Interview: Rachel Reinert on Leaving Gloriana, Finding Her Sound, and Beginning Her Solo Career

You may recognize Rachel Reinert from her successful career with the band Gloriana—their 2012 single “Kissed You Goodnight” is certified platinum. However, she’s branched out on her own as a solo artist. We spoke with her about the struggles she’s faced during the transition from her quick rise to fame with Gloriana to stepping out into the music world on her own.

Would you take me back to when your love of music began? You’re from California—how has that influenced your music? 
I started singing when I was five years old. I was genuinely obsessed with putting on the radio and playing Disney movies so that I could sing along. My first piece of music that I actually owned was a cassette tape of Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do,” and I wore it out.

Growing up in California has had a profound effect on my sound—everything from the weather and landscape to the general vibe and aesthetic inspires me. I really try to capture that essence in the musicality of what I do. I’m also very influenced by many of the artists that came out of Laurel Canyon in the 70s—Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, etc. My parents raised me on that sound and it’s definitely mixed into my music.

As such a young woman moving to Nashville at the age of 16 and joining Gloriana at 18, how did that affect you?  
I had to grow up very fast. In some ways, I think I missed out on a lot of the “normal” things that most kids go through, but the tradeoff was that I got to pursue my dream and I have so many incredible experiences to be thankful for. After I left the band, I knew I had to do some work on myself. I didn’t have a true sense of who I was without my identity being attached to Gloriana. I’ve spent the last three years finding my voice and growing as a person as well as an artist. It’s been a very abnormal path, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. 

Walking away from not only the band but your entire team, label, etc. takes courage and faith in yourself. After nearly 10 years with Gloriana, how did you know it was time to take the plunge?  
I had just reached a point where I didn’t feel challenged or fulfilled creatively. I had always dreamed of being a solo artist, long before the opportunity to be in the band came along. So, after 8 years and 3 full length albums, I knew I had to either stay in it for the long haul or chase after what I had originally intended to do. I didn’t want to be one foot in, one foot out either. I needed to take away the option of the safety net, because I knew that would push me, and it absolutely did. 

People tend to speculate whenever a band takes a break or someone pursues a solo career. How did the commentary affect you?
People said some rude and hateful things on social media, and God only knows what has been said behind my back. I’m a human being, so of course that stuff can take a toll, but in my heart of hearts, I knew that I was doing what was best for me. I wouldn’t change a thing about the choices that I have made, because at the end of the day, I’m living and creating authentically, and I’m happier and more fulfilled than I have ever been. I try not to be concerned about what the nay-sayers think or say, but I definitely let it fuel my fire to be the best artist that I can be. 

In this industry, it’s often years before an artist or band gets their “break,” and Gloriana found success rather quickly. How has the experience been for you as a solo artist?  
The success we had at that rate was unheard of. I don’t ever take that for granted. I was very lucky to be on that “rocket ship,” but in some ways, I think it warped my sense of reality. My whole experience as a solo artist has been extremely humbling. I’ve had to learn to be patient, and not freak out when things don’t immediately take off. It’s been a healthy process and I’m taking everything one day at a time. 

Is it important to you to have a hand in writing your own music? Take me through your writing process. Where do you find your inspiration?
It’s extremely important to me that I be a writer on every song I sing from here on out. I spent many years singing other people’s songs in Gloriana, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but for me, I felt like I was not being true to myself or authentic as an artist.

I would say my writing process is all about being vulnerable. I go into each session with the intention of being open and honest with the people I’m working with that day about whatever experiences I’m going through in that moment. I also tend to jot down a lot of lyric and poetry ideas whenever moments of creativity hit me each day, so I have those thoughts always ready to go. I find my inspiration from everyday life, love, relationships, experiences, etc. 

The two songs you’ve released so far were produced by Davis Naish. Can you describe the inspiration or story behind “Cool” and “Dark Star”?
“Cool” was inspired by my first love and first heartbreak, and how after many years we developed a genuine friendship with one another. “Dark Star” was inspired by my transition as a solo artist. All of my frustrations and fears are addressed, but it mainly serves as this reminder that I still have this light within me, no matter how dark or uncertain things may be or have been. 

What do you see in the near future as far as your career goes? Any plans for an EP or full-length album?
I hope to get back out on the road again. I really miss touring and I love performing. I’m working on my full-length album as we speak—hoping it will be released at some point this year!

How would you describe yourself both as an artist and as a person? Is there anything people would be surprised to know about you either personally or professionally?
I would say they’re starting to become one in the same… I am definitely way more comfortable in my skin these days. I have much more of a sense of myself, and I’m not afraid to pull that veil down and show people who I really am both professionally and personally. That’s really what this whole process has been about. People might be surprised to know how detail-oriented I am. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my career. I also really enjoy the business side of the music business. Most creatives don’t, but I actually enjoy learning everything I can about every single aspect of what I do. 

What would you tell other artists struggling to pursue a dream of their own?
Be yourself. Know yourself. Let that shine through. Don’t follow trends! 

Where can fans find you? On tour or are you playing local shows in and around Nashville? 
RachelReinertmusic.com —that will also link you to all my social accounts. I’m playing the Basement East on March 7! Come see me.