Rachel Andes is a singer whose voice is like a teaspoon of honey with a splash of scotch. I were to try to determine the mixture that is Rachel Andes, I would say it is two parts Billie Holiday, one part Joni Mitchell, and one part Nikki Minaj. A show with Rachel is an experience, whether she is with her band or solo and as soon as you start talking about how much she reminds you of Nina Simone, you’ll realize she’s summoning her inner TuPac. As you can imagine, I wanted to find out where she came from, what makes her tick, and where she got the musical phrasing that any musician, regardless of instrument, would want to emulate. I’ll get right to it, where did you learn to sing? I’ve been singing and dancing since I was 3 years old. I was born into a family of per- formers. My grandfather was an actor and singer and he played opposite Lucille Ball in Wildcat, he was Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and he did quite a bit of film as well. His most known film was Clash by Night, by Fritz Lang where he played opposite Marilyn Monroe. My Grandmother was a dancer. She moved to New York to dance with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. My father was in a few rock and roll bands in the 60’s including Jo Gunne and Spirit. He encouraged me to sing at an early age and it is some of my favorite memories as a child. Singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow and When You’re Smiling with my father while he played guitar and performing with my brother are some of my best memories.
When I was 15, Randy California of the band Spirit took me under his wing and I began singing for him. We did a bunch of recordings and as we were set to tour Europe to promote his new album, he was swimming in Hawaii and was taken by a strong rip current and drowned. I was broken hearted but I continued to sing and act throughout the years. I attended Berklee college of music as a performance major in 2003 and in 2007, recorded my first EP. Everyone seems to notice that you have a voice that sounds like a woman who has “been there” how do you feel like your experiences have shaped your art? I experienced a lot of heartache at a pretty young age. My grandmother died of alcoholism when I was 6. My parents divorced when I was really young. My father suffered from mental illness and I watched him as he fought his demons and struggle to express himself as an artist. I’ve also had my fair share of demons and hardships and I sing for better days. I try to feel the words I’m singing and relate them to the experiences that I’ve had.
Singing has always been a form of therapy for me and the things I’ve been able to experience through singing have been amazing. The idea is that I’m turning these negative experiences into attributes by allowing the pain to come to the surface so I can finally heal. You seem to have a fair amount of visible ink. Are some of those life experience represented in those? All of my tattoos represent important events in my life, times of struggle and times of recovery. They also are tied to certain people in my life whom I love deeply. For example, the heart on my arm with the cir- cle around it gives me strength to live with my heart open, knowing that I will always be protected. As for the others, you can ask me at a show. If I were to press Shuffle on your ipod right now, what are the first three songs I would hear?
Nina Simone: Love Me or Leave Me. Cat Power: Metal Heart. Bob Dylan: It’s All Over Now Baby Blue. What does 2012 hold for the incomparable Rachel Andes? I hope to play out as much as possible, record an album, and plan a tour. WHO’S PLAYING DELRAY BEACH Here are my top picks for must-see live music in February 2.4.12 Arts Garage Urban Underground: Rappers Delight A History of Hip Hop Legendary Florida MC’s pay live tribute to the greats of hip hop and close with some new classics of their own. Accompanied by the 7 piece Arts Garage House Band. Tickets at ArtsGarage.com. 2.10.12 Arts Garage Heart For Recovery Fundraising talent night I love supporting up-and-coming artists and this will be the night that the best young tal- ent comes together for a night of awesome performances! Come and vote for your favorite and support a great cause! 2.11.12 Hurricanes The Justin Enco Band Clean, acoustic and real is the best way to describe their sound. They give me my old- school Dave Matthews fix, but in their own way! 2.14.12 DADA Eric Jaffe For an interesting night out on a night where many like to find some romance, DADA, as usual, offers you a break from the norm. Order a personal song to be sung to the one you love or just be entertained by Eric Jaffe as he sere- nades the crowd with his unique sound! 2.17.12 Bull BarThe Three Amigos Jam to your favorite song by one of the most talented and original cover bands around (and yes, I realize the irony of what I just wrote). Wednesdays Johnnie Browns The Flyers Shredding guitar solos and passionate vocals. This trio knows how to do classic rock right! Drew Tucker is a percussionist and the founder of Tucker Music Academy in Downtown Delray. Connect with him at @TuckerMusic101