Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?
I’ve just released a new album called Encounters of the Beautiful Kind – it’s a solo piano album that I wrote during the first year of being an expat in New Zealand, inspired by the ups and downs of being a stranger in a new country. It’s soulful, emotive, and will take your heart on a journey in a way that you may find surprising for solo instrumental music.
What’s your favourite work at this point in time?
Probably my single Luminous, from the new album. The music came to me while scuba diving in New Zealand, and I pushed myself creatively and physically to make this piece really encapsulate that feeling of weightlessness, beauty, and majesty.
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
There aren’t any recording studios specializing in solo piano here in New Zealand, so we decided we would record Encounters of the Beautiful Kind ourselves, at home on my Yamaha C7 (which is a great big concert grand piano). It was quite a wild ride, going from knowing next to nothing about recording to recording an album that is drawing rave reviews about the piano sound quality. We recorded the whole album on a pair of Rode NT1 microphones (hooray for Aussie ingenuity!), spending weeks tweaking mic placement to make sure we had it just right and understood how little changes could make a big difference to the sound. There was one point at which we just COULDN’T get the sound right, we’d spent a full workweek making test recordings and making tiny little adjustments to the microphone placement. We were finally so discouraged and close to giving up, I called my buddy Mike Bloemendal for help, who is a mad-talented sound engineer and advised us through the whole process (and mastered the album!). It turned out we had a simple setting incorrectly configured in our recording software, and if we’d only asked sooner rather than stubbornly trying to figure it out ourselves we could’ve saved ourselves that whole crazy week!
What, or who, inspires you?
Natural beauty and adventure are my greatest inspirations, as are travel, and experiencing diverse cultures. I am inspired by the kindness and beauty we human beings can show each other, and the depth and complexity you can find in a relationship between two people.
How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
My music is like a delicious wine! Lots of things to find in it, hints of this and that, delicate and well-balanced, and experienced slightly differently by each person.
Which song do you wish you wrote?
King of Everything, by Sara Bareilles …or Coin Operated Boy, by The Dresden Dolls
But I’d better stick to my own genre, in which case….Cristofori’s Dream, by David Lanz.
What’s next for you?
I’m headed to the US to tour Encounters of the Beautiful Kind in July and the beginning of August, and then it’s back home to New Zealand to record a spooky EP to be released in October for Halloween.
What’s your scene?
A chill house party with board games, craft beer, and dear friends.
Rachel LaFond is an American composer and pianist who is currently living in Auckland, New Zealand. Her stunning debut album Wandering Soul released in 2017, inspired by the rich experiences she collected during a year spent traveling the world. This album put Rachel on the map, earning silver medals from Global Music Awards (Emerging Artist and Best Album) and making a splash on multiple New Age radio charts. Rachel’s music combines a technically proficient approach to composition with an instinctive ability to convey profound emotion and draw the listener in. Her second album, Encounters of the Beautiful Kind, released on June 1.
For more information: www.rachellafond.com/about
US Tour dates:
13 July | House Concert with Joseph Akins & Rhonda Mackert at the home of Rhonda Mackert in Gig Harbor, WA
14 July | Concert with Joseph Akins at Stage 7 Piano, Kirkland, WA
15 July | Concert with Joseph Akins at Classic Pianos, Portland, OR
16 July | House Concert with Joseph Akins at the home of Kathy Parsons in Florence, OR
20 July | Concert with Lynn Tredeau at Classic Pianos, Denver, CO
21 July | Concert with Lynn Tredeau and Adam Andrews at Graner Music, Colorado Springs, CO
22 July | Concert with Lynn Tredeau and Kathryn Kaye at Boulder Piano Gallery, Boulder, CO
26 July – 1 Aug | Concerts in Texas, TBA
5 Aug | House Concert with Greg Maroney at the home of Greg Maroney in Harrisburg, PA