Q&A with California multi-instrumentalist and composer Rachel Flowers - her music spans multiple genres

"As much as I’m enjoying the current state of music, I do miss a few things. I miss vocal performances without pitch correction, timeless melodies, and clear enunciation like you hear from singers such as Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald. I would like to mix traditional jazz with the current trends in music, like artists such as Robert Glasper and Chris Dave. Sometimes I fear that I’ll sound a bit similar to those early singers, but I try to incorporate their ideas with my own style."

Rachel Flowers: Bigger on the Inside

California multi-instrumentalist and composer Rachel Flowers released her eagerly awaited new solo album. Rachel demonstrates with her latest effort that she truly is, as the title suggests, “Bigger on the Inside” (2021). As a composer, Rachel seamlessly weaves together elements of progressive rock, jazz, classical, and pop music with cinematic orchestrations, soaring melodies, and virtuosic playing. Top this off with Rachel’s 3 1/2 octave vocal range and her uncanny ability to explore universal themes ranging from love, joy, and hope to depression, bullying, and fear of an uncertain future with sensitivity and optimism, and you have an album that is destined to stand the test of time. Rachel Flowers is recognized worldwide as a multi-instrumentalist and composer whose music spans multiple genres. She first gained recognition for her talent as a young child and has been admired and mentored by those at the top of their field including Greg Lake, Keith Emerson, Dweezil Zappa, Conductor Terje Mikkelson, and a series of jazz greats, most notably Herbie Hancock. As a teenager she won numerous awards as a pianist and flutist, and has matured to perform and record on the global stage. The award winning documentary “Hearing Is Believing” was produced about her unusual life and talents.                               (Rachel Flowers / Photo by Marie Gregorio-Oviedo)

Rachel continues to defy expectations, refusing to be pigeonholed by genre or by instrument. Her classical piano training started when she was only 4 years old. At 9 she discovered jazz and was immediately transfixed by the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Ella Fitzgerald. As varied as her musical background had already been, hearing Emerson, Lake & Palmer proved to be a turning point. Rachel was captivated by keyboardist Keith Emerson’s innovative integration of classical and jazz elements in a rock setting, and he became a musical role model. While her favorite instruments continue to be piano and organ, she is also classically trained on the flute and plays the guitar, bass, saxophone, and Chapman Stick. Rachel’s future plans include completion of a jazz album, and a jazz/hip-hop fusion album, both started during the pandemic. There are no release dates as yet. Plans to record with a live orchestra are currently in discussion. In closing Rachel has this to impart to her listeners, “The message I would like my listeners to come away with is that there will be darkness, but you can fly, you can love, you can be loved, and the darkness is only temporary.”

Interview by Michael Limnios         Photos by Marie Gregorio-Oviedo

Special Thanks: Rachel Flowers and Billy James (Glass Onyon PR)

How has Jazz and Prog Rock music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Jazz is one of my favorite American music traditions, focusing on interpretation, and improvisation. It’s always evolved throughout generations. Progressive rock focuses more on mostly European structures, and taking classical themes to a full rock band. It's interesting how Progressive Rock is about performing the music the same way every time, and how Jazz is about self-expression in the moment.

Where does your creative drive come from? What characterizes your music philosophy and progress?

My creative drives come from whatever I’m listening to in the moment, along with technology allowing me to record ideas. I think my musical philosophy is, not being afraid to experiment with unusual ideas.

What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?

I hope that my music will bring people joy and peace, and help them to express emotions that are hard to express.

"My creative drives come from whatever I’m listening to in the moment, along with technology allowing me to record ideas. I think my musical philosophy is, not being afraid to experiment with unusual ideas." (Rachel Flowers / Photo by Marie Gregorio-Oviedo)

What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Some highlights from my musical career include performing with Dweezil Zappa, meeting Herbie Hancock, and performing with Arturo Sandoval. Alan Pasqua told me, "You're a composer. You don't have to choose a genre."

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

As much as I’m enjoying the current state of music, I do miss a few things. I miss vocal performances without pitch correction, timeless melodies, and clear enunciation like you hear from singers such as Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald. I would like to mix traditional jazz with the current trends in music, like artists such as Robert Glasper and Chris Dave. Sometimes I fear that I’ll sound a bit similar to those early singers, but I try to incorporate their ideas with my own style.

What is to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

I love that James Brown song! (Smile) I think it’s very fascinating to be a female artist in a man’s world. I was lucky to be very little, listening to women like Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Lauren Hill, Alicia Keys, and many others. It’s pretty cool to explore many things, especially when it comes to being a multi-instrumentalist, taking on roles from some of my favorite male artists. I’m very happy to see new growth when it comes to women in music. Hearing artists like Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, Jazzmia Horn, Imogen Heap, and other female artists who are forging their own path is encouraging to me, as they each have their own sound.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?                     (Rachel Flowers / Photo by Marie Gregorio-Oviedo)

As a classically trained pianist, one of the most important lessons I've learned is letting my left-hand guide me a bit ahead of my right hand, especially while playing challenging pieces from composers like Bach and Keith Emerson.

"Jazz is one of my favorite American music traditions, focusing on interpretation, and improvisation. It’s always evolved throughout generations. Progressive rock focuses more on mostly European structures, and taking classical themes to a full rock band. It's interesting how Progressive Rock is about performing the music the same way every time, and how Jazz is about self-expression in the moment."

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want to affect people?

I think in this weird time we’re living in that music is helping to bring people together. I want to be part of that.

Rachel Flowers - Home

Views: 363

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media

Members

© 2021   Created by Michael Limnios Blues Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service