Not many debut albums have experienced a journey quite like Raechel Whitchurch’s.
2020 presented us all with unique challenges and we were all impacted by the chaos in different ways. Not many people would’ve learnt more about themselves during this period than emerging Australian singer-songwriter Raechel Whitchurch, however.
Whitchurch originally planned to release her debut album at the beginning of 2020, and was also set to embark on a tour, but all plans were thrown out the window due to the pandemic. Now, in April 2021, Whitchurch’s long-awaited first LP is here – a testament to Whitchurch’s determination and resilience.
To celebrate the release of Finally Clear, we caught up with Whitchurch to chat about life, explore the record in more detail, and forecast what the rest of 2021 will bring for the artist.
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There’s no denying 2020 was a super tough year for the music industry, and it forced many of us to rethink and reimagine what we were doing. What was 2020 for Raechel Whitchurch?
2020 was such a tough year for so many people, and that was no exception for my family and I. We were scheduled to start a national tour with Adam Harvey in June 2020, and we had also decided to move back to the country before the tour started. In February, we shipped 75% of our belongings to our new town, expecting to follow it in May.
Of course, everything happened, and we ended up being stuck in Sydney with only our bare essentials for another year! It was just crazy and I don’t know how we did it with a one and three-year-old.
Once we knew that all our plans had gone out the window, we decided we just had to embrace the year for what it was. I released my first single on March 20, and we just went to work on promoting new music with no possibility of touring in the foreseeable future. We did the best with what we had, and it actually resulted in a lot of cool things. Someone once said to me, ‘Limitations force innovation’, and I think that’s the perfect way to describe 2020.
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Things are beginning to return to normal, which comes with its own challenges. How have you handled the transition back to normality?
Things have definitely improved on the music front, but there are still so many challenges for a touring artist, like sudden border closures and capacity limits. I have been freaking out for the last few weeks that I was going to have to cancel my Melbourne show because of the recent cases in Brisbane, but luckily the restrictions have eased again and we can make it work.
I think the constant uncertainty takes a toll on everyone. Some of my friends have said, “I just feel down all the time for no reason”, and I think we have to recognise that there is a massive reason for this. We are living in a constant unknown, and it’s exhausting. I’ve found that having little kids has helped me to focus on the things that really matter – I can’t control if my gig gets cancelled or if I lose money, but I can control how I love the people closest to me.
You’ve been performing shows as well, currently supporting Adam Harvey on his tour, while also embarking on your own solo tour. What’s it been like to return to the stage?
The first show I did back after all the restrictions ended, I got so nervous and nearly started crying right before I went on. I felt uncomfortable, but grateful at the same time. Now that I’ve played a few more shows, it’s starting to feel a bit more like second nature again, but I definitely wasn’t gig fit after a year of being at home!
Your recent single, ‘Don’t Be Afraid’, spoke of the anxieties you experienced during the recording process of your forthcoming debut album. Tell us a bit more about your journey to Finally Clear?
I’ve been waiting to release Finally Clear since early 2020 and so to be finally putting it out into the world is just incredible. I quit playing music a long time ago and never thought I’d come back to it, even though I love performing and songwriting with everything I’ve got.
This album is all about the journey I took to reach the point of deciding to give music a real shot. It’s the story of insecurity and anxiety, but also the message of hope in overcoming all of that by being brave and taking a chance. I found a lot of healing in making this record and I hope it does the same thing for everyone who hears it.
What does the album mean to you? And what do you hope listeners will get out of the record?
This thing that I love about this album is how I will one day be able to look my kids in the eye and tell them that I gave it my best shot. What happens next is kind of irrelevant – there are a thousand different factors that influence whether an artist can build a career or not, and while I would love to have a long and sustainable career in music, there’s just no guarantees. But what I do know is that I can tell me kids to take risks, give things a shot, be brave, and not feel like hypocritical about the way that I’ve lived my life.
You’ll be performing at The Wesley Anne on Thursday April 22. What can we expect from this show?
I’m so excited to be playing in Melbourne, and at such a great venue. This will be my first headline show in Melbourne and so I’m hoping to make a lot of new fans, and for people to really connect with the new songs from Finally Clear.
What’s the rest of 2021 look like for Raechel Whitchurch?
The rest of 2021, I’ll be out on the road with Adam Harvey, and also playing at a bunch of festivals like the Gympie Music Muster, NQ’s Rock’n Country Festival in Mackay, and Savannah in the Round in Mareeba. I’m also squeezing in writing wherever I can for album #2. I’ve got so much more to say and hopefully there’ll be some folks out there who are interested in what I’ve got to say.
Raechel Whitchurch’s solo tour
Whitchurch is currently embarking on a solo tour which is taking her to Brisbane, Sydney and Parkes, before she drops into The Wesley Anne on Thursday April 22. Whitchurch will then play some festival shows later in the year.
Check out all her forthcoming dates below.
Tuesday April 20 – The Vanguard – Newtown, NSW
Wednesday April 21 – Hart Bar – Parkes, NSW
Thursday April 22 – Wesley Anne – Northcote, VIC
Friday August 20 – NQ’s Rockin’ Country – Mackay, QLD
Thursday August 26 – The Gympie Muster – Amamoor, QLD
Friday October 1 – Savannah in the Round – Mareeba, QLD