“Finding My Way”
“Holding on To Love”
“There’s Still Time”
“Little Things I Love”
“Come Home To Me”
“Reach For The Stars”
Hi Raquel, how are you?
Hi, I am doing great thanks!
What made you decide to be a solo artist and not want to be in a band?
I just started recording and getting into music without a band. If there was a band I could have joined, I definitely would have joined because it would take off some of the pressure and would be fun!
Do you work with the same musicians when recording as you do when performing live?
No, I usually use studio musicians when I record from L.A. and Nashville and work with some amazing guys in L.A. for my shows.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
I would say that it is adult contemporary with some pop and light rock mixed together.
A few songs even have a country vibe to them.
What music did you listen to while growing up?
I listened to Billy Joel, Elton John and Bette Midler growing up.
Which artist or track inspired you to want to make music yourself?
I am not really sure one specific artist inspired me, they all kind of inspired me because I love music and have always love to sing.
When was the ‘I want to do that!’ moment?
I knew early on that I wanted to be a singer, but never knew how to get started. I guess my moment or “start” would have been with Tony Papa, a producer in L.A. who gave me a chance to sing a demo for him and then we ended up making an album together.
What was the last music you put on your ipod or mp3 player?
“Marry Me” by Train and “What Do You Want From Me” by Adam Lambert.
What have you been up to recently?
I just finished recording 5 new songs in Nashville.
What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
I am going to continue writing more songs and try and finish my 3rd cd. I am also going to try and do as many live shows as possible!
Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
I try and stay as true to the recordings as possible when I do live shows. Of course when I do acoustic sets it may be a little different because I don’t have my full band, but I try and keep it as similar as possible.
How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
I am completely involved when I go in the studio to record. It’s important to me to have an opinion and express my ideas, etc in how the song should sound. In Nashville, I actually was involved in every step even watching the different musicians play on the tracks along the way. So much fun to see their talent and watch your words come to life!
Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
I would love to help develop other artists and see them progress along their journey. I would also like to collaborate with other artists to create new music.
Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
I LOVE being in the studio and look forward to going every time! I am not sure if it gets easier, but I do get more comfortable each time I record.
Do you have any new recordings planned?
I am still writing new songs as we speak so I try and get a few done and record all at once.
Which are your favourite original tracks?
If you mean my own original tracks, “How Can I” off my 2nd cd, Holding On To Love, is very special to me because I wrote it for my sister. I think my new song, “There’s Still Time” I just finished in Nashville is also very special to me. I love the way the strings, and piano came out and it tugs at my heart strings, so to speak.
Who are your favourite songwriters?
I really like Pink, she has very deep lyrics sometimes and then fun playful lyrics as well.
One of my favourite writers though is Elton John. Love his music!
Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
To me, each track is different and I will keep writing and singing the lyrics over and over until I finish. Sometimes it takes days, other times I am still writing is as I am singing it!
In studio, I like to work hard and stay focused until I get everything just right.
Do you have a method for writing songs?
The melody is first most of the time, but there have been a few songs that I wrote where I finished the lyrics and the melody came after like with my song, “You’ll Never Know".I will usually go in the studio with a song I have written or am working on and sometimes collaborate with someone if necessary. I usually hear the melody and start writing the lyrics from there. I have written songs with Gardner Cole, Billy Smiley, and Billy Trudel.
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
I wouldn’t say that song writing is easy for me, in fact it can be tough sometimes when I get stuck on a verse or lyrics. However, I really do enjoy writing! Love it!
Would you sign with a major record company?
I would absolutely sin with a Major Label if it was the right situation. Right now I run my own indie label called Shea Records so I would love to be able to just show up and sing if I signed with someone else.
Which countries have you gigged in?
I have only gigged in the US. I would love to go overseas on tour!
Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
I would love to see Japan & Australia but I love to travel so I would be happy anywhere.
Who would you like to tour with?
Wow where do I start! Someone who has a similar style or fan base, like Train, or Stevie Nicks, or Heart (saw them and they are amazing!).
How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
I use the internet primarily for promotions. I work with Bender Music Group who help set everything up (upload music, graphics etc) and I spend a lot of time on-line writing people and answering emails etc. Getting to know the people who listen to my music is important to me and I am grateful that they take the time to listen and write.
Which music promotion websites do you use and do you have a favourite?
I use IMRadio, Ourstage, Facebook, and Myspace. IMRadio and Ourstage are more for music specicially though, so I would recommend them both!
Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
I think it is crucial to artists to utilize the internet as much as possible to get their music out. To me, it the best and most inexpensive way for an artist to share their music and create a fan base.
With such a variety of similar websites that exist now for independent artist to promote music, is there something missing from them that you would like to see?
I just think it’s important for listeners and artists to be able to communicate with each other so as long as that’s available, it’s fine.
What is your opinion on ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
I think they are a great idea. Shows like American Idol and opportunities like Battle of the bands are a great platform and have given so many musicians there “start.”
What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
Worst experience was at a corporate gig I did. I was supposed to go on before their fashion show and got moved to after when the crowd all started going inside because it was absolutely freezing! I still sang a few songs though, and needless to say the waiters and about 10 people had their own private show. All I could do was make the best of it.
Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
Yes I do get nervous before a gig and don’t think that will ever change. When I sing my first few words, then I calm down.
Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
So far, my music/cd, “Holding on To Love” was licensed for MTV shows, The Hills, The City, and Taking The Stage. It has not been used in a film soundtrack as of yet but I am crossing my fingers that I will have this opportunity soon J
Is composing for film or tv something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
I would love to compose for either. Sometimes when I have written a song, I have a specific show in mind already so I would love to do this at some point.
I actually wrote, “Reach For The Stars” for TV or film but have not “shopped it” yet.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Just want to thank Somojo for the interview, it is people like you who continue to help artists like myself and I am very grateful.