he many years, miles, and collaborations that have gone into the making of this music are evident in each track; scattered throughout the record are stories of the people, places, and experiences that encouraged Corsi to finally step forth and confidently embody the title of “songwriter.” Music wove its way into the fabric of Rachel Corsi’s daily life from an early age. When asked about her formative musical experiences, she recalls a childhood spent harmonizing with her friends during recess and witnessing the creative partnership of her parents, who had a touring dance and percussion duo. While her father performed with the Santa Fe Opera and taught percussion at the University of Michigan, Rachel began exploring her own voice in musical theatre and a cappella groups throughout her school years. But it was the exposure to folk and Americana songwriting during college that made her realize she had found her medium. Inspired by a longing to write songs of comfort and compassion, she picked up the guitar while studying abroad in Ecuador and began writing music of her own once she returned to the states. Shortly after delving into the writing process, Corsi moved to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. She found her footing in her new home by connecting with other musicians and building a creative community around herself. Through friendships forged at open mics and stints in local bands, she soon developed a deep connection to the artistic community in the region. A gig singing background vocals for a hip hop group led her to her future husband and business partner, who played lead guitar in the band. In 2014, the couple decided to move to Downtown Harlingen, Texas, and open a business with the aim of supporting local singer songwriters. The result was The Prelude – a listening room, cafe, and guitar shop. While running The Prelude, Corsi began participating in songwriting workshops that were regularly hosted at the venue. The community and collaborations that developed through these classes played a pivotal role in encouraging her to finally share her own work with a larger audience.
“Collaboration has been key to this album,” says Corsi, and the truth of this statement can be sensed in every part of the EP. The lush string arrangements, harmonies, and percussion that accentuate the singer’s lovely, gentle vocals were provided by musicians from her local community. Soft and evocative water-color paintings by Corsi’s childhood classmate EH Sherman float across the background of the album’s artwork. A poem read aloud by another friend, Anna Hankins, led Rachel to a meaningful relationship with the author’s family. The power of these collaborative relationships have ultimately helped Corsi to define who she is as an artist and to chart a path forward in her solo career. As she prepares for the long-awaited release of her EP, Rachel’s dedication to fostering artistic community remains as strong as ever. The Corsis have recently shifted their business model, reopening as Corsi Guitars. Their new location hosts shows for touring musicians, with Rachel heading up the booking. The debut of both a new business and new record seem to signify a new chapter in the songwriter’s life, one that she enters with a deeper sense of personal creative conviction. “I’ve spent the past decade figuring out who I am, both on my own and in community with others. This EP represents a certain clarity around that, and owning that I am, in fact, a songwriter and performer and part of an amazing community of other artists.” Rachel Corsi is, in the end, as much a testament to the people and places that have inspired its writer, as it as an acknowledgement of her own artistry.