Rachel McIntyre Smith is a singer songwriter raised in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. She recently released her single titled “Blue Hawaii”. Rachel previously released her first single “High School Reunion” in the fall of 2021. Earlier this year she released another single, “Baggage”. YEM was able to speak with Rachel about her writing process and if she will make an entire album. She also shared what is next for her.
Young Entertainment Mag: What was your main inspiration for writing “Blue Hawaii”?
Rachel McIntyre Smith: One night when I was out with my friends, I was sipping on a blue hawaiian when a guy ditched me for another girl. The next day, I jokingly said to my friend that I should write a song called Blue Hawaii and find all the ways to roast him through nautical puns. She instantly said “YES YOU HAVE TO DO IT” so I spent the rest of my day writing down beach puns and by nightfall I had it finished.
YEM: Who was this song written for?
YEM: Is it safe to say this song is based on a true story?
Rachel: It’s definitely based on a true story, but I threw in some embellishments just to give it some extra sparkle.
YEM: What was different about writing this song compared to other songs you’ve written?
Rachel: A major difference about writing Blue Hawaii was that I had the vibe of the song established before I had any lines written. I came up with the title first and knew that I wanted the entire story to be told through a beachy lens. Typically when I’m writing songs, it takes a bit of digging before I find the hook and vibe of the song.
YEM: The chill island vibe of “Blue Hawaii” is a bit different from your usual style, was it fun kind of exploring a different sound?
Rachel: It was SO fun. I’m a huge fan of The Beach Boys, Annette Funicello, and Kenny Chesney, but I’ve never gotten the chance to channel any of their island sounds until now. It took a bit of experimentation to figure out the direction that we wanted to go with it but it all started to come together when my producer got the incredible hawaiian lap steel guitarist Andy Ellison to play on the track. After we heard the lap steel, the rest of the instrumentation fell into place.
YEM: What is your writing process?
Rachel: First and foremost, it’s really important for me to reflect on a regular basis. I journal almost every day and make sure to go in depth with my feelings about my experiences so I can look back on it and draw lyrics from it. I also have a running list on my phone that I add to when I hear an interesting phrase or theme or mantra. When an experience hits me really hard, I sit with it and ask myself: What is the lesson here? What is relatable here? What is funny? What is a different way to look at this situation? Then I usually gravitate toward a specific metaphor to explain my story through. Once the idea starts rolling, I can’t think about much else until the song is finished.
YEM: “Blue Hawaii” is so well done, have you considered making an entire Hawaiian album?
Rachel: Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun making it, and it gave me ideas for more summer beach music so maybe down the road that will happen.
YEM: When is the music video coming out for “Blue Hawaii”?
Rachel: One of my favorite parts of releasing music is creating videos to go with it. I’m in the process of editing the lyric video and studio video right now. I think those two videos will probably be out within the next month. Not sure on an exact release date!
YEM: The song still has a country feel to it, are there any other types of music that you think you would work well with?
Rachel: With Blue Hawaii, I wanted to find that balance where it was still in the country genre but also had a lot of tropical sounds. Kinda like The Pistol Annies appeared inside of a Gilligan’s Island episode. Aside from country, I’m really inspired by music from Norah Jones and Etta James. I love jazzy melodies and piano-centric production. Piano is my primary instrument, and I’ve written several songs in that soundscape.
YEM: What’s next for you? Any big releases you can talk about?
Rachel: I’ve got plans for some more music, more videos, and a lot more shows! The next song I release is going to be a different mood from my past three releases, and I’m excited to share a different dimension of my music with my listeners.
YEM: You’re pretty active on YouTube, how has your channel helped your career?
Rachel: I love making YouTube because I feel like I can share more of my personality through my videos. It’s a space where I can share my music, but also let my listeners get to know me through vlogs and cover songs. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite platforms.
YEM: Has your YouTube channel been helpful in getting your music out there?
Rachel: Absolutely! It’s so easy to share my music through YouTube because everyone can watch videos on it. You don’t have to have an account and most everyone is familiar with how to use it. With my audience, it’s pretty split on who uses apple music versus spotify, but everyone uses Youtube so it’s easy to reach more people when I post a link to a youtube video. I have several fun videos up my sleeve that I’ll be posting soon- so stay tuned!