Uniting six languages in ribbons of mesmeric melody, 2012 Finalist of The Voice Rachael Leahcar has Christmas wrapped in a bow with her newest creation Together For Christmas.
Reflecting upon the collection of ideas for a title to aptly signify her album, Rachael remembers “I actually took to the people who supported me the most – my fans… and I just asked everyone what do you think it should be called; and that was one of the most voted-for titles; and I thought it was just absolutely perfect, because that’s what Christmas is all about – and music as well; and this album has so much for so many different people – I’ve tried to include as many languages as I could on there.”
From an album of mellifluous moments and sweet serenades, Rachael admits “I’m not sure if I can pick just one – maybe O Holy Night; but they’re all special in their own way to me, I think; and I chose them all because they are the songs that I grew up with; so I have memories attached to all of them from when I was little.”
Displaying a seamless transition from English lyrics to French expression, O Holy Night is bridged by a smouldering saxophone solo; and as Rachael informs, “I sort of gave an indication of the form that I wanted and the feel of it I wanted as well; I wanted a saxophone solo in there…I found out that O Holy Night was originally written in French; so that’s why I put one of the French verses in there to sort of pay a bit of homage to that.”
Befitting the magical mystique of the season, Together For Christmas reaches astral heights not only in its linguistic complexities; but in the presentation of Rachael’s multilingual diction as well. With reference to performing in languages other than English, Rachael rationalises “It’s just a different world, and you can sing the same song in a different language; and every time it will be different; so there’s different energy and different atmosphere from different languages…especially in Australia, being such a multicultural place, I wanted everyone to be able to communicate with everyone to sing along, really.”
A fact obvious to her audiences is Rachael’s resounding resolution “it’s all about the emotions and the stories.” Despite her experiences with the vision impairment Retinitis Pigmentosa, Rachael’s abilities are continually augmented by her unwavering positivity. She reinforces, “I have preferred to shift the focus onto things that I can do rather than what I can’t…I was always determined to show what I could do; and music was something that I could escape to…when human beings are given an obstacle they tend to always find a way around them. The Voice was a huge time…and then the next year I had been to Italy and performed with Andrea Boccelli’s Orchestra over there.”
Comic artist Rosanna Lam has captured a frame of serene happiness between Rachael and her Seeing Eye Dog, Ella, in an endearingly appropriate cover illustration for the album. Rachael delights, “I started talking about it with my Mum and my Brother and my Dad as well…I knew that I wanted an illustrated front cover, because Rosanna Lam was the artist for my sister in law’s comic books…I want a cover that looks like these drawings…and we put reindeer antlers on her because she’s my Rudolph guiding me…I just wanted something that looked magical as Christmas is.”
With respect to her mentorship with Delta Goodrem, Rachael reminisces “She has always been a constant in my life, ever since she walked onto the Neighbours stage. I felt that connection – even before the voice she was inspiring me as a singer.”
Rachael’s ever-broadening awareness of musical genres highlights one piece in particular; and as she proclaims, “The song that always comes to mind is Over The Rainbow from The Wizard Of Oz, because it just encapsulates my whole life, really…it was the first song I ever sang on stage with the choir when I was seven years old; and it was my favourite movie growing up. If I could work with Judy Garland…” although Gaga and Liza Minnelli are also collaborative contenders!
The one indelible message Rachael wishes to convey with her album is “Well, I really just want to spread happiness, I think; and nostalgia – that’s what I think Christmas should be; it should be about love and spending time with the people you love and who love you…just enjoy that time of year. I hope people remember the true meaning of Christmas.”
Rachael Leahcar’s Together For Christmas album is out now.
Written By Renée N. Abbott