Rachel Ana Dobken has a knack for blending Indie-rock with soul and jazz. She represents her unique artistry in her single “Learning How To Let Go”. The soulful single with a bluesy feel while sticking to the classic elements of indie-rock music. Gorgeous guitar strings, augmented chord progressions and electrifying subdued sounds. “Learning how to let go, trying to find the words to say goodbye, thinking you should know though, that happiness is just a state of mind” Rachel sings, the contextual lyricism evokes an honest message. In that specific stanza, Rachel drives the song meaning forward, front row for us to view and feel a snippet of the song before the actual song. However, what I also interpreted from this song is that it could even become more sinister in meaning as in the artist could possibly be battling depressing thoughts and unconsciously saddening emotions. If that was the case, “Learning How To Let Go” could play as a letter to oneself. Regardless of the lyrical meaning behind the song, Rachel still undoubtedly delivered us a hit.
Listen to Rachel Ana Dobken new album "When It Happens To You". Check out our interview with Rachel where we talk about her new single "Learning How To Let Go".
Hi Rachel! Care to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey guys! Well thank you for having me! I’m Rachel Ana Dobken and I’m a multi-instrumentalist who just released a record “When It Happens To You.” On it, I played some drums, guitar, piano, and sang and I also produced it! In other words, a maniac hah!
Mind telling us where you’re from and where you’re currently located? How’s the music scene there?
I’m from Asbury Park, NJ and the scene here is incredible. There are big things happening for a number of reasons. Location-wise we are about 1.5 hours from both New York City/Brooklyn and Philly. We are geographically sort of located between the two on the Jersey Coast. The scene is exploding with indie-rock talent and a lot of support and love. It is a place where not only do the audience members appreciate good music, but there are so many musicians and so much talent, and we are all very supportive and loving of one another. It’s truly a unique.
Do you have any specific musical influences from specific genres (soul, blues, rock, pop) if so who?
So, I’m a massive music nerd and I listen to everything. I describe my sound as “Indie-Soul” and tell people it’s like “Lake Street Dive or Amy Winehouse meets My Morning Jacket.” I pull from influences all over: Rock, Jazz, Indie-Rock, Soul, Alt… Some of my favorite bands: The Band, Incubus, Paul Simon, My Morning Jacket, John Mayer, Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple, Patsy Cline. I also love and studied Jazz— Monk, Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery )… then there’s all the blues and soul (Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye). I also love and listen to a lot of Indie-Rock (Caveman, White Denim, Grizzly Bear, Sam Cohen) and all the amazing bands coming out of Asbury Park (The Front Bottoms, Deal Casino, Lowlight, The Burns, Avery Mandeville, Tara Dente, Cranston Dean… there’s sooo many!
What do you think most of your music means?
For me, it’s a conversation. It’s a means to talk to someone, or about something that you are trying to say but can’t necessarily find the means or appropriate context to do it otherwise. A lot of times I’m not even in control of what comes out of me, it just happens when it needs to be said. I feel that my job as an artist, and what I have been given in this lifetime, is that I possess the ability to express my emotions in a way that people can digest and relate to (both musically and lyrically), and hopefully feel better and less alone in the world. It is all about a desire to CONNECT and RELATE.
Love the new single! Can you tell us about the creation process of “Learning How To Let Go” ?
The first part that came to me was the chorus- the melody and specific open guitar lines. You hear it in the first chorus as just guitar and vocals (“Every night I’m losing sleep…”) then the band comes in and plays it together. Then came the intro/verse and I built the rest of the song around that. My engineer said this song was like a dream. It takes on a unique moody journey. As my process typically goes, I hear parts and lyrics in pieces. Sometimes I hear lyrics immediately in conjunction with a melody, and other times I hear it after the entire framework of the song is done. Almost immediately I hear the groove and how the song will “feel”. “Learning” has my favorite groove of all songs on the record, although it took me the longest to figure out. I sat with the drums for a while not knowing what the song needed and then realizing what it did. Dan Haase (bass) worked his magic to make that bassline groove and sway so perfectly around it. I can’t hear the song without that now. I also love so much what Mark Masefield did on B3.
What's your favorite lyric from the song? Why?
I think it’s “Every night I’m losing sleep / Can’t figure out whats, botherin’ me.” It’s something I live frequently. For me it’s simple but loaded with the content of the entire song— about being in your mid-to-late 20’s in a state of limbo trying to navigate a future that is unstable and unsteady... just feeling all of these emotions (good and bad) and grappling with how to ACCEPT whatever it is! Existence is vibrating in a way that has you a bit wrapped up, but not necessarily in a bad way. The song touches on the unknown nature of what the future holds, which can be daunting, but is also extremely exciting and wonderful. But in realizing that, it’s the beauty of “Letting Go,” where you can truly live. The song is kind of a note to myself to let me know, whatever is going to happen it’s okay and that ultimately, we have no control. Life is beautiful, short and the same for ALL of us (the inevitability of life and death). I hope that wasn’t too heavy!!!
Who are your musical influences that have helped shape your career in music?
So like I said above, I’m a huge music nerd and so there’s a lot! For me all of art, especially music comes back down to what is REAL and staying TRUE to the music. A lot of times this is not what is mainstream. There are a couple: I love the unique-ness and sheer musicality of The Band. They are a perfect example of a group with natural talent, chemistry and not giving a shit what other people thought about them. Next up, Paul Simon. He’s a genius story-teller and his arrangements are always flawless. The way he so simply but INTENTIONALLY chooses those things. Brilliant lyrics like: “I should have believed you when I heard you saying it / The only time when love is an easy game / is when two of the people are playing it.” I love the guitar-tones and unique songwriting structures and musical chemistry of Incubus, one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. I love the conversational nature, both musically and lyrically of John Mayer, and I feel of all of my influences him and I most closely speak the same conversational lyrical language. Continuum is one of my faves. And above everything else, the music has to have groove, gotta have feel! Ok, there’s more but I’ll leave it there for now.
What can we expect from you 2019 Rachel??
Well! I have another single that will be coming out, probably in the spring. I’m also planning to shoot some music videos and hopefully get a mini-tour going! Some one off dates on the East Coast, and some shows in Asbury coming up. I hope to make it out to the West Coast soon as well!
Connect with Rachel Ana Dobken on social media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rachelanadobkenmusic/ Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0yjMY9pIL4rmCOLrNtvSlP Website: www.rachelanadobken.com Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rachelanadobken Bandcamp: https://rachelanadobkenmusic.bandcamp.com/