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With her lyrically driven songs, Rachel McIntyre Smith’s comfort twang music reminds listeners of the classics while also adding a relevant and fresh perspective. Three Chords Country writes that her “flair for storytelling and her killer voice set her head and shoulders above the rest.”
Raised in the small East Tennessee town of Oliver Springs, Rachel began intensive piano training at 9 years old. She won the Tennessee State Piano Competition twice and earned the Paderewski Medal for Guild for 10 years of superior ratings in a row. This strong background of music theory allowed Rachel to excel in other areas of music. She taught herself ukulele and guitar and also served as clarinet section leader in her school band. Although she always dreamed of being a singer, her bashfulness kept her from singing in public until she was a junior in high school. She made her debut singing “Please Mister Postman” in the high school theater arts production of “Ducktails & Bobby Socks.”
From a very young age, her mother, an English teacher, encouraged Rachel to write. She recalls, “I was fascinated with rhyming and pretended to not understand it so my mom would keep explaining it to me.” Rachel won several awards for her poetry and even won a scholarship to college for one of her short stories. As Rachel progressed in music, she started combining her two passions of music and writing.
She went on to study Communications and Spanish at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. There she learned web design, graphic design, social media marketing, videography, and other skills needed in order to succeed in a world where all musicians have to double as content creators. It was there that she first heard the album Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves, which opened her eyes to the world of country music. “I felt like I suddenly understood the direction my life would take,” she says. She fell in love with Musgraves’s lyrical ability to turn a phrase, make jokes, and tell stories. This gave Rachel a foundation to start finding her own voice in songwriting.
Some of her first original songs were “The Kitten Song” (an ode to a rescued kitten) and “Miss Highfalutin” (a cheeky song poking fun at condescending people). Upon graduating from college, she compiled 13 demos of her original music and began sending them to venues. Due to the quirky subject matter of “The Kitten Song,” she became a regular performer at cat cafes. “It’s like playing a cozy house show with 30 or so cats,” comments Rachel. “It’s amazing.” In early 2020, she launched a concert tour of those feline-friendly venues.
Rachel began working with producer Dran Michael in the fall of 2020. Since the beginning of their partnership, Rachel has released several singles and is set to release her debut EP, Glory Daze, in the fall of 2022. After the title track, “Glory Daze,” went viral on TikTok, Rachel saw her audience double in a matter of days. People compared her songwriting to the stylings of country music legends, including Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, and Linda Ronstadt. One commenter even said, “Discovering artists like you is the ONLY reason I still have TikTok.” Through a combination of a fan-embraced hit song and Rachel's social media marketing skills, she has garnered over 400,000 impressions of her latest single and is looking forward to upcoming releases.
Glory Daze explores the uncertainty, nostalgia, and regret that comes along with becoming an adult and letting go of your childhood. Rachel says, “At the start of the pandemic, I moved back in with my parents. I saw all the people I had grown up with getting married and having kids. Meanwhile, I was sleeping in the same twin bed that I had slept in for the first 18 years of my life. I got lost in a feeling that I started calling ‘The Woulds.’ Would I have been happier if I had chosen a different path? Would I be better off if I had stayed in that relationship? In that process, I felt so many different emotions. I poured them all into this six-track EP.” With some poignant and some hilarious lyrics, Rachel pulls listeners into her headspace as she attempts to move into the next chapter of her life. Dran Michael’s impressive production skills set the scene with banjo, mandolin, three-part harmony, and steel guitar.
Her brightly colored style, smooth vocals, and small-town charm leave a lasting impact on audiences. Today’s Country Magazine states, “She has absolutely been turning heads with her incredibly witty lyrics and vintage vibe.” Rachel’s had the privilege to share the stage with some impressive names in country music, including Lee Roy Parnell, Larry Fleet, Paul Thorn, and Caleb Lee Hutchinson, who called Rachel’s debut single, “High School Reunion,” “Real country music, smart wordplay, excellently written and sung even better. 10/10”