Love at First Listen with Rachael Ransom

Rachael Ransom Interview Love at First Listen 2024

We all have those artists and songs we hear that strike the right chord and make us fall in love at first listen. They’re the reason we refresh social media pages, tour schedules, and Spotify profiles — because we can’t miss a single release. This is Love at First Listen — a series introducing you to the emerging, and established, artists with new music guaranteed to upgrade your playlist.

Canadian singer-songwriter Rachael Ransom’s debut album ‘sixty seven ten’ is an autobiography in stunning sonic form—the album is named after the address of her childhood home after all. Each song represents a piece of her life, from navigating a disability while growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia to learning to control what you can and embracing the beauty in the rest.

On ‘sixty seven ten,’ Rachael takes listeners along a journey of finding new perspectives despite life’s struggles. As you listen, read our new interview with the emerging artist below where she shares how she gained the confidence to record and release the record and why she’s truly an OG Noah Kahan fan.

When did you know ‘sixty seven ten’ was complete?

Is anything ever done?! I’m a writer by trade, so there’s always going to be something where I feel like I could have done this or I could have done that. Me and my two music producers, Bryden Veinot and Noah Stolte, agreed to have 10 songs. We then went through the songs that I had deciding which ones felt like they go well together. So, we actually did it a little unconventionally deciding on the number before we chose which ones made the cut.

How many songs do you think you wrote before finalizing the track list?

Let’s just say there’s lots of room for a second album!

You’ve said that you hope listeners can apply something from each song to their own lives. What are some of the key themes and life lessons you tried to weave throughout the album?

I like that question. There’s a lot of things in there that I think are relatable to people. There’s a little bit of talk around family and the unconditional love that you have for the people in your life. Every good album has got to have a couple of breakup songs in there, and there are also some songs that I feel are commentary on where we’re at in society right now and where we’re going. Songs like “Fly” are more like anthems of positivity — like keep going if you have a dream, don’t let it die. And I’ve got some stuff in there about living with a disability.

Your single “Red” is an inspirational anthem about you living with cerebral palsy and reclaiming your inner power. Can you share how you got involved with the Vancouver Adapted Music Society and how they have supported you?

I met the wonderful people at Vancouver Adapted Music Society (VAMS) through my friend Dave Symington (co-founder), who has since passed. I was at a gig in 2018 playing a couple of songs and he said, “You’ve got to get connected with Graham over at VAMS.” So, I started with them, and they would phone me up when there was a show and they needed to fill a slot. As the years went on, I got to know Bryden and he started harassing me for years about how we had to record. I was always like, “Yeah, but not yet.” I was thinking, who’s going to listen to this stuff? Like, come on, this is just me plunking on a piano. Finally, after doing a show one day, he was like, “Are you ready yet?” And I was like, “Yeah, okay, let’s do it.” So, we came together, and Noah joined our little group. The two of them built this album out to be something so much more than just me sitting at a piano plunking out chords.

It’s great to hear that you had such encouraging people in your corner. Is there any advice you’d offer to people in a similar position, wanting to take that leap into music or dealing with a disability and trying to make sure they can still follow their dreams as you’ve done?

My main bread and butter income is in film, so music was always the thing I just loved to do. I’d get home from work, have some ideas, sit down at the piano, and see what happens. I never thought an album was going to be something I actually did. I would say if you’re nervous about it, that means it’s worth trying because usually we get nervous when we’re about to step out of our comfort zone, and you can’t grow without that “Oh my God, I don’t know if I can do this” feeling. Like, if you feel like you’re going to throw up, it’s probably a good thing.

For example, I made my first leap into producing last year and I had to go field produce on set. In the film world, it’s not very common to have people who are disabled doing on-set work — at least I haven’t met a lot of people in that realm. So, I didn’t know if I could do it, but you just have to take the leap. I think people with disabilities, myself included, have a bad habit of minimizing their achievements and minimizing what they have done because it’s like, well, anyone else could do that. But it’s like, well no, you did it. That feeling of accomplishing something and making it to the finish line is worth the stress at the beginning.

When you reflect on ‘sixty seven ten,’ do you think it changed your outlook on any situations in your life and inspired you as much as it will hopefully inspire others?

I look back at songs like “Loving You,” which is about a breakup and feeling like my life was over and I was never going to fall in love again. But then you meet someone else, and you move on, and you realize what true love is. Having those big feelings from my youth captured in these three-to-four-minute songs is kind of interesting because I listen to them now and I’m like, oh wow, that was so dramatic. But at the same time, that was raw, and that’s how it feels.

If I want anybody to take anything away, it’s that as we grow and change, we see old photos of ourselves or we hear stories from friends from different periods of our lives, and we should appreciate those moments and laugh about them. In the disabled community, our lives are often shorter than others. So, it’s important to remember every stage of life is really, truly precious. As much as we think our lives are cringy and go, “Oh God, I can’t believe I said that” or “I can’t believe my hair was like that,” it’s like, you’ve lived a decade since then. It’s pretty amazing to think about.

Are there any artists or albums that you gravitated towards as you put together your album?

‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan. The whole record is basically a love letter—or I guess not—to his divorce from one of his wives. In terms of modern influences, I hate to say this because it sounds so pretentious, but I did listen to Noah Kahan before he was famous. He reminds me of Bob in the folk realm and I just love his honesty and storytelling capabilities. I also listened to lots of Adele and Amy Winehouse. I was really trying to keep it as honest as possible on the album, so I pushed myself to listen to similar music so I could get in that headspace.

Now that your album is out in the world, what do you have in store musically for the rest of the year?

We’ve started rehearsing already hoping to play this summer, which is a great time for live shows. I’ve got myself, Bryden and Noah, my fiancé, and possibly another person joining. I’m also going into the studio today to do a writing session, so it really, truly never stops.

Do you have anything on your mind that may end up sparking new music in these next sessions?

Every writer is different with how they process things. If you look at my notebooks and my phone, it’s like graveyard lyrics — just little bits and pieces of things. I’m on a bus, I see something, I write a lyric. That’s just how it goes. So, when I go into the studio, I usually have a roster of stuff where I’m like, “Okay, this is good. Let’s try this.” That’s how “Ballad Queen” happened. Bryden was playing guitar and goofing around and it sounded really good and I was like, “Please hold, I have words that could go with this!”

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