Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Interview with Rachel Mari Kimber, Singer Songwriter

Rachel Mari Kimber is a folk singer/songwriter from the UK. She has been performing from a young age all over the world and I met the musician back in 2004 on stage in Toronto performing her music. 

Her vocals have a wide range and can stand on their own with no help of additional instruments. The lyrics come from a place of spirit, life experiences and a journey within. 

Like most artists Rachel has lived her life fearlessly and has embraced travel. Her sense of curiosity and laughter is contagious. She is the ying and yang embodiment in one container. One minute she is a chef with a passion for food and cooking, and the next you can catch her on a race track racing at full speed or on her motorcycle which she has used to take her around Europe on many delicious adventures.

This mother of one beautiful daughter, Jasmine, whom she shares with John Brand, lives near Sedona, Arizona one of the many places she embraces as her home. We now catch up with her to see how life has evolved over the last few years.

When did you start playing guitar or any kind of instrument? How old were you?
I was 6 when I started having 'cello lessons, as my Welsh coal mining grandfather played cello alongside my grandmother who was a piano teacher. He died around the time I was born, so I never met him, but was blessed with his beautiful French cello, and ability to play it.

I also dabbled on piano at that age, and around age 9 got interested in my dad's Spanish acoustic guitar so he showed me some chords. He didn't see his guitar much until I invested in my own at 16! In my late teens I got into percussion, and still aspire to learning drums one day. I started singing around age 4 but didn't really find my voice until my late 20's.

Would you say you come from a musical family. Can you tell us what it was like growing up in Wales?
I have always been surrounded by music, my dad a naturally gifted aural musician, singer and guitarist with both his parents steeped in Welsh harmony. My mum is a talented pianist, her father was a violin maker. She reached grade 8 as a matter of course and to this day remains humble about her wonderful sight reading abilities.

My sister Kath sings, dances, plays flute and composes in her band 'Lament' and my brother DJ Owain K, composes techno/ funk/ electronic music and both do gigs all over the place.

Growing up was an insecure time for me, my dad an Anglican priest, moved us all over the UK with his job around every 2 years. I often felt alone and desperate to connect. The friendships I made were uprooted and lost like I was. With the instability I abused myself with junk food, alcohol and unsavory relationships. It took me until my 30's to find myself, start healing and build self esteem. Typical artist really!

Like many musicians or artists you enjoy travel and exploring the unknown. When I first met you Canada had a strong pull on you. Now your in the heat of Arizona how are you settling into your new life?
As a nature lover, Canada was a dream I had since I was a child, from listening to Joni Mitchell sing "I drew a map of Canada, Oh Canada.." The pull is still there but life has other plans for me at the moment.

Arizona is proving to be a time of spiritual reflection and healing. So far it is surprising me with it's beauty and serendipitous lessons.

What was your favorite place you have lived in and why? 
Earth is my favorite place I've lived, because it's so forgiving, beautiful and eclectic.

I have an as yet unreleased song, written some time ago - the chorus goes: "Some say that home is where the heart is, I say my heart is in the sky.. Who knows where my heart is landing, Mine is not to reason why.."

Too many favorite places for various reasons.

You have been exposed to many talented well known muscians in your career. Who has influenced you the most and who have you met that has had an impact on you and why?  
Jimi Hendrix was my biggest influence growing up with a guitar to hand, but all music and sound my ears have heard have influenced me. Even the rhythmic spin of a washing machine, or the clink of a spoon in a mug of hot chocolate can brew a song. Some people dream in pictures, I mostly dream in music.

The talented artist, 'Seal' once complemented me on my guitar skills and asked me to play in his band on tour which had an impact on how I saw myself. The invite didn't evolve but the complement did.

I had the good fortune to meet another of my musical heroes, Sting.

I have long been enraptured with his compositions and life philosophies and surprised myself by being tongue tied face to face. Never before or since have I been lost for words!

How are you writing now compared to five years ago or even ten years ago. Life has changed what are your songs about now?
I have found that since having a child 5 years ago, all of my creative energy has been focused on her. I still get music in my head but not the time or space to fulfill it. I am making time to play now, and really enjoying it. I am rediscovering songs written years ago, and they still seem appropriate, timeless somehow. I am often taken back with some of the wisdom that has already occurred in the lyrics. If only I had listened to myself back then! Songs are definitely channeled through me, like any other healing art. I do need complete space and time alone to get into the zone... There often aren't enough hours in the day! I hope my writing will continue to evolve as I do.

Will there be any new CD projects. What do you plan on doing with your talent as a musician in the present moment and in the future?
I have plans to re-record some good mellow songs that got left behind, and also am slowly working on a spiritual faith album of which I have 2 songs so far. My challenge with that is to write about the beauty and empowerment of having faith, without referencing any particular denomination. Our creator has many names so like music, is happiest label-free.

I have recently met some local musicians and already had my cello out and done some singing, it's a good restart.

What is the most important life lessons so far that you want to share with the planet. Shaping your daughter's perception of life what is the most important thing you can tell her and anyone out there?
The sooner you come to know yourself in truth from the heart, the quicker you will find your life's purpose and peace. If you do to others as you would have done to you, love and respect yourself unconditionally first otherwise that could backfire! True happiness comes from within. Love yourself, forgive yourself, know yourself. Then you'll have heart for everything else.

If you lose in life, don't lose the lesson. It's OK to be different and it's OK to be the same. Remain positive.

If you show your children how to live, better as an example than a warning. Never stop enjoying free play, it keeps the spirit sparkling. Dance often.

Self acceptance is the key, and love is the answer. Appreciate all that you have, and all that you don't have.

Laugh until your ribs are tired.

Wow I could go on for hours! How do you edit these things?!!

Rachel we really look forward to having you come back to Canada in Toronto to perform again. I really hope to see you and hear you sing and brace the stage again.

Rachel will sing where she feels the need to with no agenda for the most part. You can hear her voice in the most humble places even a park, to a wider audience. If your sing, you sing from your heart and your allow your gift to touch everyone. That is how I remember her and I am proud to share her with all of you.

Visit Rachel's Website

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