Rachel Huggins is a singer-songwriter who weaves a rich tapestry with her music. With a sound that is distinctly ‘London’ her debut EP Keep Dreaming is a sun-kissed celebration mixed with a shot of optimism. We sat down with Rachel Huggins (RH) to talk about her new EP, her music and much more!
OSR: Was there a person or experience that inspired you to become a musician?
RH: No, not particularly. I’ve always loved music and been involved in making music in some shape or form since a child so it was quite natural to progress into this field.
OSR: Your EP Keep Dreaming has been years in the making, how excited are you about the release?
RH: I am ecstatic! To finally see everything coming together and get my music out there is really fulfilling.
OSR: Is there a theme or backstory to Keep Dreaming?
RH: Yes, Keep Dreaming is essentially what it says on the tin. You’ve got to keep your hopes and dreams alive otherwise you have no purpose. My dad once told me, after pointing to a picture with the same sentiment on, that I should set a goal and work towards it. Once I have achieved that goal I set another one but I must always Keep Dreaming!
Those words have stuck with me ever since. So the EP, you could say, is an encouragement to listeners to keep going. Whatever their dreams or desires are, to keep going regardless of the obstacles which may come your way, never give up. You may need an alternate plan but never a different goal even if it seems like it will take a lifetime to achieve.
OSR: Do you have a favourite and least favourite track from the EP?
RH: I am 100% happy with the EP so no least favourite, but how to choose? I love them all in different ways but if I had to choose it would be the title track as it really speaks to me, where I am now and what I’ve achieved in terms of releasing the EP as one of my goals.
OSR: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
RH: That’s a tough question! I think the greatest honour would be to perform at the Royal Albert Hall accompanied with a full band and small orchestral ensemble. I’ve walked down the corridor and seen all the pictures of artists who have graced the stage and would love to be added to that collection.
OSR: If you were a feather, what colour and how soft would you be?
RH: If I were a feather I’d be purple and so soft that it’s almost weightless.
OSR: What is the biggest hurdle you’ve faced and overcome?
RH: From a musical perspective, I’d say stage fright. I had the opportunity to be a singer on a UK festival tour. Initially, I thought it was for backing vocals, which is what I’d usually get booked to do, but turns out I was to be one of two lead vocalists. So whichever song I’m not leading, I’d do the BVs for. Cool, but at one of the events the other singer didn’t turn up, they were lost on the motorway. We tried to delay but we had to go on or risk losing the slot completely and getting fined. We agreed to move all my tracks to the first half of the set with the idea that the other singer would arrive and walk on stage and get on with it mid-set, but that didn’t happen. So as the least experienced member of the band, I had a choice to make fight or flight!
I chose to fly and took the opportunity to just go for it. I called the audience forward and got them joining in and clapping along just like many artists I have seen before but felt too shy to do myself!
OSR: If you could collaborate with any artist from any time, who would it be and why?
RH: There are many people I’d love to work with but my ultimate goal would be to write and produce a song with D’angelo! He’s a multi-instrumentalist with an excellent ear for vocal arrangements. He was quite influential whilst I was at college and developing my own writing style. I just thought it was so cool to have someone play and record their tracks like in the good old days as technology was beginning to take over live musicianship.
OSR: What is your creative process?
RH: I don’t have a set system, creativity comes to me in many ways, playing the piano and making a mistake with chords that actually sound nice has generated a few good tunes! Sometimes the melody comes first, sometimes it’s a lyric or subject matter. Whichever way the wind blows, I follow the direction and see what happens.
OSR: What can we expect to see from you in the next 12 months?
RH: Over the next 12 months, you can see me continue to promote Keep Dreaming including releasing some remixes and when things are up and running again, hopefully, a live showcase of the EP! Collaboration with other artists also.