YORK folk and jazz chanteuse, guitarist and illustrator Rachel Croft releases her new single, Deep Water, today as the third pick from her February 2019 debut album, Hours Awake.
“It’s about the delicate part earlier on in a relationship where you’re on the cusp of trusting someone and you know it could be serious,” says Rachel, 26, who has instilled fresh indie and contemporary production choices into the recording.
“The whole song comes together to effortlessly sit under imagery of long, chilled summer evening drives and warm, dusty coastal paths.”
Released on her Black Ink label, Deep Water signifies a lighter turn away from such Croft landmarks as 2017’s Only Dreams and We Are earlier this year.
“Generally acoustic in its feel, lacings of torn Telecaster riffs nod towards influences of Phoebe Bridgers,” says Rachel, who made Hours Awake with co-producer and fellow York musician Dan Webster at his Paper Plane Records studio from early 2018 onwards.
There she worked with such musicians as drummer Neil Scott, bass and double bass player Emlyn Vaughan, cellist Rachel Brown, keyboard player Karl Mullen, violinist Emily Lawler and Chinese synths player Dian Yu.
Rachel is instrumental in all parts of her music, from production to media, both social and old-school, everything down to the cover art, calling on her skills as a self-taught illustrator. “I painted it myself with watercolour, using paint gifted to me from the person the song is about,” she reveals.
Nottingham-born Rachel, who gained a first in environmental geography at the University of York, has built up a strong online presence, whether chalking up 148,000 views for some of her YouTube videos, attaining 5,000 followers on Facebook or building up a fast-growing subscription on YouTube.
“As a result, I’ve been able to almost entirely crowd-fund each of my releases, documenting my progress through vlogs for donators,” she says.
As an emerging artist on the folk festival circuit, Rachel has played Moseley Folk Festival, Costa Del Folk Portugal and Meadowfest. Until Covid-19 intervened, she was set to play Cambridge, Lindisfarne, Moonbeams and Wickham festivals, among others, after acquiring Apex International as her agent in late 2019.
Making her mark abroad too, Rachel has embarked on five solo tours of the Netherlands since November 2018, appeared on the Noardewyn Live TV show to boot. In July 2019, she debuted in Germany, playing in Cologne and further afield.
Looking ahead in the face of the pandemic’s stultifying impact on her 2020 diary, she says: “I’m now working on my song-writing and rebuilding plans for 2021. I hope to release at least a further two singles in 2021 and continue my European tours and UK festival appearances on their promising trajectory.”
To keep up with Rachel’s progress, visit: rachelcroftmusic.com. To chill out to Deep Water, go to: https://soundcloud.com/rachelcroft/deep-water/s-NzizC2CLQw7.