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Interview With Musician, Entrepreneur, and Teacher… Rhaelee!

30 September 2021

Rhaelee is a musician, producer, teacher, audio engineer, and entrepreneur. And somehow she still found the time to join us on the latest episode of the Sound Connections podcast! Her career has already seen her working with Prince, KT Tunstall, Andrew McMahon, Quinn, and more. We had a blast talking all about the songs that inspired her, how she approaches her work, and what music means to her.

In addition to Rhaelee’s music career, she runs her own company Androgynous Audio. She is also a teacher, sharing her knowledge with the next generation at the First Institute in Orlando. Listen to hear how guidance from her mentor pushed her into a career setting up hydraulic staging for large concerts and music festivals, why she believes she learns from all of her students just like they are learning from her, and why Captain and Tennille holds a special place in her heart (even if love ultimately didn’t keep them together).

Rhaelee on the Sound Connections podcast

About Rhaelee

Rhaelee is a multi-talented individual, working as a musician, producer, teacher, audio engineer, and entrepreneur. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with renowned artists such as Prince, KT Tunstall, Andrew McMahon, and Quinn. Beyond her music endeavors, she also runs her own company, Androgynous Audio. Additionally, she shares her expertise as a teacher at the First Institute in Orlando, where she imparts her knowledge to the next generation. 

Listen and subscribe to the Sound Connections podcast on your favorite podcasting apps including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts!

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Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Sound Connections. We sat down with Rhaelee this week and it was awesome. We got to talk all things staging, prints, music, content creation, teaching. Very informational, very heartfelt. It was great. I had such a great time talking to her and I hope you enjoy this Sound Connection.

Pat

Welcome to another episode of Sound Connections. We are here with Rhaelee. You do everything. You are a teacher, you are a musician, you are a producer. Let's start with a list of the things that you don't do. Can you juggle?

Rhaelee

You know, I'll try for you but I'm gonna say it's gonna look terrible.

Pat

Non-juggler. She's a non-juggler and owner of androgynous audio.

Rhaelee

Correct, yeah.

Pat

Okay, so I want to start talking about music with you first, and the first thing I want to ask, and this is a question you've been asked a million times, but I'm gonna ask it because I feel like I have to as a podcast host. What was the first song you remember leaving an impact on you?

Rhaelee

Oh God. “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain Antonio.

Pat

Ooh, good song.

Rhaelee

Yeah, that song was the first song that I felt like made me feel good because at the time, I was going through a lot in my personal life with just a lot of changes happening in my world, my parents were splitting so that was new for me. I was just like wow, you know, the dynamic here is changing. So, the song really hit me I think even more because the concept behind it, although I'm totally going to spill the beans here, they're not together anymore obviously.

Pat

That’s true.

Rhaelee

So, I don't know if you ever heard on the radio, I heard it randomly, how long ago is that? Like five years ago, four years ago?

Pat

Something like that.

Rhaelee

I was listening, I was like no, I'm like the most iconic song, that was the one that really hit me! And it also was the song that made me hang on to love, the idea of love even though I hadn't seen it pan out in my own life. So, that song for me is always, I think, going to be something.

Pat

What age did you kind of hear that? What was the age?

Rhaelee

It was a long time really because I still sing that song sometimes.

Pat

I mean it's still a good song.

Rhaelee

It's still a great song. So, for me the first time I had ever heard it I was probably maybe seven, eight years old, and I sang that song constantly with my mom. Just continuous.

Pat

Who were you Captain or Tenille? Which one?

Rhaelee

Oh, she would dress me up like her. She would braid my hair, put the overalls on me, the hat, like I would sing that. My mom was a big singer so she had a PA, a sub. She actually had a 12-channel analog mixer at one point where she had everything kind of hooked up and going. So, it was always around me even though I didn't recognize that I was gonna become such a huge part of my own life.

Pat

Was it kind of looking back on it? Was it something subliminally that you were like, “Oh I was I was destined to come to this level?”

Rhaelee

Sometimes I think about it now as a teacher and somebody that's building curriculum and writing this. I look back, and I'm like maybe that did definitely prepare me to be at the point that I'm at now. I think that had I not had it in my life at all or been so accessible to me, I wouldn't know half the things I know about the gear and the equipment I was around. I probably wouldn't be this into music because my mom threw every type of band at me that you could think of. Every artist. I mean she wanted me to sing everything, any genre. That's why now the music I create originally is multi-genre. It comes from a lot of different places. So that's just kind of the background of it I guess.

Pat

So what would you say was the first song when you heard it, and you went “I want to do this. I want to either create music or I want to help others create music.”

Rhaelee

Amy Winehouse's “You Know I'm No Good” was probably the first song where I was singing her voice because I would—basically I started off vocally just trying to replicate all these beautiful singers, male, female, didn't matter, Broadway, any type of background, it could be a different language also, I did a lot of different languages. So that was the first song vocally that I…she just made me feel something like listening to her tone and her voice because it wasn't…where she was singing from was somewhere that only she could get to, and I could tell because it was based on the experiences she lived. She was singing through her vibrational frequency of what her life is. So the things that she'd say and the lyrics that she sung and then the way that she would sing, the rawness in her voice was the thing that I think captured me the most. I mean “Valerie's” an iconic song, “Back to Black's” an iconic song. I studied those as well just because I loved her vocal stylings. Her as an artist I would say captured me. And then also her production crew and just the people she worked with. “How Rehab,” one of the first songs that blew up for her, started with just a tambourine and things like that where I just started to kind of get drug along into that, and how do you stop once one thing pulls you. And it was more than just Amy. There were so many cool artists that I was listening to. I mean I would say the Beatles were a huge inspiration. I would say Hendrix was a huge inspiration. Bowie, I mean there's tons of people to me that I look up to at this point that changed perspectives for me in music.

Pat

So when you hear anything Amy Winehouse does it kind of take you back to that moment or has it changed for you in the time since you first heard it to where you are now?

Rhaelee

I would say when I hear it now it definitely takes me back to certain moments that I've heard it before. I think music's funny in that way where it acts as a time capsule in certain ways where when you hear a song it can pull you back to that woman you were dating at that time you know or that game you're sitting at while you're watching your son run out on the basketball floor to that song. Like there's certain things that bring us to those moments. So yeah.

Pat

So how did you get your start once you made that conscious decision, and you were like “Yeah I want to do this. I want to create music or help others create music.” How did you start that process? What was your first, what were your first steps?

Rhaelee

Going to school for it. So I went to college in Minneapolis downtown called IPR, Institute of Production Recording, and I got two degrees there. The first one was studio production and engineering. Second one, live sound and show production. I felt they both kind of married each other in certain ways, which is why I wanted to do both degrees because I also recognized that live and studio as much as they have similar things they also have very different things too. And I wanted to know exactly what that was, so that way when I went out into the industry, I could pick you know and do the things that made me happy and be a part of the projects that I wanted to be part of.

Pat

So did you always know where you kind of leaned or was that something you discovered when you took when you obviously got both degrees?

Rhaelee

I think I didn't ever know what I was going to do. I just knew I loved to sing. The other thing that I knew was that I loved music because when I was thinking about where I wanted to go, I had originally started for psychology because I was always interested in the psyche and people—the way that people talk and communicate and have relations with each other. So I wanted to get more into that world, so I started going for that, and then I realized as I was going there was this talk that I had gone to, and a guy a—local guy—had come in and he was discussing all these things that he had done in his life, and he had said a few things that just changed my perspective. He said “There's only 20% of people in the world right now that are doing what they love,” and 80% is a huge number to me, it hit me that people are waking up and doing things they don't necessarily love to do every day, and what good is that to them or anybody else if they're just showing up for the paycheck? Because you're not putting in any extra, you're also not putting in the passion needed to drive it forward for anybody else that might want to do it after you or go further than you. So yeah I would say that that was the biggest thing for me that changed where I was going from psychology to all of a sudden thinking, “Okay what have you been doing your whole life that makes you happy?”

Pat

Was that an immediate transition or was that something you kind of you literally like?

Rhaelee

Immediate. The second I thought about that and the second I thought about why I was going for psychology and why I wasn't doing music, it seemed easy to me. It was like, okay psychology was something you thought you had to do because maybe yes you wanted to help people and that's a way to help people and that's a really beautiful thing too, but I think I wasn't giving myself the space yet to actually honestly look at myself and be like “What makes you happy?”

Pat

Well, and I think I think you can help people with music too. I think you and I were talking about it earlier before we started recording that it is something that can affect people in a positive way. The lyrics that you write down can mean something to you, but it can mean something totally different for someone else, and I think that you're still kind of in that business if that makes sense.

Rhaelee

Definitely.

Pat

Do you feel like there's any parallels in that in having initially wanted to do something psychological based and then moving on into the music space?

Rhaelee

Definitely. I've shifted into binaural beats, I've shifted into doing studying on a research with the way that frequencies affect the human body, the mind, our actions, all of that. Yeah I've definitely been creating music based around my own science. I believe we are scientists in our own right as sound engineers. I mean we're supposed to be pushing the limits of what we've done before, trying new things, creating new things. So yeah, I would say psychology's helped me in the studio, it's helped me in live situations to understand where people are coming from…really because some of that, like even talking about the way that we sleep at night and the way that we deal with stress and things like that. I never really quite understood how in-depth it was affecting our human bodies and the way that we do our day-to-day, the way that we talk to people and how open we can be to create because to be creative you have to be open, you have to be in a space where you feel comfortable with people that you feel like you can express around. All those things matter, so if something's off psychologically, then you don't get the results that you could have for a great session to happen. So for me I think that absolutely what you just said like nailed it. Psychology—and I never looked at it that way until you just said it right now.

Pat

Epiphanies. They happen right here. So did it take you a while to find that comfort? I feel like as someone who operates in a creative space it takes you a little while to find out what you're comfortable with and who you’re comfortable with. Did it take you a little bit to find your—I guess your groove?

Rhaelee

Definitely. I think starting off I was not comfortable even hearing myself being recorded. Hearing my voice was the weirdest thing for me. When I was getting my degrees, I would walk in, and I would have these ideas, and I would want to go create in the studio, and I'd get in front of the mic, and I would start recording, and I'd go listen back because I was working with you know colleagues and students, other students, and I would sit there and I'd just be like this is…no. Like you're just the hardest on yourself, of course, but it was the first time I'd really heard my own voice because it's different to sing. For me it was different singing live and then trying to sing like other people for so long to go and create something myself lyrically and record it and do all of that myself from scratch. It was just a whole different experience because I'd been used to trying to sing these other complicated songs from these other artists, and it was just unique, different, and it switched up the way my brain was thinking because I was used to one way of doing things.

Pat

Right, so when did that switch kind of flip for you? Obviously it was a gradual process and it doesn't happen overnight. How did you kind of condition yourself to flip that switch?

Rhaelee

I just kept trying. Really it was just not giving up on going into the studio and continuing to write. Also I just kept putting work in because if you're not going to go to the studio and sit down with a pad and paper or a digital iPad or whatever you need to write or to compose or to play, like get in front of a piano, bring in a musician, a session musician, whatever it is that you need to write the song or do the thing, I just kept doing that because I knew if I stopped that, then I wasn't going to have any results. You know, you can let your brain take over all you want but really good artists, they make a lot of music before, you know, sometimes maybe that's the first time they ever tried I guess. There's so many different things happening nowadays in the world. Some artists work their, you know, asses off to get to that point where they're pumping out music constantly until finally they reach that person or that audience that's right for them, and it pulls them into oblivion in a good way. And then there's those artists that might make that one hit sitting in their kitchen in Ohio with a laptop and a Shure SM7B, you know, because that's all they needed. So really it's circumstance, and I think that it just depends on the situation.

Pat

So would you say one of the best pieces of advice you could give for someone who's in that position is to just keep on it?

Rhaelee

Keep on it. Keep trying. Don't give up. And the biggest thing too is, and I would say the don't give up thing is cliche, yeah, but what are you doing day to day? What do you find yourself doing? If you've got another day job, let's say that you're doing right now to make ends meet, then what are you spending when you get home? Are you spending that time towards the things you really want to be doing? Like writing music? Or if you're writing music full-time, are you giving yourself that slot of time within the day to actually do it? To get it done? Because sometimes people I feel like have a hard time doing the thing I call schedule blocking, which is throughout your day, block off specific things that you want to fill your time with and do it. Set a reminder, set it on your Google calendar. It's super easy. And do it. Hold yourself accountable because...

Pat

Do you find yourself doing that now even more than when you were in school and doing things like that?

Rhaelee

I had a regular planner when I was in college that I would just write everything in it. I was a big pen to paper type of person.

Pat

That way too.

Rhaelee

Yeah.

Pat

Well, you retain it better. It's literally a scientific fact.

Rhaelee

It is. So everyone knows.

Pat

Science.

Rhaelee

Science. I did that. But now that I've got my company and the staging stuff too, I get a lot of calendar invites from people where it just happens to work easier for me to say accept, and it goes right into the digital calendar. Day to day there's just sometimes now with so much going on, the hustle and bustle, it's just worked out easier.

Pat

What about lyrics? Do you still do pen and paper for lyrics?

Rhaelee

No, I actually do voice memos. So I'm a vocal on the go type of person where I'll get random inspiration. Like if I got an inspiration, well no I probably wouldn't do it right here, but if I got an inspiration right now, I might just wander over around the corner, and just spit it. Yeah, I'm feeling something right now. I've done that before when I'm at, you know, a coffee shop or even at the college if I'm in between sets or in between something teaching classes, and I come up with something quick I'll just jot it down on a voice memo. It's easy because I can go back through the labels later and organize my creative ideas.

Pat

So walk me through kind of what your creative process would look like for a song that you were creating for yourself.

Rhaelee

From scratch? I'd probably start by, well usually I'd go off the thing they call that creative spark. That initial blow where you got to take a second to go figure out how to get this thing that's in your head out somewhere.

Pat

It's a horrible feeling but it's also a great feeling.

Rhaelee

It's great, it's riveting. You're just, I feel like I'm a feeling that's comprised of millions of feelings, you just can’t explain it. So I usually try to figure out either between my phone, paper, typing it even. Just anywhere that I can get the idea down. A lot of times, my melodies will start from just vocals or not even a lyric. It'll be like meh, like noises and things that I make with my mouth. Where I'll just kind of take that and go record it on the voice memo. Later I might use it, I might not. It could sit there for a year before I decide to use it in something. That's the other thing too. I just try to get it out instantly. And with that has created a huge vault of inspiration, of ideas that I can go back to. Same thing is true with Pro Tools Logic and Studio One sessions. I'll just pop open whatever DAW I'm feeling. A lot of times I like to go to Pro Tools because that's my fave. Pro Tools is probably my favorite DAW just because I've worked on it in so many scenarios. I like a lot of other ones. I've built projects in Logic, and I do a lot more mastering in Studio One because of obviously what it offers versus projects and songs. But with Pro Tools specifically, starting a song from scratch there, I'll just use my Nord Stage 3, and I'll just hook that up into my Apollo, and I'll either play organically using the actual sounds within the keyboard or I might use my USB and go in and just do MIDI. I like Artura's new Pigments. If you've heard of that, they released this new synth, and basically you can create any kind of sound that you want from this synth. It's just really cool.

Pat

It sounds like a very fun toy for someone who thinks musically.

Rhaelee

I feel like, legit, a kid in a candy store when I'm pulling that thing open. All the colors and everything, I'm just ready to go. You can change pretty much anything about modulation, the time lengths of things. There's lots of layers on the patch.

Pat

If you had to recommend a piece of equipment that someone should get, if they're looking to break into a space like this, and you were like, save your pennies, rainy day, this is what you should get, what would be the first piece of equipment you would advise them to put some money into?

Rhaelee

The first and foremost thing that anybody that wants to do any type of production work or at-home recording, even just music yourself, have a good laptop or a good actual system to run it on. You've got to have the specs. If you don't have the specs, it doesn't matter because your software is not going to work properly. You're going to get CPU errors left and right, and it's going to be frustrating for creativity. So yeah, definitely I suggest Mac for if you're doing like logic, pro and things like that. Mac-based obviously, DAWs should probably be revolved around Mac. If you've got a PC, cool, you can do pro tools. There's some hoops you have to jump through. ASIO for all and things like that for your aggregates and whatnot. Not a huge deal. You can still get things done. And then Studio One is good for both. So you can't go wrong.

Pat

Nice.

Rhaelee

Yeah.

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Pat

So moving on into the business side of things, when did you kind of make the commitment to like, “I'm going to open my own spot. I'm going to do this my way.” When did that kind happen?

Rhaelee

That happened in Minneapolis when I graduated, when I had gotten both my degrees, and I was finished. I actually asked a mentor of mine. I was like, his name is Peter Greenland. He was Prince's sound man for 12 years, one of his engineers. And I just went into his office one day and I was like, “Pete, I'm like, okay, I want to invest in something, but I'm not really sure what I want to do.” Because after college, I had been working really hard saving money. And I just knew I didn't want to necessarily go into audio gear. I didn't know if that was the right move for me to do investing in audio gear and renting out and becoming a rental house, things like that. And he was like, “No, he's like, don't do audio gear.” He's like, everyone and their mother has audio gear because he had been around just traveling and touring and renting things out with people. He's like, “Try staging.” He said, “There's these hydraulic stages that are starting to make the industry really easy when it comes to show setups. They're quick. You don't need a ton of people to run them. So when it comes to crew, you don't have to pay 12 men to go out and set up stage decks. You only have to pay you and one other person. And half of it's a machine. So you're, it's like playing a game boy. You're moving things up and down.” Yeah, that's right.

Pat

Game boy. Good stuff.

Rhaelee

So you’re moving things—

Pat

Gotta get the worm light.

Rhaelee

The lights. Oh my God. But yeah, so you move things up and down easy, and then you just have people kind of run on both sides and help you get the stage set leveled and all that good stuff. Then you bring it up 20-something feet in the air and sheet’s set. So really it's a pretty quick thing, but I wasn't expecting to go that route. That was just something that I had suggested to me per me going in looking for information.

Pat

Yeah. You were like, help me.

Rhaelee

Yeah. I’m like—

Pat

Point me in a direction.

Rhaelee

Yeah. Like I want to do something that I feel like is smart. Well, and it was smart. I went to Canada, I got certified. I brought a couple of colleagues of mine from college and got them certified. And then we came back and we started doing it around the cities, and I was making 40,000 a month with that stage. So it was not a bad investment at all. I was doing a ton of shows in the cities, had a lot of fun and then COVID hit, and it changed my life. And now I'm in Florida.

Pat

Well, welcome. I hope you're enjoying the thousand degree heat.

Rhaelee

I love Florida. It's been great, honestly.

Pat

So when did starting your own studio become a thing?

Rhaelee

I had always wanted that even before I went in to get my degrees. When I was growing up with my mom, just seeing her on her own equipment and being able to sing, set it up for whatever she wanted whenever. She had EQs on every channel for the 12-channel mixer. So before I even knew the technical terms, I was messing around with stuff, and I was like, “I just want this in my home.”

Pat

Just want to play.

Rhaelee

Yeah. I want to have the creative tools I need to be creative whenever I need. So that was pretty much I would say the whole idea. But when did I think it was going to be real? I didn't really know. I've always kind of had a small crappy little setup at home, right? Even in my apartments and going through college and all that stuff. But—

Pat

Recording the closet.

Rhaelee

The clothes or the isolation. You do what you need to do. But now that I have a home, and I bought a home and I moved here, I finally had the ability to say, you know what? Treat yourself right. Do something nice for you. Build it the way you want. So I decided to just do it, and do it right. And from there, honestly, I do see things advancing to a point where I plan on buying another building for my stage, and other things as well. So I think it's always good to have those forward projection moments where you're like, “Where do I want to go? Where am I right now? I'm grateful and thankful for that. But where do I want to go the next one, three, to five years?” So I always try to kind of keep myself projecting forward.

Pat

So was COVID actually a good thing for you?

Rhaelee

Beautiful. Yeah, I loved COVID because it made me stop for a minute and think about what I was doing and why. And it also made me really appreciate people because doing live shows, and that's what I did mainly before COVID, was a lot of live. And then at nighttime, I was in the studio. So for live shows, I was around a ton of people. And then the studio, I was around me and maybe two people, right? Like some of my close people. So very different environments. But to have that live environment ripped away from me really made me crave being around that again, because there's something amazing about getting people in a room, even in a studio situation, or live, and then watching the magic that happens when they perform together or when you're singing with that person, or even just to feel the music with, you know, people that enjoy the music with you. You just be in the crowd. I just miss that, you know? So I think COVID made me respect and appreciate people on a level that I wasn't doing before.

Pat

Is writing—not just lyrics, like writing music—is that something that's therapeutic to you? Is that something where you kind of get in a zone, and you can kind of forget all the things, if there's something bothering you, or if you're tired, or if anything like that, can you kind of get in a zone and leave outside, you know, things behind?

Rhaelee

Definitely. I would say singing and building a song from scratch or even just continuing to work on a song, even a score for a film, I could get lost in that stuff for hours. Even sound design, I love sound design too. So doing visual work, I was actually recently just working on a short film called More Human Than Black, and it's just, I created this really cool electric sound that delays and basically vibrates out throughout the song in different elements throughout this visual that you're seeing. And from scene to scene there's obviously different pieces, different S-effects, sound effects, and things that come in and out. Music bed changes. But yeah, I would say that recording a song from scratch and even lyrically speaking, as long as you're coming from a place where you are open. So we were talking about that before too. Just being comfortable in the space, and a lot of times I find that by myself. So yeah, I'll sit there for seven to twelve hours sometimes working on something, and I feel like no time has gone by at all.

Pat

When did you make the pivot to come into the teaching side of things, and how did that kind of come about?

Rhaelee

Actually right after I graduated and a little bit beforehand because I had started working at the college I was getting my degrees at my second semester there or my second quarter I guess you could say. I started doing these audiobooks for this children's company that was a couple floors above us. And so I was doing these audiobooks and voiceover work and then creating music beds for these audible children books. And that was a little extra cash for every recording that I did. And then outside of that, I was working at the front desk. I would cover for one of their worker’s lunches for the college's front desk for an hour, and I started just small things like that while I was getting my degrees. And then outside of that, I started working as a lab staff engineer for them for the college where I would stay. They had the studios open 24 hours a day downtown for students to use. So I was there. I was pretty much sometimes the only one that would be on site. Sometimes there'd be another person, but I would basically be in charge of running all the studios, and we had a total of about ten so I'd open up different studios for whoever's coming in for sessions anytime in the night pretty much.

Pat

And that kind of drove you into wanting to pass on knowledge and doing all these things. Are you excited to kind of impart wisdom onto the next group because you know the further along you can help them get in their journey the more they can learn? Or is it one of those things where you're like, “I want to teach you this thing, but you need to find it for yourself?”

Rhaelee

I would say I love teaching because for me as a teacher, I get to see so many different types of people at so many different places in their lives. Some of my students are fresh out of high school, some of them are coming in at 50 plus years old, and they want to start their own college or things like that. Like there's dreams that these people have that they're coming in to start with. So being a teacher, right off the bat, I know I'm dealing with people's lives, and so I just want them to find out in their life what makes them happy. Whether that be music, if it is music I'll do everything in my power as long as they're investing in themselves to help them get where they want to go in their career. So for me it's about knowledge is free. I'll give away whatever I know because everybody knows something you don't. So my students teach me just as much as I teach them.

Pat

I feel like that's a very teacher, my wife was a teacher for a very long time, and she just gave it up recently to continue on with a passion but that was one of the things that she had always said too was that giving information is free, and it's just how open, and that helps, would you say that that helps your students open up and get them to feel comfortable and then that kind of creates that that zen place?

Rhaelee

Definitely, I've had students—myself, I've had instructors in my past even at more, you know, when I was getting my psychology degrees and experiencing education in different environments, people I would notice that would try to withhold this secret knowledge sometimes. And it's like what kind of secret knowledge is there? Why is it so complicated for us as human beings to just be that vulnerable with each other as a teacher and a student because at the same time we're always going to be a teacher and a student even if you're like you're a teacher to so many people, I'm sure that you're not even aware of just by being day to day. So for me it's like we all are that, and the younger people that look up to us that's we're teaching them, and when they get to our places, and we're old and in the wheelchairs, it's going to be the same thing. So it's like if we just respect each other, and we continue to tell it like it is and be honest with what's happening in the industries and the changes that we're seeing, I think that education is going to get really clear. Hopefully more clear because education and technology are kind of moving as what I'm noticing hand in hand. The more our technology shifts, the quicker we're learning things because of the access we have to information.

Pat

One of the last things I want to ask you to kind of wrap everything up is what does music mean to you? And it's kind of a deep question, and it's kind of a very surface level question but I want you to take it as deep or as surface level as you want.

Rhaelee

Okay music means to me a lot more so than any type of definitional word that you could put on it. Even the word music to me doesn't explain what music is, and that's why I got married to it before I got married to anybody else because for me I wanted whoever I was going to be with to understand that music for me is a huge part of my life. It has been since I was little and maybe even before I knew or realized you know. It just felt like me. It felt right, and for some reason I do believe that what's meant for you will never pass you by, and music has never passed me by. I felt like it has clung on to me with both hands since I was here so.

Pat

And do you feel like you're where you're supposed to be?

Rhaelee

Yes I do. I feel like choosing what made me happy is what led that.

Pat

Was that—so in the moment when you made that decision, was that something that was easy for you, or was that something that took…like did you have to talk yourself into it? I know you said that it was a quick switch but was it something that was like “I'm going to go out on this limb,” this is a little bit insane.

Rhaelee

Being happy for me sometimes meant even having to choose music over a relationship you know. So when it gets to that level yeah. If you're going out into the world, and you understand that this is something that's very serious for you in your life to where if you didn't have it there, what it could do to your own happiness and your own self and what you give out to the world to not let other people kind of put what they want you to end up doing, you know, projecting that idea on you whether it be your parents, a partner, friends, doesn't matter. People that don't know you, they're just saying what they think you need to be. A lot of people, I think, have different views of what music is as a career. Some people do it as a side hobby, some people do it full time, some people think that that's just a hobby, and you can't make that a career, you know. There's a lot of different viewpoints out in the world, so for me, I just knew that I would never give up on that, and as long as I'm doing this music thing, which i feel every time I’ve said anything music-related or done anything music-related, it's come back to me in full circle more ways than…. At this point since I've seen it, I just know. When I was starting out, I was still scared which is where the fear comes in: that maybe I'm not going to be good enough type of thing. But at some point, you get past that when you believe in yourself enough times that it's just happening so.

Pat

So if you could look at yourself you could look at the little tiny tiny baby version of yourself now and and give any sort of insight—one sentence, one thought, what would you say?

Rhaelee

I honestly would just give her a hug. I wouldn't even say anything, I would just love that little Rae baby that I was seeing, because as a kid, I had a lot going on in my life throughout a lot of different transitions that really hurt. And so just to have the love that I knew I needed as a kid at that moment was all that I think would make the biggest difference. I wouldn't say that not having that at that time has changed me at this point because it's made me a very loving person, but going through life we all have our own experiences, you know, things that are our struggles and our story that make us us, that we had to become because we just aren't that right out the womb, you know. Um, so yeah I would definitely just give her a hug because we need a lot more love.

Pat

Well thank you so much for sitting and talking with me and and coming and hanging out on Sound Connections. Where can people find you musically if they're looking to get a little bit of insight into who you are as a musician?

Rhaelee

I'm on all streaming platforms I'm on Facebook, Instagram, uh you can just type in my first name Rhaelee, it's spelled weird so it's r-h-a-e-l-e-e and that's it.

Pat

Thank you so much again for coming and hanging out, I appreciate it, and uh thank you for listening guys we'll see you all back here next time.

Thanks for listening to another episode of Sound Connections brought to you by Mainline Marketing in Winter Park, Florida, we hope you enjoyed everything you heard. We hope you enjoyed this Sound Connection. Guys don't forget to like, comment, and subscribe if you're on Youtube or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. We appreciate it, and we will see you all back here next time.