12th Annual Country Song Nominee
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Record Label: Self-Released
Home Base: Nashville, TN
Categories Entered: Best Country Song
Work Submitted: “The Verdict” – Single
Artists Featured: Rachel Potter
Label: Rachel Potter Music, LLC
Who are your influences?: Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Dixie Chicks, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift
Describe your nominated work: Contemporary Country Girl Power Anthem
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: Banjo
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: There were definitely some surprises! I was set up with producer, Justin Tockett, through a friend in NYC. I knew he was putting together a great group of players for the session, but I had no idea who. When we walked in, there was Adam Schoenfeld, Tim McGraw’s guitar player, Jimmy Herman, Carrie Underwood’s fiddle player, David LaBruyere on Bass and Nir Z on drums – John Mayer’s rhythm section on one of my favorite records, “Room For Squares.” I was overwhelmed with excitement! Needless to say, they brought so much creative talent to the track, and it was a blast to watch them work!
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: I was able to borrow the money. Hopefully I can pay it back quickly once the song is available for sale and fingers crossed that people will be buying it!
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 12th IMAs?: Whenever I play this song in a live venue, people always applaud and cheer after the first chorus ends. To me, that makes a song magic. Everyone who hears it tells me they think it’s a hit. I wanted to see if the songwriting competition judges agree!
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: Playing to a full stadium of people who came to see me, and who know all the words to my songs. That is
when I’ll know I’ve achieved my dream. And how will I know? Because I’ll be there singing along with
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: This IMA nomination not only proves that I can perform a song well, but also that I have the writing chops to back it up. I can’t tell you how proud I am to have written a song that was nominated! Now I plan to slap that logo and “IMA Nominee, Rachel Potter” on everything I do! I think it carries a certain amount of weight, gives me a little more respect in the industry to allow me to stand out from the crowd, and ultimately land that record deal I’m dreaming of!
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: What I love about my fans is that they are all different. Coming from a career on Broadway, I have picked up some of the most loyal fans in the world – ranging in age from 8-80 years old, from all walks of life and all over the globe- who have unconditionally stuck with me as I shifted my path to country music. When I look out in the audience and see anything from little kids dancing to the beat to an older man enjoying the lyrics, it is an overwhelming feeling of happiness for me. I make music because I want to create something that makes people happy, and when I see my music touch such a wide range of folks, I truly feel fulfilled.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: Firehouse subs all the way. I try to find one in every city that I’m in.
Who are your musical heroes & influences?: Dolly Parton, Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell, Patsy Cline, Dixie Chicks, Martina McBride, & Faith Hill.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: “Call Me Maybe” – Because I would literally have more money than I could ever need and could make music whenever and however I wanted, without being concerned about expense. That would be really nice!
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: I don’t think it would come as a surprise, but I have to mention Kacey Musgraves. She just came out with a new album that is SO good and I can’t stop playing it. She is such a good songwriter, and I respect her immensely as an artist. It may surprise my fans, however, to hear that I love singer/songwriter stuff that isn’t country. Artists like Sara Bareilles, Ray LaMontagne, and Amos Lee to name a few. I love to dig in to their lyrics. Also, I’m a real sucker for a good pop song. Currently have Karmin’s “Brokenhearted” on repeat.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: I usually find out about new music through friends recommendations or going to see live shows. I love feeling like I discovered an artist and that I knew about them before they blew up. That’s how I felt about Rascal Flatts, actually. I loved them since day one, and told everyone about them!
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: I guess the only ways left to make money would be on live shows, or getting your music placed in tv/film/commercial – which both have their challenges. It’s not easy to make a lot of money on a live show
because there are so many people to pay, like the band, photographer, sound person, etc. I usually break just about even on my live shows. People used to make fortunes on their record sales, but nowadays it’s extremely rare. I have almost double the amount of streams on Spotify than I do album sales. But you hardly make any money from streams. I mean, I understand – Why would you buy music if you could listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube? You probably wouldn’t – and that makes it really hard for independent artists to make a living from their music.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: That it’s not as easy as you may think it is to make it. It’s amazing how many people say, “You should go on American Idol… You should get on Glee… You should get a record deal…” – if only it was that easy! As an independent artist, it is a daily battle to try and figure out what to do next, and you’re the only one looking out for your career. Because there’s such an overload of reality shows about singing and such, there’s an overwhelming amount of artists, so it’s extremely hard to stand out. And record deals are certainly not as easy to come by. That’s why fan support is so essential and awesome!
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: Absolutely. When is the last time you walked into a store and actually purchased a physical album? Probably been a while. Now that music is so easy to access digitally, I don’t think we will ever go back. Also, people have such a short attention span these days, it’s almost better to put out multiple singles and EPs in a year rather than just one full album. It keeps your audience interested and engaged.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…changed. Independent artists have it better now than they ever have.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: Recording a new album, preparing to release a new single, and playing as many cities as I can!