there being rules, until a few years ago, now I respect technique a lot more than I did. If one is using technique to the exclusion of their creativity then that is a problem, I could never do that, but if you are using technique to get to somewhere then it is cool.â

While her album is deeply influenced by soul, there are clearly many genres of music that punctuate her debut in traces or indeed in huge unmistakable quantities, âIt was interesting because my parents used to listen to a lot of pop rock, a lot of classical and my parents were Italian, so there was a lot of classic Italian music. I played the piano since I was about six so I am in love with harmony but I always felt that there was something missing until I heard a gospel voice.â A detectable influence, particularly when Rachel hits those powerful and emotive chords. âI cannot tell you exactly what the track was but it was the vibrato and the emotional insistence of the music and rather than it being a âoh my Godâ it was more of âwell there is the missing part?' It just felt correct and from that moment on I was heavily into gospel, soul, blues and R&B - the original meaning of Rn'B.â

âAbout seven years ago I met a producer called Martin Solberg and Martin is now a pop electro producer but back then he was a soulful house producer. He wanted to produce my solo soul album when he heard me at a gig. So I ended up sending him a few songs and after that he told me that at some point he would fly me to Paris to record my album. From that moment on I decided that would record my album in Paris. I always wanted to live somewhere in Europe because I wanted to remove myself from my place of comfort.â

The album does chart her life/emotions to the tee and the time that has been spent clearly comes out in the album. It would be very difficult to find a track on there that is below the standard set in the whole album. Track after track drips of a quality production, quality composition and of course quality lyrical content. Rachel clearly seems to be in a rich and creative place, âI think it was being in France with my co-producer, he is an amazing musician, I think we taught 'each other' more than any other thing. I always found his approach to be rather scientific and he always found mine to be wild and free, there were times during the making of the album where we could have killed each other! But there is nothing like being in the presence of someone who is your opposite because then it exposes all your own limitations and if you can by-pass all of that then itâs an amazing thing. I know that I have never been a better singer than I have been now.â

While talking Rachel offers me a one on one live performance of some new material she has been working on with Erik Rico. âWe are working at the moment on an on-going project. We are working on an EP that will ultimately become my first album.â The live performance was off the chain as they say, excellent vocals and a heavy hip-hop beat ripped through live and direct from her home. Her musical journey is presently taking her on a mission to pay âhomageâ to hip-hop whilst still allowing that soulful voice to permeate the speakers. âI will not take a long time with this album, I do not want to have a long break, I am looking at 2012 to drop this album.â And the name of the album? "Confessions Of A Frustrated Super Hero."

I was going to ask her some details about the album but then why now?

Part two of the interview coming to a Blues & Soul edition near you: Will Rachel finish her next album in time, will Erik Rico finish the production in time, will she come to London soon? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of a âJourney Of A Thousand Beatsâ?!

Indeed, you can read more extracts from Semper's interview with Rachel Claudio in our Jan 2012 edition - click below to order now.
Words Semper Azeez-Harris

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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