Alreet mi ducks 🙂 welcome to the winter edition of Beeston Beats, summer is a distant memory and the ever looming darker nights are upon us. But fear not! This article remains a resolution free zone as this grumpy Grinch is currently eye rolling at the mere mention of the silly season, well that is until the mulled wine’s on the hob and someone tempts me with a mince pie and custard!
Anyhoo, back to the article! Back in September, myself and the fabulous Beestonian photographer Chistopher Frost were invited to check out singer songwriter Rachel Croft who originates from our neck of woods, and see her home coming show over at Rough Trade. After absolutely smashing her set with her down to earth and heartfelt songs we left feeling that she had gained herself two new huge fans.
Fast forward to…
A few months later and I managed to catch up with Rachel for a bit of a chat about love, life and of course music…
Ok, here goes.
LD: Are you a proud Beestonian?
RC: Of course! Technically I’m from Stapleford but we came here all the time and I have so many core memories from Beeston – my first and only two experiences in employment were here too, a Saturday job at Birds the bakers (I’m still obsessed with their caramel donuts) and a little admin job at an architects while I was at college.
L.D: What and who are your musical influences?
RC: This evolves all the time. My roots are folk music, so Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny, Eva Cassidy. I took a lot of my vocal style from working with a jazz band for a while, I love Billie Holliday, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald…and so many others.
But in terms of this really fun and liberating rock style I’ve morphed into, that’s been a lot more contemporary artists like Hozier, Florence and The Machine, Phoebe Bridgers, Sam Fender, Wolf Alice. It’s a real melting pot of ideas.
L.D: Favourite Beeston pub, venue or hangout?
RC: I’m going to say the Vic by the station. It’s like Christmas in there because we often used to go around that time and wait for my sister to travel up from London or go to the Christmas Eve socials there.
L.D: Favourite BOAT? (Band of all time)
RC: Haha! Boat? band? I’ve not heard that before! It always seems to change but I love KALEO a lot. I saw them live in Manchester last year and they were AMAZING and the lead singer sounds exactly like the recordings, I was blown away. Super gritty rock powerfulness. I hope I answered that right?!
L.D: Any red-hot Rachel Croft gossip or future projects?
R.C: Oooh yes! So, I’ve been very busy recently experimenting with sounds and working with lots of producers to hone my vision. It taught me so much about myself. It’s taken a good while but it’s all slowly coming together for a brand-new body of work next year which I’m going to call “A Mind Made of Sky”.
It’s going to be cathartic and full of songs I’ve written about speculation and rumination and my struggle to be present most of the time. I’m so excited, you know it’s going to be great fun when you write the song and immediately the whole project blooms in your head. That’s what happened to create this project, one song and suddenly I had a really clear direction. I can’t wait to share it with you!
L.D: Tell me a secret!
R.C: Ha-ha, well my secret is I make loads of inspiring TikToks about how to live as a full-time musician and to be fair half the time I have no idea what I’m doing. I give good advice though; I should really listen to it.
L.D: Your music is so expressive and personal do you ever feel like not performing certain songs if they have strong emotional feelings attached to them?
R.C: Most of the time I find performing songs really cathartic. I just have to be careful if the song is super new and the feeling is still raw, it’s not a good look to start crying on stage which happened one time! Most of the angry ones are still fun even if the anger is no longer there for that person. You can still attach it to someone else who annoyed you more recently ha-ha!! Actually, though even if I don’t feel that way at all anymore it’s still great to perform and validate those memories and feelings.
L.D: And any advice for past you from future you?
R.C: Your work and creative development will never feel finished. Peaks and troughs in motivation and mood are totally normal and you can’t always be 100% productive every day. Every step, even in the wrong direction is growth and helps you learn. Be open to chances for new experiences but have two eyes open and ask the difficult questions at the start to save yourself from trouble further down the road. It’s okay if not everyone understands what you’re doing – put the hours in, if it’s meant to work, it will work. Listen to people you like, respect and trust, but ultimately you are the master of your ship and if you truly believe in something you should go for it and not dilute it to please others.
Thank you for taking your time to chat with us at Beeston Beats we can’t wait to come and see you when you are performing this way again!!
And that’s all from me till next year 🙂