New to the scene, Rachel Shaps has already made a stark impression on indie pop. Her soulful voice, her honest lyricism, and her upbeat music all bring together a refreshing and candid sound that puts her ahead of the game.
Shaps' new single "Learn My Lesson" is the new summer tune of the year. Play it loud, sing it louder, and tell all of your friends. Her spitfire lyrics come out quickly, as the beat picks up, and it becomes easy to sing and dance along to.
"Learn My Lesson" also contains a sort of relatable feeling of loss. We've all lost someone who we saw a potential relationship in. Her ability to connect with her audience makes this track universally enjoyable.
We got to chat with Shaps about her new single and about life. Read our interview below:
What was the driving influence behind writing Learn My Lesson?
It wasn't any one person or one situation, but I kept finding myself disappointed after things with a potential “love interest” went bad. I'd try to channel it into lyrics, but I'd always end up blaming the guy and all the songs sounded the same… “Girl meets boy, gets her hopes up, guy turns out to not be everything girl wanted him to be, girl ends up heartbroken over non-existent relationship”. I’d end up in the same situation over and over again and wondering why or what went wrong, and I finally figured it out. I found myself gravitating towards the same kind of behavior - behavior that I hated - but I'm such a hopeless romantic that I'd get swept up in the excitement of a budding romance and make excuses, or turn a blind eye. So when I'd end up disappointed yet again, I'd shake my head, unsurprised. It was my turn to take the blame. I wanted to write a song accepting responsibility for the part I played that lead to feeling that way, instead of blaming someone else for something I should've seen coming and avoided.
How do you go about songwriting/the songwriting process?
It's always a little different. Sometimes I'll just be tooling around on the piano or guitar and stumble upon a few chords I like and a melody that works and then just start singing lyrics until it comes together. More often, I'll have a concept in my head or a lyric I know I want to build a song around and I'll just start writing. Sometimes it's not even lyrics, it's just ranting, and I'll read it over and pull out things I know I want to use.
What artists/musicians inspire you the most?
My musical influences have changed so much, and I think they’ll keep changing, but some of my all time favorites that have stayed constant throughout the years are definitely Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran and Adele.
What do you hope to accomplish with Learn My Lesson?
What I hope to accomplish with "Learn My Lesson" is what I always hope to accomplish with my music, which is to connect with people. I want people to listen to it and feel understood, like they're not alone and remember that as humans, we all make mistakes. I want them to jam out it, to acknowledge and accept their flaws, their past decisions, and use them to evolve.
How would you describe your songwriting? Is it autobiographical or do you like to tell other people's stories?
It's mostly autobiographical, but sometimes I write about experiences I haven't necessarily had myself, or I'll just let my imagination run wild, which can be dangerous.
Do you feel that being the granddaughter of Eartha Kitt has pushed you/influenced you to become an artist/performer?
I think it definitely influenced me at some level, because from such a young age, I was immersed in the industry. It didn't make me feel like I had to be an artist if I didn't want to, but I never wanted to be anything else, so I'm forever grateful for the introduction she gave me.
What genre would you classify your music as?
I'd say in general it's a blend of Pop and Soul, but my songwriting style is probably a mix of Pop and Folk, so it's sort of a blend of all three, but still "commercial."
What's next? Is there an album in the works?
There's lots more music in the works. I'm currently working on an EP, but an album is definitely what's next on the agenda.
You are going to be stranded on a desert island and can only take one book and one album with you - what do you choose?
If I could only take one book, I'd take "The Daily Stoic" by Ryan Holiday, and one album would probably be Ed Sheeran, "Multiply".