Stunning songstress Rachael Leahcar releases the title track from her fourth album – Shadows – to radio this week ahead of her forthcoming national tour. The powerful track is the perfect prelude to her tour and a chance for Rachael to share an insight into herself and her songwriting with music fans before heading out on the road. As one of the rawest tracks on her recent long-player, Shadows touches on often taboo topics of suicide and mental illness. For Rachael, releasing it as a single in the lead-up to her tour was a chance to give audiences an understanding of the song before performing it live.
“It is a very powerful, emotional song and I needed the message to be clear,” she says. “If you’re struggling, hurting or in trouble, don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. People have called me in tears telling me how glad they are to hear a song that they can relate to. It has been full-on at times, but I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to help people through something I love doing.”
The concept of Shadows was inspired by a close friend who was working for a charity supporting mental illness. Rachael is no stranger to philanthropy. She has been an ambassador for the Royal Society of the Blind since 2011 and one of Vision Australia’s Carols By Candlelight ambassadors in 2012 and 2013. She felt an instant affinity and drawing on her own relationships, life experiences and the people she has met, and who have impacted her, she penned Shadows as a tribute, and a beacon of hope.
“There are so many people I care about who are experiencing mental health issues and I wanted to send out a message of support to people like them,” says Rachael. “Mental illness does not discriminate, it can affect anyone at any time. Between 2012 and 2016 in Australia, the average number of suicides per year was 2,795. There’s so much stigma and shame attached to talking about your mental state, but this needs to change. We need to encourage people to talk about what they’re going through with others who they trust and know that they aren’t a burden to those who love them. They need to know there’s support out there for them. I’m hoping this song will give them strength, courage and hope for the future.”
Rachael Leahcar came into the public consciousness in 2012, finishing in the Top 3 of the first season of The Voice Australia. She captivated the public with her gorgeous vocals, where approximately four-million people watched her television audition. Her debut album Shooting Star achieved Gold status, and her two subsequent releases Romantique and Here Comes The Sun also debuted in the Top 10. Despite living with a degenerative eye condition and losing 90% of her vision, Rachael has been working at her musical dream since she was a child, performing around her home town of Adelaide and steadily earning acclaim for her incredible talent.
When it came to composing the track, Rachael wrote the bare bones of the song on the piano, using her voice to help create the depth she envisioned. In the initial stages, the track was only three minutes – it wasn’t until she took it into the studio that the final version came to fruition. She says the first version felt unfinished, as if it wasn’t saying enough. “I also felt like the production didn’t do the lyric justice,” she says. “I’ve never had to reconstruct a song before – often I’m so set on what I’ve done, I find it very hard to change anything. This one needed to be changed to get the right emotion and message across. I simplified the chorus with fewer words, added more layers in the vocals including my own backing vocals and male backing vocals, and instructed the musicians on the track to go their hardest at the end. Now the song is almost five minutes but it’s exactly how I first heard it sound in my mind.”
The outcome is a hauntingly beautiful track that reaches out and stays with you – the pain, turmoil and hope is palpable. Shadows is a credit to Rachael as a songwriter and performer.
Rachael Leahcar’s single Shadows is released to radio on Friday 20th October 2017. Check out the clip for Shadows https://youtu.be/Me_5itREtac. Her album of the same name is out now, independently released through Ambition Entertainment. Rachael’s Shadows tour kicks off in November.
For more information, please visit www.rachaelleahcar.com.au