Stephanie Sokol for The Pit Sports & Entertainment
The sound of Rachel and the Kings is a dynamic mix of alternative rock with a hint of country and a touch of symphonic soul.
Fronted by female vocalist and classically-trained pianist Rachel James, who encompasses the emotional and vocal capacity of Carrie Underwood, Haley Williams and Alicia Keys the Denver, the band formed 1.5 years ago.
“I started classical piano training at the age of 5 and had been singing for as long as my parents could remember me talking,” Rachel said. “I grew up singing in choirs and competing in piano competitions. In high school I performed a lot but I also listened a lot. Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Tchaikovsky and Chopin. If it was a good song, I loved it.”
Other members Dave Preston, Noah Matthews, Ian Short and John Powers are the “Kings”. The five artists have diverse music taste, with favorites including The Beatles, Bill Withers, Tori Amos and Jimmy Hendrix.
As Rachel put it, they all just love great music.
“This music is inspired from my own story and the stories of the people around me,” Rachel said. “The loves in my life have made a huge impact on my art. I want to write things that are good for the human heart or inspiring for the mind. I think you could call it indie-symphonic-pop-rock. But everyone has their own terms.”
“Not Giving Up,” from 2013 album “Tonic,” talks about pushing through and continuing on, even when the going gets rough.
“I wrote that song at a very dark time in my life, when I could decide to keep getting up, or just stay down,” Rachel said. “For my son, for myself, for my family, for my faith, I decided I wanted to get back up. I wanted to love others and I wanted to love life. It was my reminder.”
One of the first shows for the band was “Gimme the Gig II,” a competition that they were surprised and honored to win so early on. Since then, Rachel and the Kings have toured throughout Colorado, including opening for Third Eye Blind at First Bank Center.
According to Rachel, 2014 will bring big things for RAT Kings. New music will be released with collaborations that she is excited about. Listeners can look for a new track and headlining show in March.
“I hope they can take something with them. If they can see a part of themselves in the art, then I will feel satisfied,” Rachel said. ”It doesn’t have to mean to them what it means to me, just as long as it means something.”
Video for “Not Giving Up.”
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