Raeann Phillips
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Raeann Phillips


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"Raeann Phillips Is Turning Music Into A Full-Time Gig"

One of Southwest Washington’s best-known singers is courting even more listeners. Raeann Phillips is performing three or four nights a week as a solo act at local bars and restaurants, in addition to working weekends with her Top 40 band, Raeann’s Groove.

This week, she’s adding a benefit performance to an already-busy schedule. She’ll entertain during the CAP and Karaoke Fest Friday evening at the Red Lion in Kelso. Phillips, 28, has been perfecting her sultry singing and stage presence since she was a teenager.

She was active in choir and musicals at Kelso High School, and soon after graduation started fronting local bands, including Slim King’s Carnival, Checker, Driving Rain and Pawn Shop Treasure. Raeann Phillips has been singing and playing her guitar several nights a week in local spots recently.

Since 2004, Phillips has been lead singer for Raeann’s Groove, which plays most weekends at Northwest casinos. Other members are Rick Weiler, guitar; Gary Falter, keyboards; Gary Oldroyd, bass;and Cris Carter, drums.

Helping to care for her mother, Henrietta Pettit, inspired Phillips to take a leap into a fulltime music career. Pettit has kidney cancer, and Phillips and other family members take turns staying with her. On July 17, Phillips will do another benefit to help pay for her mother’s treatment. “This past year has taught me how precious time is,” Phillips said. “If there’s something in life you want to do, you have to do it. I wanted to pour my whole heart and soul into music.”

So a few months ago, Phillips left the security of the day job at The Brits restaurant in downtown Longview that she held for about a decade. Now she’s supporting herself by performing. This week, she’s typically busy. She played at Henri’s Sunday night and tonight she’s at the Cross Keys tavern. On Friday, she’ll sing at the CAP event, then join her bandmates in the Groove at Porky’s. Phillips said concentrating on performing has been a good move financially. She’s making more money than when she had the restaurant job.
One night, a man came to a gig just as she was packing up to leave. He wanted her to sing her trademark song, “Bobby McGee.” So Phillips pulled her guitar out its case and sang the song. The fan rewarded her with a $100 tip.
She hopes to expand her solo gigs to the Portland and Olympia areas.
When the Groove travels to out-of-town casinos, Phillips rubs shoulders with headliner bands that often are from Las Vegas, she said. Members have often been playing pop music for 30 or 40 years. “It makes you realize you can make a living if you do it as a

She supplements her income by selling copies of “Destination Love,” a CD of eight
original songs recorded at Leon Lowman’s Kelso studio. “It’s very simple and basic,” she said. “Just me and my guitar.” Her songs lean to the plaintive, a contrast to the good-time dance music she does with her band. The “Destination Love” title track is about drives her mother used to take with her six
kids. Another song, “Hero,” is also about Henrietta, mentioning how she paid for Phillips’ first guitar and rarely missed a show when her health permitted. “Gypsy Heart” “sounds like it’s about someone else but it’s really about me,” Phillips said. Writing songs is “really therapeutic for me,” she said. “It’s kind of like being your own psychiatrist.” She’s written enough songs for another CD. “I just have to find the time to get in the studio,” she said. The next CD will have a silly song she wrote for her 5-year-old daughter, Sydney. “I
wrote it on the back of a motorcycle,” she said. “I started yodeling and ended up with a
song.” It will also have “Daddy,” an autobiographical tune about being a single mother. She did the tune in 2007 when she won the Washington state level of the Colgate Country Showdown, only to lose in the regional event. Phillips also has tried out “American Idol” three times, but her quest for fame has mellowed.
“I feel like my dreams have already come true for me,” she said. “I don’t think I could do any more.”
These days, she’s happy to play for appreciative local audiences.
“I really enjoy seeing people happy,” even if it’s at the Monticello Hotel, not on a Nashville stage. “It brings me a lot of joy to see people dancing. I feel honored to be a vessel for a good time.”

What: CAP and Karaoke Fest, with music by Raeann Phillips and Kyle Harbaugh, and
karaoke. Dave Taylor is master of ceremonies. Full buffet and no-host bar.
When: 6 p.m. Friday.
Where: Red Lion Hotel, Kelso.
Tickets: $30 in advance at Red Canoe Credit Union and CAP, 1526 Commerce Ave.,
and www.lowercolumbiacap.org. $40 at the door. A benefit for CAP. Agency spokesman
Alan Rose said fund-raising is more important than ever for the agency because of the
poor economy. CAP is serving more newly unemployed people who don’t know the
ropes of applying for benefits, he said.
Raeann Phillips solo shows
June 28 -- Henri’s, 7-10 p.m. and every Sunday through July
July 2 — The Regent, 7-10 p.m.
July 3 — Martin Dock, Lake Sacajawea, 1-2 p.m.
July 8 -- Porky’s, 6-8 p.m., all ages
July 9 -- Cross Keys, 7-10 p.m.
July 23 — Cross Keys, 7-10 p.m.
July 25 -- Island Casino, wine tasting 7-9 p.m.
Raeann’s Groove
June 27-28 -- Porky’s, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
July 3-4 — Henri’s, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
July 17 — Benefit concert for Henrietta Pettit, the Regent 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Also featuring
Avi and The Millbillies.
July 25 -- Island Casino, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
July 31—Aug. 2— Henri’s, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Kids Idol Camp
Raeann Phillips will teach a camp for kids 7-12 through Longview Parks and
Recreation. It covers vocal and performance skills. 3-5 p.m. Monday-Friday Aug. 17-21.
$45. To register, call 442-5400 or see www.mylongview.com/parks_rec.
Copyright © 2009, The Daily News All rights reserved.
unnown01 wrote on Jun 25, 2009 1:42 AM:
" Raeanne is wonderful to watch i try to catch her where ever she is she is absolutely in love with music
and there is nothing more amazing to see than a beautiful women in love doing what she love to do "
novoselic wrote on Jun 25, 2009 8:56 AM:
" People ask me how to "make it" in the music industry and what Raeann is doing is my answer - play,
play. play. I had success in the music industry and we practiced almost every day, we played live as much
as possible and finally - we believed in what we were doing. Good luck Raeann - keep up the hard work,
if anything, the reward is you're doing what you love. "
joe_l_paso wrote on Jun 25, 2009 9:43 AM:
" Raeanne is full of energy and her band is awesome!! Love dancing to her music!! Keep up the good
work! "
J. A. Long wrote on Jun 25, 2009 9:48 AM:
" Well, best of luck to her! It should be noted that the band that backs her is terrific and professional.
One of the bandmates, Rick Weiler, is not only a surperb guitarist, but a great guitar instructor in
Longview, helping kids and students of all ages excel. Best of luck to all of them! "
502 wrote on Jun 25, 2009 11:35 AM:
" It's really nice of Raeann to do a benefit appearance at the karaoke festival. I'm going to get tickets
today! "
Gondolapete wrote on Jun 25, 2009 11:39 AM:
" Very good!!...even at 43 I love to play, and make some good scratch doing it... " - The Daily News

"With Heavy Heart, Raeann Phillips Moves Forward With Music Career"

On Saturday, Raeann
Phillips attended the
memorial service for her
The next day, Phillips won
the Washington level of the
Colgate Country
Phillips said she
considered bowing out of
the Showdown, a national
country singing contest.
Her mother, Henrietta
Pettit, died Aug. 25 after
battling kidney cancer. She
was 56.
“I knew that she would
have wanted me to keep
doing my music,” Phillips
said. “I just felt peaceful,
like I’d come to a peace in
myself. You only are what
you are, and you can’t
change it.”
Earlier this year, Phillips,
28, decided to quit her day
job waitressing to focus on
her music and help take
care of her mother.
On July 17, Phillips gave a
benefit concert for her
TDN.com | With heavy heart, Raeann Phillips moves forward with music 9/17/09 5:56 PM
http://www.tdn.com/articles/2009/09/03/this_day/doc4a9ef9a159a1d487855816.prt Page 2 of 2
benefit concert for her
“It was so hard because she’d been in the ICU in Portland,” Phillips said. “I just want to thank
everybody so much for coming.”
Phillips and Marion Hale of Longview, who had both won local final rounds of the Showdown this
summer, competed in the Sunday contest at the Evergreen State Fair.
“That was the first competition my mom hadn’t made it to,” Phillips said, though her father, Ron
Pettit, heard her perform.
Phillips sang two original songs, including “Daddy,” an autobiographical tune about being a single
mother. She performed that tune in 2007 when she also won the state level of the Showdown, only
to lose in the regional event.
On Tuesday, Phillips and family members placed Henrietta Pettit’s ashes in a burial niche.
That night, Phillips was an opening act for country singer Blake Shelton, also at the Evergreen
State Fair, an honor bestowed because of her Showdown win two days earlier.
“My mom wouldn’t have liked it if I didn’t do it,” Phillips said. “She’s in up in heaven helping me out.
My mom had a lot of strength in her. I knew she wouldn’t want me to be sad.”
Phillips is taking a break for a few weeks, then plans to resume performing locally several nights a
week, both as a solo act and with her band, Raeann’s Groove.
The next level of the Showdown for her is the regional contest Oct. 17 in Coos Bay, Ore.
“I just want to keep pushing myself and challenging myself,” she said. “Your worth doesn’t depend
on whether you win or lose. Performing just reinforces your passion and determination for doing
what you love.”
Copyright © 2009, The Daily News All rights reserved. - The Daily News

"Star of The Small Stage"

Monday, March 1, 2004 7:49 AM PST
By Tom Paulu

Raeann Pettit Phillips has a dream: "If I could sing in whatever kind of band I
wanted to and not worry about money, I'd sing in an original blues band." But first, she has to pay her dues, and that
for Raeann means waiting tables, singing Top 40 tunes in bar bands and taking a
stab at fame by auditioning for "American Idol."
Five years out of high school, the 22-year old is in a band, a group of Longview rock veterans who are practicing hits that topped the charts before she was born. Last week, the other members decided her draw warranted calling the band "Raeann."
Singing has been a big part of this young woman's life, despite her shyness.
At Kelso High School, she said, "I walked out of choir because of a slight -- because I got to sing more than the others." She still appeared in high school musicals and sang at coffee shops. "I'm terrified of people, but I love singing," Raeann said. "Sometimes I ask why in the heck would I be doing this? You're up there ... and people are drunk and saying the rudest things. I guess I love singing."

By the time Raeann was 14, she was belting out "Me and Bobby McGee." "That's the first song
I sang when people said to me, 'You can sing.' " Ever since, the Janice Joplin version of the song has been one of her signature songs.
Since graduating from Kelso in 1999, Raeann has worked three years selling furniture and
later as a waitress at a downtown cafe, The Brits.
During that time, she fronted local bands Slim King's Carnival, Checker, Driving Rain and Pawn Shop Treasure.
"I grew and learned a lot singing at Bart's," where the bands were often booked, she said. "When I first started, I would blow my voice out in two songs. I've learned to pace myself a lot

Raeann Pettit Phillips smiles during rehearsal last week with her bandmates, who decided to name their rock band after her.

"better so I can keep performing."
She has a rich, sultry voice that moves easily through pop tunes. When she gets bluesy, yes, she can sound a lot like Joplin. The redhead also has plenty of stage sizzle.
"I've never seen anyone work the crowd the way she does," said Cris Carter, a drummer who's played in several of Raeann's bands. "Everyone loves her." Well, all except the judge for "American Idol."
Last September, Raeann flew to Honolulu with her then-fiance Chris Phillips to try out for the show that has launched finalists into the media limelight.

The Brits held a fund-raiser beforehand, helping to raise the $1,500 the couple needed.
"It paid for our whole trip," Raeann said. "That was encouraging, to realize how much faith the town has in me."
One of 1,500 auditioners, her turn came near the end of the two-day cattle call. She sang
snippets of "Me and Bobby McGee" and "I Will Survive."
"I probably sang for 45 seconds," she said. "When I started singing my song, someone came up and was talking to the judge and she wasn't paying attention. Then she said, 'You don't have it.' "
No chance to be insulted by Simon Cowell on national TV. And no chance to snag a recording contract.

Raeann said the hardest part was coming back to Longview and facing people who longed for
her to get a spot on the TV show. "To be famous is not the biggest dream of mine, but I think a lot of people would like to see that for me," she said. Her advice to others who might consider auditioning: "If you go there, your pride will take a big hit. You could hear people singing and they were great ... the guy in front of me was wearing a Winnie the Pooh outfit and he made it."
A few weeks after the "American Idol" auditions, Raeann was off to the finals of Party Tyme
Karaoke in Las Vegas. She had qualified in preliminaries at the Cadillac Ranch casino in

"It was fun. All the people sing," she said. "It was totally different from 'American Idol.' "
Her Party Tyme performance of "I Will Survive" was eventually broadcast on the E! cable channel one morning at 4 a.m.

Back home, Raeann continued her weekend gigs with Pawn Shop Treasure, which did Top 40
dance tunes at Girtle's in Seaside, Ore.

The driving got to be a drain, so she quit the Treasure in December and decided to take some time off from singing. But once you're plugged into the rock band circuit here, you're never out of earshot.

On Jan. 11, she and Chris Phillips, a sheet metal worker, got married. At the reception she saw some old bandmates -- and they were talking about starting a new group.
"I was trying to take a break from singing," Raeann said. "I took a 1 1/2 week break."
She started rehearsing a couple of nights a week with Carter, guitar player Rick Weiler,
keyboardist Gary Falter and bass player Gary Oldroyd. Last week was the first practice with
backup singers Jodi Fowler and Carrie Clark-Wengel.
The band will specialize in Top 10 hits from the '70s and '80s, Carter said, with a goal of
getting gigs with casinos in the Puget Sound area that pay $1,000 for a couple of hours.
Raeann, who wasn't born until 1981, has been cramming the '70s lyrics. "Every morning I walk the dike and say the words in my mind."
Practicing last week in a 10-by-10 foot space in the corner of a Kelso business space now
used for storage, the group ranged through "Hot Child in the City," "You're So Vain" and "Cut the Cake," a funk tune by the Average White Band.
The chorus goes "gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme that
"The words don't even matter much in that one," Raeann remarked after the song was done.
Amid jokes about the need for white go-go boots, she crooned "These Boots Are Made for Walkin.' "
Though other members had toyed with naming themselves "Simple Hits," they went with
"Raeann." "We like the name, and we all love her," Carter explained. "She has such a natural talent."
Raeann's sometime singing teacher, Sue Hinshaw of Longview, agreed. "The first time I ever heard her, I was just really impressed," Hinshaw said.
The former international opera singer said Raeann could be a stage soprano if she chose to.
"She has a terrific classical sound that most people aren't aware of. "According to Hinshaw, Raeann gets her distinctive pop sound from a fast vibrato, reminiscent
of the French crooner Edith Piaf.

And Raeann herself can't leave those blues behind. She said she wants to bring some bluesflavored songs like "Black Velvet" to the new band.
Her dream of a full-blown blues outfit will have to wait, however. Come June, her life will enter a new phase with the birth of a baby. Other members of the band plan to keep the group going until she returns.

The newlyweds are buying a house in Kelso, and Raeann has no plans for any more talent
contests. "I really am happy that I make money singing," she said. "Last year I made more money singing than I did at my day job. That was a really great feeling for me. I feel like I am living my dream. l love my life."
Copyright © - The Daily News

"Longview's Raeann Phillips Keeps Reaching For Fame"

By Stephanie Mathieu

Longview singer Raeann Phillips tries not to think of herself as a failure. The 25-year-old is more like the "little engine that could," she said Saturday, nearly a week after her third unsuccessful attempt to appear on FOX's ultra-popular "American Idol."
But she's making progress: This time she appeared on camers.
In Tuesday's Seattle tryout episode, a clip of Phillips exiting the judges' room is spliced into a montage of several rejected performers. As she leaves, Phillips tells the camera crew that she
apparently has too much vibrato -- a singing trait that garners local praise.
"I feel like I let the whole town down," she said. "You just want to forget about it."
The singer's first try on "American Idol" took place September 2003, when locals raised $1,500 to send her to an audition in Honolulu. Preliminary judges weeded her out before she could face the celebrity panel. She also got shot down at the 2005 San Francisco auditions. The third time around, she went to the September audition alone and only told a couple of people about it. Phillips made it past the first set of judges and sang Donna Summer's "On the
Radio" and "Longshot" by female rock band Antigone Rising in front of the show's producer.
She stood under a bright spotlight surrounded by camera crews and people scribbling about her on their note pads.
"The process is grueling," the singer said. "You see people crying. You see people getting
mad." Although the producer told her no, there are several avenues for struggling musicians aside from "American Idol," such as using Internet pages to build a fan base, Phillips said. She lends her vocals to "Raeann's Groove," a band that performs mostly on the local casino circuit. Locals have compared Phillips' fast vibrato voice to French crooner Edith Piaf. "It's easy for you to be well-known in this town," said Phillips. "Everyone's always been so supportive of me here."
She also has her hands full working as a waitress at The Brits restaurant on Commerce
Avenue and raising her 2-year-old daughter, Sydney.

If anything, "American Idol" gave her audition experience, and singing in front of judges made her less nervous to sing at local shows, Phillips said.
"I give props to everybody who gets out there," she said of "Idol" participants. "It's a wonderful dream that people in America could have."

Copyright © 2009, The Daily News All rights reserved.

TDN.com | Longview's Raeann Phillips keeps reaching for fame on TV show - The Daily News

"Longview Songstress On The Line Next Week"

Longview singing star Raeann Phillips will compete against seven other contestants next year at the state level of the 26th Annual Colgate Country Showdown.

Phillips advanced to the state competition after winning
the Longview Showdown sponsored by KBAM on July 2.
The Washington state finals of the Showdown will be held
at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Thurston County Fair in

Phillips will compete against winners of Showdown events
in Olympia; Wenatchee; Yakima; Asotin, Wash.; Lewiston, Idaho; Moscow, Idaho; and Sandpoint,
Idaho. After the Showdown contestants sing two songs each, headliner Trent Summar will take the stage.
Phillips said she'll do the same songs she did in Longview.
One is an Original, "Daddy." "It's about what it's like being a single mother with a daddy who's not there,"

Phillips said. "I wrote it a couple of months ago." Of the 30 or 40 she's written, "I'm most proud of that song," Phillips said. She'll also do a cover of Gretchen Wilson's "I'm Here for the Party." Phillips said Longview contest judges didn't grade her as high on charisma and stage presence as in other categories. "I forget sometimes that the judges have never, ever seen me before," said Phillips, who has a loyal local following. The state contest winner will win $1,000 and move on to the Country Showdown regional contest on
Oct. 13. The five regional winners compete in the national final early next year. The Thurston County Fair runs Aug. 1-5. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for seniors. For more information, call (360) 786-5453 or visit www.co.thurston.wa.us/fair.inn
Raeann Phillips will sing from 6 to 8 p.m. today during a wine tasting at the Monticello Hotel and from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15 and 29 at The Mansion.

Copyright © 2009, The Daily News All rights reserved. - The Daily News

"Raeann Sings Her Way To Regionals"

By Tom Paulu

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 7:03 AM PDT

Three Showdowns down, two to go.
Longview singer Raeann Phillips won the state finals of the 26th Annual Colgate Country Showdown, which were held Friday
at the Thurston County Fair in Olympia. As state winner, Phillips brought home
$1,000 and moves on to the Country Showdown regional contest Oct. 13 at the Mill
Casino in Coos Bay, Ore.
At the state sing-off, the 26-year-old Phillips beat seven other contestants. "I had an advantage in that I've been in the business so that I know that it's about putting on a
show," said Phillips, who has sung with Top 40 bands for nearly a decade. "I had practiced really hard and had a few little things that I added to the performance," she
said. She put on her glasses and wore her hair up while she sang an original song, "Daddy,"
an autobiographical tune about being a single mother. Phillips literally let her hair down for her version of Gretchen Wilson's "I'm Here for the Party." "I knew I had done my best, so it felt good," she said. Focusing on the Country Showdown has paid off for Phillips. Earlier this year, she tried out for "American Idol" for the third time, belting out a pop tune, but was told she had too much
vibrato. "My songs are country because they tell a story," she said. "My voice is a county voice. I've done Top 40 for so long I've leaned to manipulate it to sing whatever I want."
Phillips quest for the title of "best new act in country music" began last spring, when she competed in a preliminary round of the Longview showdown, which was sponsored by radio
station KBAM. She advanced to the Longview finals held the evening of July 2 at Lake
Sacajawea. That Go4th event had far more listeners than the 75 or so at the state finals last
Friday. Phillips plans to use her prize money to record a CD of her originals. She'll keep her vocal cords busy fronting the Top 40 band Raeann's Groove, which plays at casinos around the Pacific Northwest, with an occasional local gig mixed in.

Raeann Phillips' singing sent her from Lake Sacajawea on
Aug. 2 to the state finals Friday. Up next, Coos Bay, Ore.
Phillips plans to repeat the same two songs at the regional Showdown. The winner of that
event and four other regional winners will compete in the national finals early next year, which will air on national TV. Winning the national Showdown doesn't guarantee fame, though many country stars like Garth
Brooks and Sara Evans have been state or regional winners.
Last year, Hailey Stout of Clatskanie won the Western regional final and has since moved to Nashville to concentrate on her singing career.

Copyright © 2009, The Daily News All rights reserved.
TDN.com | Raeann Sings Her Way To The Regionals - The Daily News

"Local Singer Bows Out Of Competition"

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 6:58 AM PDT

By Staff

A tall, witty Montanan beat Raeann Phillips of Longview and five other acts at the West
Regional finals of the Colgate Country Showdown. Trevor Panczak, who grew up near Cutbank, Mont., won the event held in North Bend, Ore.,
on Saturday night. He'll advance to the national
finals of the showdown in Nashville in January.
Phillips competed in the weekend event after winning the Longview and Washington state levels of the showdown. She was sponsored by radio station KBAM.
"I feel like I did really good, but everyone there was really awesome," she said. "The guy that won was really great. He was quite a presence. He was really tall and really funny and witty." Phillips said 30 of her supporters drove down to southern Oregon to hear her compete. She plans on entering the Showdown again next year -- the man who beat her was the
Montana winner in three previous years. And she'll keep singing as a solo act and fronting the band Raeann's Groove, which will play
this Friday and Saturday night at Henri's in West Longview.

Copyright © 2009, The Daily News All Rights Reserved. - The Daily News

"Raeann Phillips Holding Benefit Performance At The Hotel Monticello"

By The Daily News

Singers often do benefits, but this one is particularly important for Raeann Phillips.
The blues/rock/country singer will do a benefit for her mother, Henrietta Pettit, who
is suffering from cancer, at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Monticello Hotel ballroom. Raeann will open with a solo acoustic set,
then play with her Top 40 band, Raeann’s Groove. A DJ will spin during band breaks. Donations are requested for Pettit, who’s
been hospitalized for several weeks. Concert tickets and other items will be raffled.

Copyright © 2009, The Daily News All rights reserved.
Raeann's Groove. Courtesy photo
TDN.com | Raeann Phillips holding benefit performance at Monticello Page 1 of 1
- The Daily News


2009 Destination Love Album available on iTunes, Amazon and CDbaby. In General Rotation at Jango due to national and international fanbase. http://www.jango.com/music/Raeann+Phillips?l=0 Also EP of "Daddy" is in GR for her songs "Daddy" and "Time".



Raeann Phillips is an American singer and songwriter who once heard, is not easily forgotten.

Her whimsical Pacific Northwest roots flow through her original music with a fresh voice filled with soulful ease. She is a consummate wordsmith and musician of first hand experiences and distant places travelled within her life as well as a longing of the unknown future.

As a solo artist, she can easily walk into a local coffeehouse or bar and the room immediately warms up to her after a moment into her first song. Her refreshingly approachable and easygoing stage presence combined with her vocal talents leaves the audiences moved.

Once she has left the stage after her last ethereal song the mesmerized audience realizes that they have just seen a major force in the Americana folk music scene.

More recently Raeann has won the 2007 and 2009 Washington State Colgate Country Showdown Competition and went to the six state finals in Coos Bay Oregon. She has also appeared on Fox's Hit-Series Show "American Idol". She has opened for Blake Shelton as a solo acoustic artist and also opened for 80's rock legends Joan Jett, Loverboy
and many others with her 5-piece band "Raeann's Groove".