Rachel Roberts
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Rachel Roberts

Akron, Ohio, United States

Akron, Ohio, United States
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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Press


"Another big fan of the weather was performer Rachel Roberts.
The 2001 Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy graduate brought a Vegas Style act, which included an original song, "Christmas Bug", and a bare-shoulder costume, to the stage in front of the Civic Theatre. " - Akron Beacon Journal


"On May 24, the Orrville High School Spanish students enjoyed a day of sharing friendship, kindness and music.
This year we were delighted to hear a special guest whose philosophy of life fit our goal perfectly.
Rachel Roberts, 23, a native of Akron, has been playing guitar and writing music since her teen years. She has recorded one CD and is working on a second one. Most of her songs are about love, kindness, and friendship. She is willing to share her talents with local organizations.
Students were touched by her sweet powerful music" - Orrviews- The Orrville Post


Another gem in our midst, local singer/songwriter Rachel Roberts, has an intrinsic musical talent. Rachel sounds like she's been performing much longer than her 22 years might suggest. Although she comes from a musical family and started playing guitar at age 16, she didn't really start performing her own songs until just over a year ago. To see her and hear her, you wouldn't believe it.
I caught one of Rachel's shows recently at The Northside in Akron, where she performs regularly. With a clear, strong voice, she can be quite a crooner with a touch of blues. Her melodies are creative and she favors jumps of 5ths and even wider intervals within them. On songs like "Lovin' You", Rachel displays a nice range, moving between mezzo-soprano and soprano.
What most impressed me about Rachel's performance was the diversity of feel and guitar rhythms within her set. I've seen too many singer/songwriters that play one song after another at the same tempo in the same key, with the same strum pattern, and melodies so similiar that the performance gets boring. I think Rachel understands this and consciously mixes it up to keep each song feeling fresh. One stand out number, "Red Roses", featured a celtic rhythm with percussive tapping on the guitar body. In the same set she played "Do It Right" with a Stevie Wonder-influenced funk/rock chord progression, and a very sultry cover of Santana's "Evil Ways". Rachel is willing to stretch and experiment- a good quality in any artist.
Several songs showed Rachel's creative lyric writing, no doubt influenced by her 3 years as an English major at The University of Akron. A couple of memorable songs include:
"Living in Vain"- a song about a woman who finally leaves her husband after years of neglect. The tables have turned- he wants her back but she moves on with a renewed strength and passion for life.
"Stephanie"- inspired by girls from high school (who always seem to have names like Stephanie, Brittany, Chelsea) whom she hated for dating the boy she had a crush on. She sings "I hope I see you on the back of a milk carton one day...Lost in Love... I don't understand why her name had to be Stephanie."
I spoke with Rachel about her music during her break. She told me that she really wants to stand out from the crowd as a songwriter and performer. Rachel sees music as a messenger for the soul. From her soul, she strives to express thoughts, emotions, and music and prays it makes meaning inside the listener. I asked Rachel if she finds herself coming back to any particular message. She said, "One important message is that although life may deal out hardships, there is always a way to reflect positively on those times and gain strength and wisdom frm them."
Moving faster than most area musicians, Rachel has already recorded a full-length CD entitled "Ripe 'n Juicy". The CD was produced by Ron Wayton and is available at Square Records (on West Market St. in Highland Square in Akron, OH) and CDBaby.com. The official CD release party for Ripe 'n Juicy was August 26th at the Nothside. She turned the party into a gala event complete with belly dancers and live theater as the opening entertainment. Rachel hopes to tour the Northwest United States in the coming year to support her CD.
I urge you to catch Rachel's live show and while you're at it, pick up her CD. She plays Monday nights at the Northside in Akron. She will also be performing in Akron September 21st at the Nut House and September 28th at Fuel.
For more information on Rachel, her music, and her complete upcoming show schedule, visit www.rachelroberts.info. - Epitome Magazine


"And here's one more thing for your to-do list before the year ends: Expirience Rachel Roberts one of Akron's hottest rising singer-songwriters and bandleaders."
- Scene Magazine


In "Mango," Rachel Roberts moans about an "extra super-saturated juicy little spot," and seldom has passion fruit been this sexy. This year, the self-taught 21-year-old guitarist has been making noise in her native Akron, where she plays every Monday at the Northside, a cozy blues spot.
On her supple debut, Ripe & Juicy, Roberts plays solo, with occasional tambourine and bongo backing. In "The Mannequin," the limber-lipped singer gives an ultimatum to a dallying suitor: "She's got a real small waist and her mouth sewn shut/ Likes to spend your money on clothes/But she's got no heart, so who's the real rose?/The mannequin or me?" And while Roberts is the obvious choice, you can't help but hope he chooses the plastic girl- we could use a few more songs like this. - Scene Magazine


At a recent performance at the Riverfront Coffee Mill in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron singer-songwriter Rachel Roberts introduced the song "Do It Right" as a combination of many different musical styles.
The resulting three-and-a-half minutes saw Roberts spewing forth enough chords and lyrical imagery for any three numbers.
Unlike many ambitious young composers, however, Roberts' life has been a mix of as many diverse influences and events as her music.
The daughter of opera singers, Roberts, 22, wrote her first song as a dedication to her graduating 8th grade class at Litchfield Middle School, an interesting debut given that earlier that year Roberts had nearly burned down a home economics classroom.
The diminutive singer brings the incident up as casually as someone ordering lunch.
"I was kind of a bad kid," she said munching popcorn at Summit Mall, where she has decided to visit on the busiest shopping day of the holiday season to "people-watch."
"An oven caught fire when the teacher wasn't looking. So nobody got in trouble. We just had to clean the walls."
Whether or not it had anything to do with her pyrotechnic prowess, Roberts parents decided she would be better off finishing her primary education at Old Trail School and, eventually, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.
Along the way the "bad kid" embarked on a Christian mission trip to the Dominican Republic that would serve to inspire her musical pursuits even farther.
While delivering care packages to remote, impoverished cities, Roberts developed a strong humanitarian spirit along with a love for the countries ubiquitous mangoes.
With musical influences ranging from Beethoven to Janis Joplin, Roberts' music is set well apart from other aspiring folk singer-songwriters.
For example, in lue of her experiences in Santa Domingo, her sweet tooth for mangoes led to one of her most intriguing songs on her debut CD, a slice of brilliant double entendre appropriately titled "Mango."
Roberts will be promoting her new CD "Ripe n' Juicy" with a performance at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Mustard Seed Market (3885 W. Market St.) in Fairlawn.
"Ripe 'n Juicy" was recorded earlier this year at the home studio of Ron Wayton, who discovered Roberts' after the singer started a house gig on Monday nights at Northside in Akron. She had worked her way to the club after performing at several open mic nights, one in particular hosted by local rapper Ace Boogie at an Arabica coffee house.
"Ace Boogie met me at Lentine's Music and (invited) me to come to his open mic," Roberts said. "When I realized it was a rap and poetry night I almost turned around and left."
Once again Roberts persevered in the face of adversity, winning over the crowd. Still, the greatest challenge would be recording her original material.
"To be honest, I'm kind of a secretive person," she said "I don't have a lot of real close friends-- for me music is the closest friend I have. I had really only made music for my roommates-- I didn't feel confident enough (recording) something that was mine."
Which is somewhat hard to believe given Roberts' poise-- not to mention a surprisingly big voice-- on her debut CD.
In person, the mature singing voice is complemented by a childlike quality as Roberts' discusses her pet snake and where to find the best sled riding hills in Akron.
"I studied voice at Akron U, where my mom taught and went for her Masters," she continued. "But that wasn't what I was passionate about. I changed my major to English and really fell in love with words."
In spite of the confidence she gained in her songwriting skills, Roberts said such decisions were among the most difficult she has had to make.
"Knowing that (my parents) are professionals, and not knowing if they are going to accept me for my own thing and understand that I am creating something-- that's tough," Roberts said. "I'm actually more of a composer, and man, composers get such a bad wrap."
If the insightful yet soulful music in "Ripe 'n Juicy" is any indication, Roberts' struggle for acceptance, along with her aforementioned people-watching skills, may be paying off in spades.
"I have felt for the last year or so that it's been kind of glamorous, even though I'm broke," she said. "There is no doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'd much rather be poor and happy than rich and unfulfilled."
- West Akron Sun


In "Mango," Rachel Roberts moans about an "extra super-saturated juicy little spot," and seldom has passion fruit been this sexy. This year, the self-taught 21-year-old guitarist has been making noise in her native Akron, where she plays every Monday at the Northside, a cozy blues spot.
On her supple debut, Ripe & Juicy, Roberts plays solo, with occasional tambourine and bongo backing. In "The Mannequin," the limber-lipped singer gives an ultimatum to a dallying suitor: "She's got a real small waist and her mouth sewn shut/ Likes to spend your money on clothes/But she's got no heart, so who's the real rose?/The mannequin or me?" And while Roberts is the obvious choice, you can't help but hope he chooses the plastic girl- we could use a few more songs like this. - Scene Magazine


...At 22, Akronite Rachel Roberts is a newcomer to the business. "I truly believe this'll be a milestone year for me," she says. "I've been writing songs and singing since high school, but only this past year got up the nerve to perform in front of people besides my roommates."
She adds she'll never forget her first gig at a local coffeehouse. "I was nervous, but soon as I got up there, everything inside me lit up. It was like dancing without moving."
Roberts now performs at various venues, such as the Barking Spider and the Happy Dog in Cleveland, and the Lime Spider and Northside in Akron. She'll celebrate her 23rd birthday at Northside with a party and concert on March 16. - Northern Ohio Live


...At 22, Akronite Rachel Roberts is a newcomer to the business. "I truly believe this'll be a milestone year for me," she says. "I've been writing songs and singing since high school, but only this past year got up the nerve to perform in front of people besides my roommates."
She adds she'll never forget her first gig at a local coffeehouse. "I was nervous, but soon as I got up there, everything inside me lit up. It was like dancing without moving."
Roberts now performs at various venues, such as the Barking Spider and the Happy Dog in Cleveland, and the Lime Spider and Northside in Akron. She'll celebrate her 23rd birthday at Northside with a party and concert on March 16. - Northern Ohio Live


Discography

Album (15 songs)- "Ripe n' Juicy"
Singles playing on radio- "Regret" & "Pattern of Compromise"
Singles streaming on internet-
"She" and "Pattern of the Compromise", "Love Champagne", "Regret", "Twisted Beauty Black", "Company", "Sylvia", "Rescue You", and "Make your Body Move".

Photos

Bio

"It's not hard to be a musician when you grow up with opera singers as parents," says 23 year-old Akron, Ohio, singer-songwriter Rachel Roberts. But instead of taking cues from the Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Gilbert and Sullivan that her parents helped her fall in love with, Roberts has gone a completely different route, citing Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, and Jeff Buckley as her primary songwriting influences. After a high school career filled with lead roles in musicals and plays, Roberts integrated guitar playing into her performance arsenal. She's been singing and composing her own songs since. But it wasn't until an open-mic night a few years ago that Roberts felt compelled to exhibit her ample musical talents beyond her bedroom walls. Since that evening, she's done almost nothing but play gigs- managing a schedule that includes 15-20 gigs per month, including a performance every Monday at Akron blues bar The Northside. She's played pretty much everywhere in Northeast Ohio, including TV performances on Fox 8 and Random Acts of Music (www.randomactsofmusic.tv), as well as opening for national talent and headlining her own shows. She has been writing new material for her band Rachel's Secret Stache, and is currently working on an album with them. But she continues to work on her solo career as she is a natural spring of musical compositions. According to Roberts, solo performance gives her a chance to "sing with my guitar- pure and sensual, raw and intimate."

Epitome Magazine- a publication dedicated to celebrating the art produced by Northeastern Ohio Women- dubbed Roberts "a gem" with "intruistic musical talent," but was most impressed by her willingness to expiriment within the oftentimes bland singer-songwriter genre. Roberts' latest songs-- "Regret" and "Pattern of Compromise"-- are currently on radio stations 91.3 The Summit and 89.7 WKSU. They are on Roberts' self-released debut album "Ripe n' Juicy," which contains 15 original songs. "Regret" compares the relationship troubles of two legendary couples- Romeo and Juliet and Sampson and Delilah- with her own. It all takes place atop a sonic palette brimming with off-kilter percussion, mandolin, and accordion. Echoes of Joni Mitchell abound on "Pattern of Compromise," specifically in Roberts' soaring lyrics and spot-on harmonies. The chorus of "I feel like taking you off my mind" feels instantly crushing, yet somehow liberating.

Roberts broadened her horizons the summer of 2007 with her first national tour. She was welcomed in Nasville, New Orleans, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, San Diego, Hollywood, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Ft. Collins, and Chicago. The successful tour gave her a fervor for more touring and inspired several new songs.

Her latest ventures have been with the Bang and Clatter Theatre Company (www.myspace.com/bangandclatter or www.bnctheatre.com). She wrote a soundtrack for the play "BUG" by Tracy Letts, and performed it live for the 22 show run in November 2007. Her sexy part in the Neil LaBute play "Some Girls" won her several fans in dramatic theatre. Roberts is currently musically directing and acting in the Adam Rapp play "Essential Self-Defense", running February 22- March 22, 2008. She will play Trudy in the Christopher Durang play "Betty's Summer Vacation" in June 2008.

Not only is Rachel heavily involved in the music and theatre business, she is also a full time student at the University of Akron where she studies literature, creative writing, and music. In April 2008, she will perform in an operetta for the first time. "I already know that I'll be performing original music and travelling for the rest of my life," she says. "I hope I get to meet you along the way."