A Chattanoogan, born and raised, Rachel Holder is really going places – literally. She has been all over the country performing and causing quite a stir in the music industry.
In her bold innocence, Rachel shouted out from her seat in the second row of a Vince Gill concert here in Chattanooga, “I know Oklahoma Swing – can I sing it with ya?”
Vince’s reaction was priceless and a million thoughts must have come to mind before he answered her.
Vince took a chance on Rachel; she approached the stage and sang the duet with him just like a pro. She was only 15 at the time.Rachel has met many fellow vocal artists in their celebrity. Her most memorable to meet was Dolly Parton, because Rachel holds Dolly as a mentor. “She is humble and gives back to the community,” Rachel says, “We are actually pen pals.”
Holder has been singing since she could talk and, like many country artists, she grew up in church singing with a love for gospel as well as the other genres that interest her today.
At 10 years old, Rachel met her vocal coach, promoter Elmer Cole. She cut her demo CD with him at Pyramid Studios here in Chattanooga. That was a five-song sample CD. “Dream” was the main song recorded on the demo that she sang around town.
When Rachel was 13, she and her family were vacationing in Pigeon Forge. While there, Rachel’s father, Greg Holder, had suggested that she try out for a show called, “Country Tonight”.
“I was their youth performer for the next two years. I worked until I was 15 and I did over 800 shows,” Rachel asserts.
How would a youngster handle being nervous on stage?
Rachel’s mother Regina played a part in her daughter’s confidence. “Of course, there will be a little bit of ‘excitement nerves’,” Rachel confides. “My mother and I always prayed before I would go on stage. Not so that I would do well, but we would just pray for others and that maybe I could be a light in someone’s darkness and that everything I do would glorify the Lord. I feel like I have Him holding my hand.”
On Valentine’s Day, she spent her time filming the video (also on youtube) of her singing Lady Gaga’s hit “Edge of Glory”. However, Rachel puts a country-pop spin on it; as well as taking it to a new dimension. She sings with no instruments whatsoever and she herself is dubbed into the video singing all four parts.
Rachel says, “We are premiering it as well as my new music video for ‘In Your Arms’ with CRS (Country Radio Seminar) in Nashville this week. We are real excited about it.”
Rachel and her band are on a radio circuit and have been in 40 states in the past year. One of her favorite songs to sing when she was little was ‘The Good Old Days’ by Karen Peck, a gospel artist.
“I like to sing gospel and country, I love all genres – I sing pop too.” Rachel also plays the guitar and piano as well as writing songs. She admits, “I just write whatever my heart feels that day… whatever comes over me. Last year, my goal was to write 365 songs to have a song each day. There were a few days that I missed, but I got most of them,” she laughs.
Kevin Moore is Rachel’s band leader, stage manager, engineer and producer. “Kevin will help me with some of the songs I write; we will sometimes arrange them together – I am really thankful that I have him in my life.” Kevin produced her Christmas album, which is due for release later this year.
In all of her travels as she sings across America, Rachel might sing her new debut single “Chocolate” hundreds of times. What keeps her from getting tired of it?
“Songs can become a routine but you have to always remember why you fell in love with the song. There may be days you don’t feel like singing it and you have to ask yourself ‘what made you excited about it?’ – and you just get it back.”
Her Country album “Unstoppable” – produced by Chuck Howard and Wilber Rimes – will be available in stores this summer. Rachel signed with Curb Records, which is the label that country artists Tim McGraw, Leanne Limes, Hank Williams and Trick Pony signed with.
Rachel refers to her entourage as her “team”. Bus driver Kari, Wilber Rimes, Kevin and her parents are constant travel companions. “I love to travel. I am very fortunate to be doing what I love,” she acknowledges.
Even though Rachel has been working since she was 13, she has managed to stay grounded and have fun, “One time, we decided to drive through a McDonalds backward. We ordered and everything – everybody was freaking out.”
Traveling and being in the country music circuit, Rachel is sure to meet other celebrities. After she had gotten up on the stage and sang with Vince Gill, he gave her a high five and told her, “You did Reba proud.” Rachel has met Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler and Dolly Parton, but one celebrity she would also enjoy meeting is Justin Bieber, “I’ve got Bieber fever!” Rachel laughs.
On stage, Rachel is fun, full of energy and sassy. She brings an audience into the experience with her.
Rachel has a way of expression and making someone feel what it is that she feels. Along with her spirited, peppy songs that she delivers, Rachel commands her audience with her soulful drawl such as her execution of “Crying” that Roy Orbison made famous – only… Rachel sings it in Spanish, “Llorando”.
Kevin Moore encouraged Rachel to try it in Spanish and Holder insists, “While you sing in another language, you have to bring more emotion to it in order to grab someone’s attention. You have to feel it.”
Rachel also puts emotion in her gospel singing – where she started. At Bayside Baptist Church in Harrison, Rachel is part of the choir and appreciates whenever she can be home and be a part of it. She belted out the song “Hand of Sweet Release” with the choir during a Christmas program a couple of years ago and there was an undeniable realm of emotions in the congregation, though Rachel humbly admits that she is only an instrument.
Now 19, Rachel has grown as an artist and a young woman. When you see her bright, shining smile it becomes infectious as you witness this stunning beauty – yet a down-home-apple-pie-sweetheart. She appeared on an episode of the “Sovereign Sportsman” television show, where she lugs in a 26-inch, 8-pound rainbow trout!
Sovereign Sportsman co-host Eric Richey called it a “Mack-daddy rainbow”. Though Rachel was weighed down by mounds of clothing which made her lose her balance while in the water, she still picked up casting right away. The boys of the show attest to Rachel being a person of many firsts.
Taking on a hunting trip with her daddy and snagging her first deer, Rachel seems fearless. There is no stopping her.
That is why it is fitting that her country album to be released this year is called “Unstoppable”.
What is next for Rachel?
“CRS is this week with the launch of my new single ‘In Your Arms’ – be sure to request it on your local country station. We will hit the radio circuit again and I will be traveling a lot in the next few weeks. I just want to go wherever God leads me.”
Listen for Rachel on your local radio station and visit her website as well as other links provided below on this up and coming sensational artist.
“Edge of Glory” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya8bTROCk88