Rebecca Helmer
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Rebecca Helmer

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Entertainer Capturers Ears and Hearts of PDX, Northwest"

In the capricious music industry, there is no welcome mat for an unsolicited aspiring artist. To keep up with Rebecca Helmer, you would have needed to start singing at an early age, mastered a musical instrument shortly thereafter, and all the while flexed your creativity with songwriting. This woman's going places. Since the self-release of her first CD last year, Helmer's reputation has been spreading throughout the Pacific Northwest with performances in Portland, Eugene, Corvallis and Seattle.

When she's not traveling between weekend performances, you'll find her mulling over new lyrics in her Corvallis home or in a classroom working as a substitute teacher.

Without exception, it seems that Helmer has always been on the path to fame from singing as a young girl, to modeling as a teenager, to performing at Portland International Airport, where she caught the ears of representatives from Star Search. Born and raised in Eatonville, Washington, Helmer acquired her musical prowess early. My family has always been musically inclined, she says. Since I was a little girl, I'd sing in church and in the school choir. One day I picked up my dad's guitar and decided to learn how to play. Eventually I realized that I could write songs to play on the guitar and that's when my performances really took off.

At first, Helmer confined her ambitions and talent to the coffee-house circuit in Puyallup, with street performances in nearby Seattle. It was in Seattle that a chance encounter led to Helmer's marriage to husband and now manager, Ethan. I couldn't resist her, he says. She's amazing. She's so talented and so gifted. Being her manager helps me feel important in some way, contributing to her success. I believe in her--when she makes it big, Rebecca will be a great role model to strive to be like.

In songs that have been likened to the timeless messages of Joni Mitchell, the melodic lyrics of Jewel and Sarah McLaughlin, Helmer relies upon her life experiences and her recent marriage as primary inspiration. Helmer wrote Waiting My Whole Life, available on Helmer's self-titled CD, released last year, for her husband in honor of their wedding. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted her to sing it, put it on her CD and share it with the whole world because it was so special, Ethan says. But, I think of it more as her sharing
a beautiful thing. Since its release, Helmer's CD has sold over 1,000 copies. With her only compensation being validated parking, Helmer agreed to be part of the entertainment lineups. Singing at PDX was a very welcoming experience, she says. People that were complete strangers felt the urge to tell me that my music was good to hear. Employees said that I put people in a good mood before they got on a plane. The employees supported me a lot. I'd love to perform there again.

During each two-hour performance, Helmer and her husband sold nearly 30 CDs. In previous interviews, Helmer expressed her excitement at seeing hundreds of passengers traveling across the country, to Europe and Asia buying her CDs. Helmer's performances at PDX had a much more profound impact on many. Rebecca probably didn't notice people's reactions to her music, but since I was off to the side while she was singing, I could see them laugh and see them cry in the middle of the airport, Ethan says. Her music has that effect on people.
During her performances at PDX, Helmer's music drew the attention of several influential contacts, including representatives from Star Search. Although Ethan stresses that nothing has been set up as of yet, Helmer hints that an appearance may be in the distant future.

On the tails of her success at PDX, Helmer's talent was quickly picked up by KLSY in Seattle, for their Ultimate Idol contest in early May. Submitting a 30-second audio byte of her singing, Helmer was voted by listeners to perform live in Seattle for a chance to win $5,000 and a trip to Hollywood. While Helmer's loss was disheartening, she fondly recalls the experience. I was on a big stage in front of hundreds of people, she says. I would look over and see people singing along with me, getting into the music I've never had an experience like that before. Helmer was, however, able to make a contact with
a representative from a major record company, one of the contest's judges. In the long run, I'm going to have to make many, many contacts in order to have something happen, she says.

Rebecca is in a really prime time, Ethan says. She'd be perfect for a record company to just snatch right now. For one, she's written her songs. Those songs have been tested by all her fans. She plays her own music. She is beautiful she'd be a great catch.

That's why he is my manager, Helmer says with a bashful smile. Helmer believes keys to attaining a record contract will be perseverance and patience. Citing the doggedness of the aspiring Norah Jones, one of her role models, Helmer recognizes that the road to fame is a long one, too hard to endure for many. I need to be patient and realize that fame is a long process she says.

Inspired by many artists that have broken through the door of the music industry, Helmer stresses the role of personal and musical integrity in her aspiration for a record contract. Watching the success of the first season of American Idol contestants, Helmer considered auditioning for the second, until she grew increasingly aware of the commodity of image the high-rated rags-to-riches contest was promoting. I realized that they were really
auditioning to be molded into something, molded into a pop star singing other artist's songs, not their own, she says. I want to use my music and my image to get there.

With fans impatient for a second CD, venues eager to book her performances, a husband who adoringly manages her, a wholesome image similar to Faith Hill, and her drive to succeed in light of the daunting road ahead, Helmer may have all she needs to put down her own welcome mat and step through the door to music fame.

- PDXaminer, By Jenny Wolstenholm


"Rebecca Helmer: New Talent in Town"

A combination singer, songwriter and guitarist, Rebecca Helmer is originally from Washington. Now she and her husband and manager, Ethan, call Corvallis home. They were married in June of 2002, an event (and relationship) which several of Helmer's songs celebrate. Others of her original tunes are based on various experiences, memories and people. Some ditties are sheerly fictional, imagining an event from someone else's perspective. Once the topic is chosen and lyrics composed, Helmer deftly plucks out plaintive melodies on her acoustic guitar.

Helmer has recently made appearances at Piazza Cafe on Monroe Avenue, as well as Border's Books & Music on Ninth Street and the crowds have been impressed. At the Borders show, Helmer's freshly produced album sold out. Songs on her debut, independently recorded and self-titled album include "If you ask me to" and, a personal favorite, "Think again." Each track boasts Helmer's clear voice, which soars seemingly effortlessly. Completing and complementing is the guileless, gliding guitar. With uncomplicated music and a winning openness, Helmer's shows are delightful, albeit too infrequent. Keep your eyes peeled for her next appearance and enjoy local talent while it's here.


- Barometer, By Rosina Busse


"Rebecca Helmer ceases to solo"

Band spotlight: Singer-songwriter Rebecca Helmer

Her music: Rebecca Helmer, a Washington native who’s now based in Seattle, WA., has been performing since her early teens as a solo musician. “I sang and played the piano since I was very young, and I discovered I could write my own music as a young teenager, and taught myself to play the guitar,” she said. With influence drawn from musicians such as Sarah McLachlan, Alicia Keys and U2, her work is in the genres of pop, folk, and blues. Her songs are drawn from life experiences.

Helmer recently started recording with a live band for the first time in her career. Though she is sharing her success with the rest of her band, the experience has enhanced her performance. “Forming a band brought out a whole other side to my music. Having a group of people grooving together on stage in perfect pitch and timing is a beautiful thing.”

Her goals: Helmer has moved far beyond her coffee shop gigs, and is performing at venues such as the Edmonds Arts Festival, Oregon State University, and Experience Music Project. She sees larger venues as a chance for her to overcome her previous comfort-zone restrictions about playing smaller venues. “My manager is seeking full concerts, festivals and record deals. I love seeking bigger, better, more publicized events. I would much rather play for thousands of people than just a roomful.”

On making it in “the business”: From her perspective, Rebecca notices that being successful in the local music business doesn’t come easily. The supply of musicians tends to surpass the demand for music. “If there is one thing I have learned from performing, it is that breaking into the music business is a nearly impossible feat. There is no recipe for success, and there are so many roads to go down without knowing if any of them will lead to success.”

See her next: At the Experience Music Project on April 7. In addition, you can see her compete in a contest on “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV. The contest will air on March 21 at 8 p.m., and will include 35 local performers.

For more information: www. rebeccahelmer.com
- The News Tribune, by MONIQUE LETOURNEAU


Discography

Rebecca Helmer - Intrigued

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Rebecca Helmer – Song Writer, Vocals, Guitar, Piano
A singer her whole life, Rebecca began penning music at an early age. After picking up the guitar as a teenager, she set out with her new found passion; putting to music and performing her inspired and craftily written songs. Now those songs and many others have developed into Rebecca’s own style of pop rock with soul. Her voice is also what sets her aside from all others. With perfect pitch and control, her clear, refined vocals deliver hook lines that remain with listeners long after her songs have been sung. Rebecca has performed acoustically throughout the Northwest for several years. She has captured the eye and ear of many in the music industry including Roger Fisher (the founding guitarist of Heart), who recently co-produced Rebecca’s new album “Intrigued.” Since recording this album and releasing it in early 2005, Rebecca has moved from being a solo artist to heading a full performance band. She has welcomed their amazing talent and influences into her music, which makes for an incredible show that is best described with one word: goose bumps.

Forrest “Gooch” Richardson – Drums & Percussion
With a disciplined passion and energy behind the drums, Forrest earned various traveling Vegas and Broadway show drumming jobs at a young age. These included Les Miserables and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He has also performed with country Hall of Famers such as the late great Conway Twitty and with such jazz luminaries as Allen Vizzuti & Jordan Roush. Recording sessions with various artists have included everything from simple jingles to yodeling records. Forrest has a unique ability to groove gracefully while adjoining soft percussion nuances. His influences include Steve Gadd, Billy Cobham, and his friend Billy Ward. Gooch is a University of Washington graduate and cancer survivor after a six year battle. When not behind the drums, he can be found sailing in the San Juan Islands with his wife Peggy and daughters Gloria and Donna.

Steve Paul – Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar
Steve Paul also began playing guitar at the early age of 13. With extensive private guitar lessons, he devoted his attention to mainstream rock, top 40 and classical arrangements. Over the years, he has continued to expand his musical knowledge and talent by studying guitar harmony theory and performing for more than a decade with a variety of musicians from Salt Lake City to Hollywood to Seattle. He played for several years with groups such as progressive rock group, Myndskape, the rock band Callus, and Seattle based hard rock group Erybis. Steve also has studied Audio Engineering and is an accomplished bassist and drummer.

Mark Reed – Bass Guitar, Piano, Backup Vocals
Born in El Paso, Texas, Mark began tickling the ivories at the age of five years old and has pursued learning and performing music in various forms ever since. While serving as a missionary family in Panama, his father bought him a guitar when he was 12. While in Panama, he played the cello with the Youth Symphony and later was the pianist in his high school Jazz Choir in Washington, attending several statewide festivals. He also played string bass with the Everett Youth symphony under the direction of Dr. Paul Elliot Cobbs. Mark picked up the electric bass in 1996 and began playing in several cover bands until joining the up and coming rock band, Inergroove in 2000. Mark enjoys the bass work of many players, such as Sting, P-Nut (311), Flea, Paul McCartney, Les Claypool, Marcus Miller, and especially Victor Wooten. Mark is a loving husband belonging to Sherry, and father of two precious daughters, Rhiannon and Avalon.