Name: RACHEL BEDFORD
Mission: TO CREATE EVERY SINGLE DAY, SHARE MY CREATIONS, AND HELP OTHER PEOPLE
One of my colleagues in At-Bristol mentioned a little while ago that his girlfriend was a musician and would be interested in having a feature on The Spiralling. It’s a pleasure to be able to write about Rachel, and I hope you enjoy reading about this very talented lady.
Rachel is 23, grew up in Herefordshire, and now lives in Bristol with her boyfriend. “I am a musician, writer, artist and all together creative person. I studied Art, Music and English at A level and went on to do a foundation diploma in Art & Design. In October 2015 I graduated with a Professional Musicianship degree from BIMM Institute Bristol, specialising in songwriting.”
Going back to the beginning of Rachel’s musical journey, there are many occasions which lead her to where she is today. “My first memory of singing in front of other people was when I auditioned for a part in the school play in year 4, which was completely unlike me. After that moment I guess I knew I had it in me.” She continued to push herself musically over the coming years. “I could so easily have stayed quiet in primary school, not entered the talent competitions in high school, not bothered with open mic nights after sixth form, and hidden my first few songs away in some secret diary. But, for reasons that still evade me, I didn’t. There is a little piece of me deep inside that keeps fighting and keeps making me be musical. I’ve tried to fight it, since not every performance goes smoothly, and not every new song is easy. But it’s good to look back on your mistakes, or older versions of yourself, and laugh at how different you were then, or how you reacted to what seems so insignificant now.”
Björk is Rachel’s number one idol. “I still remember buying ‘Debut’ from Woolworths. I’m not actually sure why I picked it up or where I first heard her, but I know I have loved her ever since. I love her music, the words she sings, the weird sounds (and instruments!) she uses, what she wears and her videos. Aside from Björk I could list my other favourite artists for days, but here is a taste (in no particular order): Kate Bush, Goldfrapp, Radiohead, Florence and the Machine, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Tori Amos, Benjamin Clementine, Alt-J, Bat for Lashes, Braids, Bon Iver, The Cinematic Orchestra, Pink Floyd, Rufus Wainwright, Susanne Sundfør, Beck, Jeff Buckley, James Blake, Grimes, Nick Drake, A Perfect Circle, Villagers and so many more! I am drawn to singers who have a strong, distinct and emotional voice.”
She is also hugely inspired by non-musical things. “I love nature: walking in it, learning about it, caring for it, photographing it, writing about it. I enjoy reading and watching films, which often inspire new songs. I also get quite passionate about world issues, such as poverty, homelessness, politics, the environment, and find I can’t really talk about these things very well, so try to let them out in a creative way.”
Rachel’s biggest struggles, which she’s still overcoming, are confidence and motivation. “People see me as shy, quiet, small, sensitive and do not expect me to be a singer with a strong voice. So perhaps part of my lack of confidence is overcoming the image I have of myself from other people’s impression of me… as well as my over-analysing mind! In the past I have also struggled to get things done and hand things in on time. I struggle to practice and stick to a routine. But recently I have learnt to forgive myself, love myself more, start organising and planning and just do at least a little bit each and every day.”
Sharing her work online is part of why Rachel creates. “I enjoy sharing the process and the outcome with other people, and letting them join in. I’m not great at collaborating, but I do love to perform with other people, and am constantly told that working with others is the best thing for your creativity. In my mission I also said I want to use my creations to ‘help other people’ – I constantly see so many problems in the world, and people in need, as well as people in a position to help who do nothing. I want to be able to use my music, art and writing to change people’s viewpoints, and use any money I earn/raise to help people in need as well as animals and the environment. Of course I know so many musicians and creative people have already realised this, and have made huge changes and helped many people, I just hope all creative people can follow in their footsteps.”
In the past few years there have been some great moments for Rachel’s musical adventure. “During my degree I had a lot of great experiences including recording some live tracks and an interview for BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester Introducing show. I also performed at 2000 Trees festival, which was great. I’ve got to work with a lot of fantastic musicians, learn from experienced tutors, perform in many venues across Bristol and record songs in professional recording studios. Alongside this, I guess every day is my greatest achievement, when I remember to just keep going and not put myself down!”
At the moment Rachel writes and performs as a solo musician. “My boyfriend Fraz is a drummer and we plan to form a duo very soon: vocals, piano, drums and some electronic twists. We have very similar tastes, and have also introduced each other to new music, books, films and other things. We met at university and have performed a few times at gigs/auditions/exams as a duo, which I really enjoyed.”
Rachel’s dream is to be able to release albums of her music, tour the world, and inspire people and keep creating. “In the nearer future my plan is: go to open mic nights regularly, email venues in Bristol and book more gigs, get in a practice studio and work with Fraz to make our duo a reality, write more songs, write regular blog posts, and keep creating every day! Even if it is one verse quickly typed into my phone, or one drawing in my sketchbook, or just a few sentences in my journal.” Rachel recently performed at an event I organised for The Bristol Cable at The Old Malt House, and she has a charity gala at The Phoenix Theatre in her hometown of Ross-On-Wye on the 29th of October. “My blog posts currently come out on Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays, which are the main place to learn more about my inspirations, passions and latest news.” You can find the link for her blog below.