An Interview With Rashell
Q: When did you decide to become a singer?
A: When I was a little girl I was often exposed to music of many genres. I had music all around me; a lot of my family members are musically inclined. One summer I went on an overnight camp to help my grandfather. He was a preacher and was dedicated to helping people in his community and surrounding areas. It was in Tulsa, Oklahoma that I spent the night at a Gospel camp as I had done before. I was caught singing to myself in the cabin filled with young girls my age. The girls became excited about discovering my voice and encouraged me to sing a song for the end of camp music celebration. After thinking about it I was introduced to the music director and was asked to sing during a rehearsal. The director said he would give me a space to sing a short song. He asked me to be ready for the final show the following evening. When that time came to head over to the tent for the big show, I was so frightened; I thought about running and hiding. I had never felt so afraid of a microphone before in my life but I finally decided to give it a chance.
I remember walking across that stage under the bright lights and see all those faces starring back at me waiting for me to do my act. I was trembling and shaking, afraid of what people would say when I finished the song. When the music started I missed the first note and stumbled with the microphones a few times yet I made it through what felt like the longest song ever. After the music had stopped, it was complete silence. It was so quiet I could hear my own heart beating. In my mind I said I did it, I did it - yes! After the longest five seconds of silence everyone started clapping, smiling and cheering. I had received a standing ovation. In that moment I felt a rush of positive energy; at that moment I knew I was born to be a singer.
Q: Growing up, what singers did you admire the most?
A: I admired Mariah Carey, Deniece Williams, and Rachelle Ferrell for their range and use of their whistle range. Teena Marie and Mary J. Blige for their soulful tones and lyrical expression.
Q: Where did you learn how to sing?
A: I actually learned most everything by ear, as a child singing in my room with my old handheld radio. I would sing songs from many genres over and over to learn how to get pitch, notes, and harmony. I was lucky enough to learn some basic music reading, pitch and listening skills from my dad and other family members. My grandparents' music director at their Baptist church also helped me as she used to stay after church service had ended to play piano and let me sing along in different keys and tempos. She would often correct me on posture and vocal projection. Later I learned about my whistle register thanks to Denise Williams and Mariah Carey. I was so taken with their high-pitched registers and beautiful tones I would sing them over and over climbing the scale and pushing my vocals until I could hear I was in perfect pitch. Over the course of several years I have learned how to control my whistle notes and how to use them in my music.
Q: Has singing always been your passion?
A: Yes, as far as I can recall. Like I previously stated, music has been around me for as long as I can remember.
Q: What songs are you most proud of and why?
A: I suppose I am most proud of my song Dry Ur Eyez." It’s a song dedicated to bringing awareness of domestic violence and has a message of hope and healing. I love this song for its strength and uplifting energy. It's the kind of song that let's you know that no matter how bad it is, you're not alone.