by Evan James Ceretti
Rachel Beck has had an amazing year in music — a cross-country tour, a successful debut album, a chart-topping single, a long list of award nominations, and more.
Beck grew up singing in choirs, playing in school band, and singing harmonies with her sister, Amy, which gradually produced the folk duo The Beck Sisters. In 2013, the duo threw a song into the CBC Searchlight competition and went on to become finalists, launching their careers as musicians. “I would say it started my career, it was really non-existent before then. It was a real wake up call in terms of just even thinking about there being an audience out there for songs that we were writing,” said Beck.
With 2013’s newfound success, Rachel and Amy played and toured from then until their last tour together in the summer of 2017, when Rachel decided to pursue her solo career.
Beck released her debut self-titled album in early March of 2018, and by then it was obvious she had created something powerful. Her single “Reckless Heart” debuted at #13 on the CBC Music Top 20 chart, moving to the #1 spot on March 8th (Amy’s birthday), and staying on the chart for six weeks with the top number of votes. 2018 was off to a good start.
In July, Beck released her second single “Hearts on Fire” and she was thrilled to learn that the single would also be used in a series of trailers for season two of CBC’s “Anne with an E.”
At this point, Beck decided to take a leave of absence from teaching for the 2018-19 school year. She already has a lot of shows booked for fall 2019, and music will remain her priority.
This past September, Beck embarked on a cross-Canada 24-show tour, starting in NFLD and traveling all the way BC. With fondness, Beck recalled gigs that had rooms full of people with lots of energy, as well as shows in the middle of nowhere with much smaller crowds. “I absolutely want to be on the road,” she said, adding that she needs to be strategic, as the balancing act of different lifestyles can be tough on her three children and husband Brad.
Beck usually tours with a four-piece band — including a cellist, bassist, and drummer — and tries to use an all-female lineup as much as possible. The Beck Sisters do still perform together, as Amy hops on the kit and plays drums for local shows if she’s available.
If you’ve had the pleasure of listening to Beck’s album, you’ll know as well as anyone else just how easily her vocal melodies can get stuck on repeat in your head, as you catch yourself whistling the tunes walking down the street. “I’m a melody writer, for sure. Often, I’ll find some riff or melody bouncing around in my head, and I know that if I can’t shake it I’m going to turn it into something. It always starts with a melody for me,” said Beck.
Beck’s most recent accomplishment is receiving a whopping 8 nominations for the 2019 Music PEI Awards, including songwriter of the year, entertainer of the year, new artist of the year, and album of the year. Music PEI Week last from January 23rd-27th, and Beck will probably be playing a couple of shows related to that. However, her next PEI show is at The Mack on February 23rd, and it will probably be her only full band show on PEI until next fall.
Moving forward, Beck is looking to start touring in Europe in the next couple of years, and will be putting out another record in 2020. In the meantime, look out for two singles to be released this winter — the first of which is an 80’s cover of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” which will be available on February 1st as a digital download only. *