In part somewhat responsible for bringing house music to both sides of the Atlantic in the 80’s and 90’s, Rachael Cain, AKA, Screamin’ Rachael has spent more than two decades of her life as an integral part of the music industry. Having just released her new single, “I Am House”, she spoke to ThisIsTheLatest to share her career highlights, her advice for music industry newcomers and her thoughts on where she sees the music business going in the future.
TITL: For those unfamiliar with the name, or your moniker, who is Rachael Cain, aka Screamin’ Rachael?
Rachael Cain: I’m called Screamin’ Rachael because though I’m petite I make a big impact. When I enter a room I don’t even have to say a word but I’m SCREAMIN’!
TITL: Signed to the independent label Trax Records, you played quite a big part in bringing what is now known as House music to the masses in both the US and UK in the 80’s and 90’s. How big of a deal was and is that to you, both personally and professionally?
RC: I started out signed as an artist to Trax Records, but these days I am President. I was mentored by Sylvia Robinson, the woman behind the legendary Sugar Hill label. When you think about entertainers who run labels these days, they are all men like Master P, Kanye and Jay Z. But back in the day, there was Sylvia…and today, there is me! What I did along with a small group of friends in the 80’s and 90’s only set the stage for the amazing things happening today. I am truly living out my vision for my career and the label. I’m proud to say that though I faced a lot of adversity, we are right where we belong today.
TITL: Looking at the music scene now, did you ever think House would remain as popular, albeit maybe in smaller circles, as it is today?
RC: These days, House music is bigger than it has ever been! Just look around, it’s everywhere. It seems all the huge EDM DJ’s are now calling themselves HOUSE! We were just sampled by Kanye West. In fact, he and Drake had a major beef over our beat that made it into Rolling Stone Magazine! I always knew that House Music was very special, and I always believed that someday the world would appreciate its importance.
TITL: You released your new single “I Am House” yesterday. What’s the story behind it and why did you decide that now was the right time to release such a track?
RC: The project was done with Joe Smooth, and the idea between us simply flowed. Joe came up with the title and a banging track. We decided to tell our story about the house lifestyle that we live. We‘re truly blessed. Beyond that, our mission is to bring people together and that’s what the spirit of House Music is all about. At the same time it’s tongue-in-cheek and fun! That’s why I live for and love House Music!
TITL: Are there plans for a new EP or album in the works?
RC: Yes. Three years ago, I released a complete body of my work, “The Queen Of House” album. I’ve been putting together some great new work for the last year and a half, which includes collaborations with artists from the home of House in Chicago and some of my favorite artists from around the world. I am aiming for a spring release.
TITL: Any performances lined up you can tell me about?
RC: There will be pop up shows everywhere for “I am House,” including a Holiday fundraiser at Vaunt in Chicago’s Water Tower Place. We will keep you posted via our website. It’s always been a dream of mine to get into the movie business. So at the moment we are rapping up our fourth film in NYC with director Eric Rivas. I’m acting as well as putting together the soundtrack. You can catch our first three movies, The Vamp Bikers Trilogy, on most digital platforms right now, distributed through Sony Orchard, the largest distributor of independent films. After we wrap up the fourth film, Japanese Borsch, I’ll finish up my album. Then you can catch me performing at Midem, the international music festival this spring in Cannes, France to launch it!
TITL: Having been a part of the industry now for more than two decades, do you think it’s improved, gotten worse or are things the same?
RC: Change is always good. The minute we stop changing we are dead! The most important ability a human has is the ability to change and grow.
TITL: Could you pick the top three highlights of your career so far?
RC: There are way too many wonderful highlights, so I’m going to pick the top 3 that come to mind.
1. Performing at The Fauna Primavera Festival in Chile with Marshall Jefferson. And Robert Owens on the Trax Stage.
2. Recording “Our House is Funkdified” in the studio with the George Clinton, producing and directing the vocals. 3.
3. Singing “Give Peace a Chance” in Central Park with Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Bob Geldolf, Jackson Brown, Afrika Bambaataa and a host of others.
It all seems like one great big dream!
TITL: Would you agree that social media is having a vast impact on artists and their careers today and do you think that needing to be so socially connected is a good or a bad thing? How do you personally feel about the likes of Twitter and Facebook?
RC: Social media is both good and bad, yin and yang. I’m not great at it, I don’t have enough time for it, and frankly I’d personally rather be creating! But it really works well to break in for some people. I’m just glad I had history and credibility before it took over. Today people are judged more by their social media numbers than their talent. However, I really respect the rare breed that can be really talented and successful at social media at the same time.
TITL: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their way in the music world? What three traits would you say they need to have in order to just get their foot in the door of this cut-throat industry?
RC: Here are the 3 traits I consider most important to get into this industry:
1. Be strong and true to your soul.
2. Decide that nothing can stop you.
3. Believe with all your heart.
If you have any doubts, don’t pick this life.
Never do it for the money because there are lots of easier ways to make that.
If fame is the only thing that drives you, no matter where it gets you, you will be very disappointed in the end.
TITL: Given how much people’s tastes in music change, what kinds of music do you foresee people listening to – and how – and seeing live five, ten years from now, and do you think artists can and will keep up with the constant evolution that occurs in the business?
RC: Great music will always stand out. No matter what, a great piece of music will never lose its magic. How we will be listening and watching music is something no one can truly foresee, however I hope there’s a chance that we might go back to something more organic and live. However 3D holographic experiences are already part of the gaming aspect so who knows? I just hope we just don’t have things implanted in our bodies…
TITL: Finally then, having already seen numerous changes in the past two decades, where do you see the music industry going in the future and many years down the line, what would you want people to say about you when asked about your music and its place in history?
RC: The music industry is growing and changing every day, and I’m glad that I’ve never been afraid to grow with it and accept its changes. One day I hope people will be inspired by my life and say Screamin’ Rachael was really an amazing woman! I love listening to her sound and I really respect the fact that she helped to shape a genre that changed the world of music…her story gave me courage to believe in my dreams and myself.
Check out “I Am House” below and to keep up to date with Rachael Cain, visit her website or follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Billy Hess.