Published on June 15th, 2013 | by Grace Elizabeth0
With many from BFT being involved in the making of Rachel-Yvonne’s recently released EP – King Of My Heart – we felt it was the perfect opportunity to find out more about who Rachel is, and what she is doing.
For those out there who haven’t heard of Rachel-Yvonne, who are you, when did you start singing and why did you decide to start making music?
I am 29 years old, and I have been singing since I was about 6. I live in Essex with my parents at the moment, my parents are pastors, so in the Church I got used to singing; even in front of crowds without realising I was doing it. I really loved music when I was little, my parents gave me singing lessons, and I learnt saxophone, as well as doing music theory. I really just developed a love for it, I didn’t just like it, I loved it, so when I was about 16 I decided to do it a bit more seriously: I became worship leader at my Church, started singing for money, and grew into it as a job.
In life, what are the most important things to you?
Gosh, the most important things to me are my friends and family, they pretty much give me everything I need in life. I think that relationships are really important, so I work hard to make sure that I don’t just pass my family and friends in the day, creating a deeper friendship and relationship as much as I can. I like to hang out with people a lot, but at the same time I do like my own company.
How has music been a part of your journey with God?
Up until about two years ago, music was probably one of the things that was keeping me in connection with God, my identity was really wrapped up in who I was as a singer, a keyboard player, or what I could do. Since then, I’ve been able to know that I’m not just a musician, I’m a daughter first and then I’m a musician. It has been a travelling journey for me, where you learn as you go along, but I feel a lot more secure in my relationship with Jesus now that I’ve come to the realisation that whilst music is important, really, it’s about relationship.
How would you describe your EP, ‘King of my heart’?
United Pursuit have got an album called Live at the Banks House, and my EP is that sort of style. It’s recorded in my living room, with a really real sounding acoustic style, and I find that the songs I’ve written work for personal time, congregational worship, and even if you’ve only got one instrument because the songs don’t require too much of a big band. It is for everyone.
So you wanted everyone to be able to listen to it, but who did you have in mind when you created it?
I wanted to create music for people who are looking for a bit of a different sound that they can still relate to. I wanted it to be really down to earth, and organic; just to sound real and intimate. There is a few mistakes on the recording, my voice cracked a few times, but we purposely left all of that in because we wanted it to sound like a real service: as if you had a worship time at your house.
What is it that you want to get across with your EP?
In Church, we don’t always talk about who we are as the bride and how we are models of Jesus, so I think I wanted to show the possibility of a deeper, and more intimate, relationship with God.
You said about United Pursuit, we wanted to know what artists, already out there, most inspire you?
Yeah, gosh, United Pursuit, I love them so much, they are probably one of my favourite bands. Love of Your Presence, on the EP, is a cover of a song by Bryan and Kate Torwalt, from Jesus Culture, they’re one of my favourites. I went to Bethel School of Supernatural ministry in California, so anything from Bethel Church greatly influences me.
You mentioned how you covered a track, do you write all your own music?
Mostly, I do. I love what is already out there, but I am developing myself as a songwriter. So although there’s one cover on there, I did write all the others are songs.
What inspires you for the lyrics?
Scripture, personal experiences, and things that I see around me.
With the focus of the first track on the EP, We Cry Out, being London we were wondering if London is a place particularly close to your heart and why that is?
My favourite song on the EP changes, but right now this is it. Bill Johnson says you should write about what you want to see happen in your city and make it a declaration. That really inspired me to write about what I want to see happen, I don’t live in London, but it is our capital city. There’s a part of the song that says ‘They will follow us in hundreds and thousands.’ This was about seeing the multitudes of people following, being part of, the Church, and developing their love and worship for God. I have a heart for this nation, and I want to see this whole country set free: our leaders, our government. There is a lot of unrest at the moment, especially after the murder of Drummer Rigby, and the BNP making a lot of noise at the moment. So I think that it is a really timely song for this season, and we all need to cry out that our nation will really see the heart of God, and follow it.
As a worship leader how do you keep going when you are struggling?
Recently, someone said to me, “Reluctant worship isn’t right.” However, I replied, “In a relationship, you don’t only do things when you feel in love.” Imagine if in a marriage, neither the man nor the woman did the washing up because they didn’t feel in love. The washing up would just stack up. You would do it because it’s right, not just because you have that feeling of love. Similarly, with Jesus, you don’t always feel that He’s there, but you have to know that He is, He said He will never leave, so either He’s lying or you just can’t feel Him right now: if you really believe that God is who He is, then you know He’s there.
I’ve found that when I’m not feeling His presence, and I’m struggling, it’s me, I’ve got to fix my heart, I have to put myself in a position where I know He’s there, and can feel His presence.
This month at Big Fat Toothbrush we are looking at hurt and pain, do you have any experiences related to this that you could share with our readers? How do you cope when you feel hurt?
The lyrics of You Alone, from the EP say, “When loved ones die without a cause, who will heal us? …When life is dark and full of pain where can I find hope?” I’m divorced, and when I was married we had a child, but he died. It was a time when all I could say was, “I know you’re here God, but I don’t know what you’re doing. You need to figure this out, because I didn’t do anything to deserve this.” Everything I went through at that time was really hard, I felt like God didn’t want to be near me, because if He did, why would He do these things to me? It is easy to feel like you’re a good Christian: you do and say all the right things, you’ve been brought up in the Church, and yet God is still punishing you, at least, it feels that way. But again, it’s about knowing, if it was just based on feelings, then I would never have talked to God again, because I’d have named Him a liar. I had to know in that moment that even though it might feel dark, and it might feel painful God was there.
Jesus felt pain when Lazarus died, it’s okay to feel pain; it’s a healthy way to express our feelings. When I feel hurt and I don’t understand where God is in a situation, I have to find Him, the Bible says ‘Ask and you will receive, knock and the door will be opened’ (Matthew 7:7). God is always around, but it is up to me to come to Jesus saying, “I don’t know what is going on, but I need you to really take over this situation.” I guarantee you He will.
Following the release of your EP, what are you doing? And what do you think is on the horizon?
I’ve got a few concerts coming up, and I’m working to promote the EP, I’m hoping to do a Church tour before the end of the year. I’d really like to be able to lead worship, teach about worship and share my testimony full time, and have a regular income, so that’s what I’m hoping and praying is on the horizon.
What would you like to add?
I hope that BFT’s readers really enjoy the EP. If there’s any questions feel free to email me, I’m always open for good talks and discussions.
Thank you to Rachel-Yvonne! She really is a remarkable singer, but on top of that she shared her experiences with such humility and true grace, we are excited to see where she is headed! You can find her at www.RachelYvonne.com or download King of my Heart on iTunes.