“You know Rach, I don’t think you should go to school this year.”–Not exactly words you would expect from your father. But, as Rachel Ferguson and her dad were wondering around campus the day before school started, that’s exactly what he said. And–that’s exactly what she did. She took the year off to work on her music.
It has paid off. Rachel’s song Joshua is featured as pop rock song of the week this week on GarageBand.com. Not bad for a 17-year old from Gatineau, Quebec. Rachel started singing lessons when she was eleven and has been performing ever since.
In 2004, Rachel was looking for local artists or band members to work and grow with. She placed ads in local newspapers, local music shops, and even in coffee shops saying who she was and what she wanted to do. After a few false starts, she became discouraged with the response and she used the internet to expand her search.
In 2005, she found producer Chris Landon from an ad he placed on the LA Craigslist. Together they have created Joshua, You’re Not Alone, Never Good Enough, She’s Always Out, I want him, and her latest: Throw It Away. Chris creates the instrumental track in LA and sends it to Rachel in Gatineau. Rachel writes the lyrics and creates the vocals and melody. She and her dad then record the vocals in their “garage” and send the results back to Chris to mix and produce the song.
Her “garage” studio is actually in her basement, and it is truly an interesting set up. “I have a hula hoop with a big thick blanket draped around it–a makeshift sound room.” Her sound-proof contraption is hanging in the stairwell and she uses equipment that they also bought off the internet. When everything is set up and ready, she steps inside and sings. Her dad is just a few feet away in front of the computer manning the recording software and engineering the tracks.
From this homemade studio, she’s not only recorded her GarageBand.com songs, she’s also recorded tracks for commercials, videos, and other creative endeavours. In her year off, she has a lot of opportunity for growth, experience, and exposure. She is writing and recording more songs, playing guitar, and attending various open mics in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Last November, she went to Toronto to meet with representatives from some major Canadian record labels. She definitely hasn’t been idle in her year off school. However, she could quite possibly become the next Canadian Idol–on her own terms.
Keep up the great work Rach. We’re rooting for you.