With a powerful voice liquefied in soul, flavoured with RnB and packaged in pop, Rachel Jane is one of the most talented and inspiring young artists I have had the pleasure to come across in recent times. Having been reminded of her vocal quality during the Big Church Day In, I was delighted to hear that she was about to release a brand new EP. Now more than ever we need music that inspires, and Hustle & Hope does just that. Written at a time when she was ‘working hard and working late’ instead of being able to pursue her creative dreams as a singer-songwriter, her message is simple: don’t let the frustration of circumstance curtail the gift of creativity. Rachel Jane seems to have achieved this here, using her testing times as part of a process of inspiration for a set of songs that are catchy both lyrically and musically.
Her sound is very reminiscent of Dua Lipa and Mabel, though there is something about it that gives it a slightly different edge to that of these mainstream artists. I cannot quite put my finger on what that is, other than to observe some unexpected breaks and shifts in tone within each song that detail a level of intricacy which keeps the listener attentive throughout. The lyrics are also striking, their prominence at the forefront of every track suggesting a degree of influence from Nashville, where the EP was made. The record itself sits on the very outer edges of modern country, where the genre’s penchant for storytelling meets the commercial appeal of pop and RnB. Rachel Jane may not have deliberately positioned herself here; but she sits rather comfortably in this space nevertheless. Add in a bit of rap from the likes of Marc Jones (on ‘Working Hard’) and Joshua Luke Smith (on ‘My Way’) and it seems that straddling various genres comes naturally and is what produces such a likable and intriguing sound.
Hustle & Hope is a positive, life-affirming EP that speaks about life as well as to it. It acknowledges the hardship and frustration of the everyday but brings a message of hope that invites us to take on a different perspective and ‘find a way out of misery’. It is an uplifting soundtrack, perfect for the start of summer.
Click here to listen to Hustle & Hope on Spotify.
Click here to find out more about Rachel Jane.
Featured Image (C) Rachel Jane