Rachel McDonald, a young new artist from Maryland, is gearing up to release her debut album, "The Return of Soul." This 18 year old high school student shows talent and discipline far beyond her years. Her conviction and dedication to her music combined with a seriously good voice will surely turn heads.
The first thing I noticed about Rachel McDonald is her rich sultry voice. She has a staggering range of tone and feeling in her singing. Soul is inherent in her sound, it is rich, plentiful and is woven into every fiber of every note she sings. McDonald has been singing since childhood. While she has no formal vocal training, she has a wealth of experience in church choirs and musical theater productions. "I feel that singing is something I was born to do," she relates. "I didn't choose singing, singing chose me."
The eclectic range of the tracks on "The Return of Soul," reflects McDonald's wide array of musical tastes from Alicia Keys to John Mayer. On the record, there are dance tracks as well as smooth ballads. "I love singing my heart out with ballads so I can really connect with the audience. But seeing those same people out on the floor dancing to my upbeat songs is just as enjoyable."
Rachel McDonald has a strong opinion of the state of today's music. She believes that over the last few decades, music has lost its soul, and she wants to bring it back. "Soul music to me," says McDonald, "is about singing from deep inside of you and being able to transfer what you're singing to people hearing the music." Her mission, as she describes it, is to bring the soul back to music. Her new album is definitely a booster shot in the arm of the music industry.
McDonald faced and continues to confront numerous challenges in the making of "The Return of Soul" and a music video for the single "Clenching My Pillow." As a young woman still in high school, McDonald says her biggest challenge is staying focused through school, recording, and filming while trying to maintain a social life.
"For me, juggling school and working on my album has been the hardest thing about working in the industry. There are times when I've been on the set of the video until late and still had to do homework when I got home. Those are the really tiring days. Also, there are times when I've had to cancel commitments that I've made to people in order to work on the album and video."
As it is for so many young musicians, the realization that making music is more hard work and perseverance than glamour fell heavily on McDonald. However, this artist's remarkable resolve to spread her music to the world seems to have prevailed. McDonald balances her musical life with her passion for fashion, spending time with her friends and staying active in her church.
"The Return of Soul" dropped November 2009 on Redefined Music. The sultry ballads and upbeat dance tunes are a much needed dose of soul in today's music world. Even with her very first album, Rachel McDonald shows that she has strong talent and the determination essential for success in the music industry.