By KRIS HILL
Covington Reporter Assisitant Editor
August 3, 2010 · Updated 2:02 PM
Garth Brooks taught Rae Solomon everything she knows about performing.
In a manner of speaking, that is, as budding singer Solomon “wore out my DVD player” watching live concert videos of the country legend to take her stage skills to the next level.
Solomon, 23, grew up near Enumclaw and now lives in Maple Valley. She released her first album, “The Long Road From the Emerald City,” in June and since then things have really started rolling.
She wrote her first song at the age of 7, and as a child Solomon declared to her mother, “I was going to be on country music radio.”
Solomon said, “I’ve been singing forever. It’s just always in my blood. I wasn’t like other kids who changed their minds a bunch of times.”
As a former rodeo queen in Enumclaw, it makes perfect sense that her first single is called “Country-Fied Chick,”
and it’s already getting air play on Seattle’s biggest country radio station, The Wolf.
Though Solomon doesn’t like to put herself in a box, country music is just part of the fabric of her musical sensibility.
“That’s what I grew up listening to and that’s what I love,” she said. “When I write and create, that’s what it comes out as... it’s just who I am. You have to do just do what you love, write what you want to write ... let people classify it how they want.”
She points to artists like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as being influential growing up as well as Brooks, whom she said she idolizes.
Before recording her album, Solomon had written a couple of songs and recorded some demos, so she took a hiatus from performing this past winter and focused on writing songs.
She went into Rain Storm Studio in Bellevue with a bunch of songs.
“I ended up self-producing the album, which went awesome, so being in the studio I really got to get my hands dirty,” she said. “It was a really great stretch and a push for me. It was awesome for me to grow as a musician to write and produce the whole thing myself.”
Shortly after that, Solomon worked with students at Tahoma High in Rick Haag’s video production class to film the music video for her first single, with the help of some professionals so the students “got to help out on that and learn from the pros.”
“I just last week signed with a management and A&R company (artist and repertoire company), so, that’s really exciting,” she said. “The next step now is putting together showcases for labels.”
She also recently completed Music Business Master’s Certificate program through the Berklee College of Music, something that she hopes will allow her to have more control over the path her career takes in the future.
“I had gotten a few offers a few years ago from different producers,” Solomon said. “I knew what I was doing musically, but I was getting contracts and I didn’t know if it was good or if it was bad and I didn’t like that feeling. I learned so much and I feel so much more confident in what I’m doing. It was definitely a big step in the right direction.”
Though Solomon said it may sound cliche, she hopes a year from now to be well on her way to a blockbuster music career, eventually complete with Grammy awards, sold out stadiums and everything else that comes with it.
“I really want it all... but that won’t happen in a year,” she said. “Hopefully in a year, we’ll be signed with a label that is super excited about our music. Hopefully releasing an official debut album and ... touring across the country. That’s the end goal — create music and be who you are and do what you want to do.”
Right now, though, there will be plenty to keep her occupied.
“It’s going to be really busy between performing and traveling back and forth (to Nashville, Tenn.) and writing,” she said. “I’m really excited to see what the next few months are going to bring.”
For more information on Rae Solomon go to her website.
Her new record is available at a number of online retailers such as iTunes and Amazon.com.
Here is a list of Rae Solomon’s upcoming performances in the region
- July 31: 8:30 p.m. at Lake Wilderness Golf Course, 25400 Witte Road S.E., Maple Valley, 98038
- August 6: 6 p.m. Issaquah Art Walk, Old Shell Gas Station on Front Street, Issaquah, 98027
- August 7: 1 p.m. Puyallup Music Festival. Private Event. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for ticket information.
- August 8: 2:30 p.m. Seafair, South Lake Washington
- August 13: 5:30 p.m. City of Enumclaw and King County Fair, Enumclaw Expo Center, 1339 Griffin Ave Enumclaw, 98022
- August 14: 9 p.m. Performance Grill, 1525 A St. NE Auburn, 98022
- September 22: 7 p.m. Puyallup Fair, on the Showplace Stage w/ Aces Up, 110 9th Ave SW Puyallup, 98371