Rachel Lipsky may, or may not, be a name you have heard of, but if you listen to country music, you will! I had the opportunity to speak to this up and coming singer/songwriter recently and I knew I wanted to add her to My Hopeful Life series. Her unapologetic style and sound set her apart and I love her enthusiasm for country music and her fans. Few things are more challenging and painstaking than trying to make it in the music industry. The field is flooded with hopefuls, but only a few rise to the top.
Rachel Lipsky was born in Denver, CO, the middle of three girls, and knew at a young age she wanted to sing. She was blessed with encouraging parents who both taught her to be confident and to never settle for anything less than her dream. As a child, she sang in church and school choirs. When she was in high school her dad was transferred to California and her exposure ramped up. At age 16, she opened for Toto and the next year she opened for Chely Wright. She got her tenacity honestly because while she was still a teenager, her mom would take her to any bar or venue in town with live music and ask to let her daughter perform. They were thrown out of some, but others let her sing. A few whisked her in and out of the back door, but the opportunity and exposure were still there.
In 2009 she started making trips to Nashville every 3-4 months and in April of 2010 she packed up everything and moved there with her dreams and inspiration in tow.
In 2013 she got her first spot on an AFE Tour to entertain the troops and this year marked her 5th trip sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment. These are her words “Giving back to our Military is one of my callings. I have a soft spot for our troops and I always want them to know we appreciate everything they do. This is by far the most fun part of my career so far. Getting to travel and be with them -- literally, the BEST feeling ever! Getting to see how they live, what they eat, how they get through their long deployments and what they do as part of a well-oiled machine.” The pride and joy she has for this part of her journey are so obvious and infectious. I can only imagine the amazing response she gets from the crowd!
She also competed in several singing contests along the way and in 2013 entered the Pepsi Southern Original but, unfortunately, did not even make the finals that year. She was disappointed but did not lose hope. She worked harder, took workshops, met everyone she could, studied songs and performances and the next year she entered again. That year, 2014, she won FIRST PLACE! That certainly gave her a confidence boost and sealed her determination to keep striving for more. She went on to enter and win the Nashville Hard Rock Rising Contest in 2017. Her and her band have opened for Blake Shelton, Lady A, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Tyler Farr, Neal McCoy and many others. She states: “It’s been an amazing and hard road, but the wins always outweigh the hard times.”
Her signature song is Ready, Set, Whiskey. It is a song she co-wrote with her friend; Dan Banks. Her songs are a mixture of collaboration and outside pitches. She is always looking for a song that fits her personality and style. She has no desire to cross over into the pop scene and is firmly planted in country music. She admits there have been some who said she didn’t fit into the parameters of country music, but this was her response. “I don’t believe that. I have to trust my gut and go for it. I can’t be fake and my fans are not stupid. I've grown pretty fast into who I am as an artist and have such a clear vision of what that means. I don't want to work with anyone who doesn't believe in me or my music. I am what I am, if you like it, great, if not, then there are plenty of other artists out there.”
She cites working with Neal McCoy as one of her career highlights to date. She says, “It was an absolute honor to open for Neal McCoy, watch him perform and then talk with him after the show. He is such an amazing talent that has been around for a long time. He is as kind as one would imagine he would be. Definitely, someone my band and I look up to.” Her bucket list includes sharing the stage with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Garth Brooks; both of whom have been an inspiration to her early on.
At the end of the conversation, I asked Rachel what words of wisdom she would like to share with her fans - and the world. These are her thoughts. “You have to believe in yourself first. Always see the positive. Even when bad things happen, remember there is balance in the universe and something really great is coming. Always be true to who you are. Everyone is going to have an opinion and you have to learn to let the negative ones go. Take that chance, no matter how scary the road may seem. Put yourself on the line, but never forget to enjoy every minute of the journey.”
And my favorite… “Always be the hardest working person in your camp!”
I really enjoyed getting to know Rachel and am very inspired by her positivity and gusto for life. She makes no apology for who she is or her dreams. We can all learn something from Rachel. Even if your goal is not to sing, we all have something inside of us yearning to get out. Tap into that inner dream and don’t let anything or anyone stop you from trying. Sometimes the greatest reward isn’t in the accolades, but in the satisfaction of a job well done.
For more information on Rachel, follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@RachelLipsky) (http://www.twitter.com/RachelLipsky and http://www.instagram.com/RachelLipsky).
For a listing of her tour/performance dates and other information; go to her website: http://www.rachellipsky.com/.
You can download her music on iTunes and Spotify through these links: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/rachel-lipsky/643967696 and http://bit.ly/RachelLipsky.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Rachel and I hope after reading her story, YOU are now excited and motivated to:
Ready….. Set….. GO!
Hope With Abandon