I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Big Island musician Rachael Scott for five years now. First, as a singer-songwriter that appeared in my documentary about the island’s music scene and at various competitions where she’s won awards for her unique style of music.
Last Friday, Scott appeared as a solo performer at the Kahilu Theatre. She’d won first place in a talent competition last year, and the prize was her very own concert. The event also marked the venue’s first return to dance shows since the pandemic shut everything down. The event sold out!
Previously I’ve seen Scott perform in intimate club settings where the focus would be on her singing and storytelling through her songs. However, at her RSM (Rachael Scott Musik) Dance Party, she took an entirely new approach and performed EDM (electronic dance music).
But it was more than that. Scott had created 90-minutes of well-produced videos to accompany the various songs she sang and played on keyboards. In addition, she provided the crowd with flashing multi-colored glow sticks and occasionally jumped off stage to dance with them as a pre-programmed track played.
Rachael and I had an opportunity to do an interview before her show.
For new listeners, can you describe your style of music?
Up until COVID hit, I did a lot of folk-rock singer-songwriter stuff. But I like to do different genres, and I was starting to branch out a lot. And during COVID, I’ve wanted to be a producer and do more productions and be able to compose the beginning to end of the whole song. So, I started branching out to other genres. And so, at this point, I think I’m up to like six or seven genres that I’m pretty good in so far.
Let’s talk about your RSM Dance Party show at the Kahilu Theatre.
It’s different for me. It’s my first time doing this. Everything is entirely produced from the ground up. Even the covers that I have are going to be totally lit. It’s been an enjoyable learning process because I’ve taken many classes, and I wanted to get into EDM because people don’t realize when you say EDM, there are 15 subgenres within that, and I wanted to kind of showcase what that means. So, if people are like, “I don’t like EDM,” I’m like, “You might not know what you like yet.”
Talk about some of your new music projects.
I’m currently in the process of releasing five different EPs. They’re all kind of telling a story, they are probably three to five songs on each EP, and they’re in all different genres. The next one to come out is called “Aleen Vitor.” That’s an anagram, and the titles are all anagrams.
So, if my fans want to figure out what they mean, it’s the five stages of something. This one’s going to be more of an EDM style. I’ve got a nice acoustic kind of a classical one coming out after that. Then, I have a more hip-hop kind of R&B style one after that, and a couple more after that. I’m still deciding exactly what genres they are going to be.
What prompted that diversity in music?
My father played a lot of funk and soul growing up, but he was a fantastic drummer and a great frontman. My brother’s a rapper. My oldest brother is a reggae singer. And I think I just wanted to do it all. I just like being able to stretch and bend. My goal is film and TV music, and they need all kinds of genres. So that’s definitely where I’m heading.
Let’s discuss rebranding yourself as a producer and the people you’re working with.
I’ve been working online with people, especially with some friends in California that are doing similar things. I’m on the mix/engineer side of it as well. I’m looking to collaborate with a lot of people soon.
What makes the music scene here unique?
It’s unique from anywhere else. You have musicians from all sides of the island and different islands doing different things here. And they bring this particular kind of vibe to their music, whether they’re born here or not. So, there’s just a thing about Hawaii island that gives you this feeling, and I think it helps to aid in our creativity, having so much beautiful scenery, and there are just mountains of talent out here. So, being a producer is really cool because I have singers to pull from anywhere.
Where’s the best place to find your music online?
I’m on all streaming platforms, and you can follow me on social media.
Connect with Rachael Scott
About the author: Steve Roby is the editor of Big Island Music Magazine, and his work also appears in West Hawaii Today.
Photos: Steve Roby ©2022