The world of independent musicians is vast and with an ever-changing musical world comes an ever-increasing variety of genres and artists. Heather Brockell, otherwise known as Heather Rae, is one of them, bringing her unique style of alternative pop music to Nashville County and North Dakota hotspots.
Heather has already appeared in our Studio 701, performing her latest hit. But this is just a song from her discography. At the time of writing, she has released 3 singles on streaming platforms, with more on the way. Heather was born in Minot, but she has since moved to Nashville to pursue her thriving music career. Earlier this year, however, she returned to North Dakota for a series of tours to Fargo, Bottineau, Williston, Jamestown, and Minot.
An appearance on 701 isn’t complete, however, without a visit to the Green Room … and while we missed Ms. Rae on set, our digital correspondent managed to contact her prior to her last ND performance of the tour to respond to some questions.
Q: How has your tour through North Dakota been so far?
“It was incredible… I mean, I was born here! We’re conducting this interview from my childhood bedroom in my parents’ house – I’m with them this summer, so it’s super fun. I love spending time with them and seeing old friends and family again. It was a great experience.
These tours and singles may be new, but Heather’s journey with music – and finding her own style – is a long time ago. She has been involved in music since the day she was born … literally.
Q: What first inspired your love of music?
“I don’t really have a specific point where it all started. Both of my parents were musicians, so I’ve been around music all my life. The time I started doing this as a job was when I graduated from college and started singing and skating on ice shows. Things went on from there until I decided to start making my own music. “
Knowledge of her Nashville experience can come as a slight shock to those familiar with both Heather’s music and the typical country sound expected of the Tennessee capital.
Q: Can you describe your musical style? What exactly is alternative pop’?
“Honestly, if you could tell me, I’d appreciate it! Gender is an interesting thing as it is difficult to position exactly what qualifies as a certain style. Alternative pop, to me, is a bit like pop music, but a bit more out of the box than typical pop sounds. It can be many things … Billie Eilish is considered alternative pop, for example, or mixes of rock and pop count. To me, as I describe it, it’s like pop, but a little heavier. It’s a very broad section, and since I feel my music can be a bit broad too, I thought it suited my genre perfectly. “
Q: As far as music genres go, you currently reside in Nashville, one of the largest country music venues in the United States. Are there any challenges that come with abandoning the idea of the country of Nashville in alternative pop?
“I went to Nashville specifically knowing that I am not a country singer because he is known for another important thing in the music industry: writing songs. That’s one thing that country does really well … they really focus on the song, and that’s something I really love, and that’s something I wanted to improve on. Also, there are so many qualified people there… I got to meet so many people I worked with on the songs. Sometimes it’s nice to be in a country place and not play in the country. It helps you stand out a little bit. And I think there’s a lot more pop in Nashville than people think. “
Heather’s song library is much larger than the songs she posts on the Internet. They often have to go through its rigorous screening process before making it to the World Wide Web.
Q: How was the public response to your singles? What’s your process for choosing which songs to release?
“I don’t usually record a song and post it on platforms until I perform for a while, and when I record songs, they are based on two main things. The first is how they are received during the shows. I pay attention to what people seem to connect with. The other part is what I mean as an artist: the things that are important to me, which I mean. The process seems to work, though: I’ve gotten good responses from people who listen to my music and even better when I play it live.
Even when not focusing on public performances, Heather is actively interested in music, especially theory and education. On her website, Heather advertises her services as a piano teacher, whose lessons include vocal training, sheet music reading, and even the ability to play by ear. Lending a hand in teaching the next generation of musicians, she claims, is also a great way to get them involved in music in one way or another.
Q: How does teaching impact you?
“I think one of the biggest ways teaching impacts me as an artist would be to be able to be with people who are new to music and fresh in their excitement. It really helps, because it reminds me of how I felt when I started. It’s easy to get cynical and all involved in the rat race, and teaching helps bring me back to the early days. I guess you can say that he agrees with me.
Q: What is your favorite part of teaching? Does it help with your performances?
“When you get involved in those silly things, being able to sit and play on a C scale with someone who is brand new really helps bring perspective. “
While her North Dakota tour is over, this is hardly the end of Heather’s plans at the moment. She already has another project to announce, coming up, and she will be working on more songs and tours in the future.
Q: What are the prospects for your musical career?
“I’m doing another single out on September 2nd and throwing a release party in Nashville to celebrate. Not an album: those take a lot of time and money. “
We at KX Newsroom wish Heather Rae the best in her new release and look forward to seeing her on her next visit to North Dakota. For more information on Heather’s plans, visit her official website.