The East London newcomer making R&B to soothe your soul.

We first met Rachel Foxx at an intimate secret gig held by Tommy Jeans and Sofar Sounds last month, where her set stunned the entire Regent Street Hilfiger store into a captivated silence.

Born and raised in East London, the singer-songwriter has spent this year establishing herself at the forefront of the next wave of UK soul and R&B, blending influences of ultimate divas Erykah, Sade and Jill Scott with her own distinctively rich vocal.

“If I do this for you, what you gonna do for me?” she demands in her latest single “Give To Receive”, an ode to knowing the worth of her own time and energy: “And you want my attention, but baby I don’t even know your intentions” (too relevant, 2018…)

We caught up with Rachel to talk quitting her retail job, new music in the works, and never performing in heels again…

So you’re from East London – do you think the area has influenced your sound, look, attitude and artistry? How?
Yes! I’m in love with where I’m from, I definitely think it helped with shaping who I am and shaping my art. East London is a very diverse place so I think I grew up with an open mind, as well as an eclectic ear.

When did you decide to do music as a career? What made you decide to go for it?
I always wrote music when I was in school; sounds and words just come into my head. I was literally writing from when I was 6 years old. I decided to go for it when I got tired of working all these mind numbing retail jobs and leaving after 2 months.

What musicians and genres have influenced your music?
My favourite artists from the UK are Floetry and Sade. I’m really influenced by soul music, I also love Erykah and Jill Scott, Donnell Jones and Jon B. I love soul infused with jazz, and hip-hop.

How would you describe your sound?
Soulful R&B with influences of hip-hop.

What about your style and visual identity as an artist?
My style is comfortable, I like being comfortable. I wear a lot of sneakers – I always perform in sneakers. I performed in heels once – it was a show in Rome and I tripped over a little bit. I was like: ‘never again!’

What’s “Give to Receive” about, and what inspired you to write it?
I wrote “Give to Receive” with Jerome Thomas, a talented singer-songwriter from London. I thought the concept was so relatable – the song is about holding your love in high regard; it’s basically saying what do I get in return for loving you? What are you going to do for me?

Do you write lyrics from personal experience?
Yes! I also take inspiration form other people’s experience, friends or family.

You were fab at the Tommy Jeans x Sofar Sounds event the other week – what do you feel when you perform live?
Thank you! I feel excited, it’s when everything comes to life.

In other interviews, you’ve said it feels empowering when people know your lyrics and sing them back to you. Can you tell us about a standout moment this happened and what it was like?
My first ever headline show in London. I was really taken aback by how many people knew my lyrics, knew my songs. It was really beautiful. That was a big moment for me. Also one of my first headlines abroad in Copenhagen – people really shocked me, how much of the songs they knew. It was a really special time.

So you’ve got an EP coming out in March. What’s inspiring those songs?
I talk about life, love, happiness, sadness, all my emotions. On the next project I want to go back to my older style, organically writing songs in my bedroom with no pressure.

Who inspires you in your life?
My friends and family are so inspirational, I have some really strong people around me who encourage me to be a go-getter and go for what I believe in. I’m so inspired by the people I keep around me.

Where do you want to go as an artist from here? Any collaborations or projects in mind?
I have some collaborations in mind, but that’s for the future. As for now, I’m really focusing on writing. I would love to write for other people as well.

Where do you want to be in 5 years time? What does success mean to you?
I want to be touring my music, making music, developing further, basically what I’m doing now, but on a bigger scale. Success means different things to different people.

Santi De Hita
Rosie Byers

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