Raquelle Blackwood is an indie-folk singer-songwriter from Rockwall, Texas. With a natural affinity and knack for the written language, she has always been drawn to emotional artists who dig deep into the human experience, such as Phoebe Bridgers, Gregory Alan Isakov, Sleeping At Last, and Bruno Major. This, combined with her lifelong passion for classical music and composition, creates a truly unique sound and versatility that commands attention. She has played with a folk-rock band under her namesake, Blackwood Row, for the past four years (you can currently find their music on Spotify, Apple Music, and most streaming services); however, her individual music takes a bit of a turn and explores deeply personal topics and holds nothing back. She looks forward to the release of her first self-released single in the March of 2020.
“Earth-Centered Sky” Interesting take as one usually thinks of the sun in the center ..
So, I understand that Earth-Centered Sky is kind of strange, and that’s partially why I picked it for the single, rather than “Crystalline,” or “You and I.” The song doesn’t trace a single storyline, but rather it is a collection of images, thoughts, and feelings about the state our world is in, and being a 20-something year-old within it. The line about the Earth being in the center of the sky is kind of a cheeky jab at the fact that humans are a bit self-centered. We often fail to realize just how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe; the Earth is the “center” of our “sky”/point of view.
How did you choose the artwork for the new single?
I love this question because I can give a shout out to a super talented artist! So I am a huge fan of twitter, and am involved in an artist group message on the site. There’s some digital designers and photographers on there so I decided to reach out, and Andrew Kaplowitz got back with me. I was playing around with the idea of using a globe and within a couple of days he had taken that shot and I immediately fell in love with it. I plan on using the same format for upcoming releases. His instagram is @kplwtz if anybody wants to give him a follow or reach out!
Will you be debuting the new song when you open for Marta Palombo?
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I’m not sure about my exact setlist for when I open for Marta, but “Earth-Centered Sky” will almost certainly be on there!
Writer’s rounds .. favorite to date?
Man this is difficult because it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite… but I played a round for one of my pals Autumn Buysse recently and I always loved collaborating with people around town so we’ll go with that!
Flamingo feet … to your own March release show … what’s in store for fans?
What’s in store for fans…well, that’s hard to say. I’m kind of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal, so I’ve just been writing as much as possible and focusing as much as I can on honing my craft. I am definitely planning a release show, but will have details for that as they come to me. As the funds come in, I will be working on new releases, and hopefully in a shorter span of time than this one. Ultimately, I would love to release an EP in the next year or two!
Reflecting back on memories of 2019 you shared that the year gave you your voice — what was the defining moment?
I think one of the defining moments of 2019 was towards the end of it. I had been going through a bit of a depressive phase, but surprisingly enough, writing that post helped me put some things into perspective. As I took stock of everything that had happened throughout the year, I realized that I had accomplished an incredible amount and cultivated relationships with amazing people. So I was able to turn the inner conversation from “why can’t I do anything right?” to “why have I wasted so much time worrying about the future, rather than living in the moment?” I decided to say f*ck it, and live life as fully as possible, without worrying what others are thinking about me. And honestly, my mental health has skyrocketed since.
How are you taking the lessons learned from the last year to shape the new one?
I definitely learned that our struggles/stressors are only temporary, and this year I’m using that information to deal with stress in a more healthy and positive way.
Your family — how have they influenced your music?
My family have definitely been my biggest supporters from day one. I’m always sending my songs to my mom and sister and they give me back real feedback. They’ve never sugarcoated anything with me and I truly thank them for that. They support all of my wins and hold me through my losses (however small they may be at this point), and are a safe place to land, always. I am forever thankful that I can share this part of my life with them.
What was your favorite class at Belmont University?
My favorite class at Belmont was one called “Networking in the Entertainment Industry” with Mike Cortese.
I always recommend it to my friends who are still enrolled. It’s about networking, yes, but it also is a great way to hone your social skills and really figure out why you’re in the entertainment industry. It’s super fun and you get to meet people in the class, rather than passively going through the motions every day.
Lead singer of Blackwood Row. When did the band get its start?
I started Blackwood Row in 2015, when we first started school at Belmont. I literally just made a Facebook post, and through a series of connections found the guys I currently play with. I love them to death, and we’re working on a rock set right now. They push me out of my comfort zone for sure.
First song the band released?
The first song we released was called “Louisiana Nights,” and it’s still on our Spotify. We submitted it for a showcase, and we decided to put it up shortly after.
What led you to perform as a solo artist?
I started performing as a solo artist because I began writing songs that were extremely personal. I would bring them to Blackwood Row and they honestly didn’t quite know what to do with them, because they were so different from everything else we had been working on. After I had written enough songs like this, I decided it would be a fun new project to take on.
Equal air play for women on radio — your take?
I definitely believe that women deserve more airplay. I sort of grew up and began to notice the patterns that have been set against women. Thankfully I feel like we deal with this less as indie artists, but I have been hearing more about it in regards to country music. I stand with the women who are constantly fighting to get the same recognition/support as men, and one of my dreams is to have a fully female-backed band/team.
If you could be guaranteed air play, which song of yours would you submit to radio right now that would most represent your sound?
This one’s really really difficult, because each song holds a special place in my heart (as cliche as it sounds). I guess I would submit “Earth-Centered Sky” because it was one of those songs that, immediately after I finished it, I had this gut feeling that I had to get it out there. That feeling is really rare, but I always like to follow it whenever it happens.
What’s something fun that fans will be surprised to learn about you?
Fun fact: I lowkey grew up on a farm! I say “lowkey” since we didn’t really sell anything or work off the land for sustenance, but we raised horses, donkeys, chickens, a pig, a goat, etc. We even had a pet monkey at one point….but that’s a different story.