York singer-songwriter Rachel Croft is back with a brand new single ahead of her upcoming EP.
Reap What You Sow will be out on 23 July. Pre-save it now here.
This will be her fourth single, and will explore a more bluesy and rock style than previous releases.
Born in Nottingham, Rachel moved to York for university. After getting into busking during her final year, she decided to stay on in York to become a musician and artist – and she never looked back.
Her first studio album was released in 2019 and she has performed at festivals such as Moseley Festival, Warwick Festival and Costa Del Folk Portugal.
From humble beginnings to full time indie artist, Rachel hopes to be a role model to young women, and to aspire and empower artists starting from the bottom.
Rachel’s new EP, also called Reap What You Sow, will be released in September 2021. It will be a 5 track EP: Reap What You Sow, Roots, Chasing Time, Time Waits For No Man, and Dead Horse.
She recorded the EP at Young Thug Studios in York, and has been involved with Level Opportunities at Young Thug which provides training and opportunities for women and non-binary people getting into the music industry.
Rachel spoke with YorkMix to tell us more about her upcoming EP.
Q&A with Rachel Croft
What is the tone of the EP?
Fierce, cinematic, brooding, expressive – from dark to light.
How was the EP produced?
Collecting skilled friends from my community in York, and working with Young Thugs. I spent hours listening and re-listening to great pieces of production dissecting them to try and better my craft. I didn’t want to just settle for good. I think that’s a very clear difference when comparing these tracks to my older pieces. I’m happy that some of the songs echo my first album Hours Awake – they feel like precursors to this more mature, honed sound.
How did you choose the order of the songs?
The EP represents the passing of a storm. It starts as brooding (Reap What You Sow), then grows into a full on storm (Roots), where all rage is released, to the wreckage and the aftermath (Chasing Time), and finally the sun coming out and letting go of those bad times (Time Waits For No Man, Dead Horse). It could also follow my emotions about events and how you start off angry, to then feeling broken by it, then picking yourself back up and finally moving on.
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Who are some of your influences?
KALEO, Ray LaMontagne, Jeff Buckley, Big Thief, FATM, Ben Howard, Phoebe Bridgers, Bishop Briggs, Joni Mitchell, and movie soundtracks.
What are the key themes of the EP?
Female power, liberation and expression, and venting frustrations. I’ve had a lot of people mess me around and treat me badly in the business, and I’ve had my fair share of creeps and comments. I want to show that you can do this, and you can be a creative without being a rich connected kid.
I’ve often felt that my previous music never quite expressed all sides of me. I came into the lockdowns with this gentle sound, soft and lovely, and even my most ‘direct song’, We Are, didn’t feel like it hit hard enough. I was left feeling frustrated. From playing folk covers for many years and being known for that, I felt a part of me, the part that likes to shout and dance and make lots of noise was forgotten. There was a disconnect between the person who told the jokes and dry comments on stage, to the singer who played the lullabies. This EP was me realising how much I wanted to play rock music and express myself better, and finally giving myself permission to do so, without apology or trying to please absolutely everyone. It felt really liberating.
And lockdown of course. My job was over, I thought I would have to move home and give up. It was a real low. I didn’t write anything for the first lockdown. When that lifted I wrote Chasing Time, just after seeing a few of my fellow musicians doing particularly well, and I felt so so far behind, and like I was never going to catch up. After that, the songs started flowing. It was a way for me to vent my feelings, and do something that actually felt useful. I wish I could get back into that writing state, without having all the loveliness of life stripped away – but that left some room for the hard work of actually sitting alone with yourself and seeing your career for what it was. I would say thank you for that time in a strange and sad way, because I’m no longer sleepwalking.