“God doesn’t put dreams in people’s hearts if he doesn’t intend to make them a reality.” -Rachel Potter
Country music recording artist and Broadway star Rachel Potter is not afraid to dream. With the release of her EP “Live the Dream,” Potter is well on her way to making her own dreams a reality.
While Potter’s next ambition is introducing the world to her country roots, her fans know her best for her roles in hit Broadway shows, such as Wednesday Addams in THE ADDAMS FAMILY alongside Brooke Shields, the Mistress in the Tony-nominated revival of EVITA with Ricky Martin, and as Glinda on the national tour of Stephen Schwartz’s smash hit, WICKED. But long before she was charming audiences eight times a week on the Great White Way with her affable humor and crystal clear chops, Rachel was already doing what she loves: singing.
A rock ‘n roll baby, Rachel was born in New Orleans to southern parents who met in a country rock band. She sang her first solo at the age three, standing on the steps of her Baptist church in her hometown of Seminole, Florida. For as long as she can remember, music was flowing through her house. Whether it was her Dad playing guitar or recording music in his garage studio, or her Mom teaching voice lessons in the living room, music was part of everyday life.
At the age of 12 Rachel began writing original songs to cope with her mother being diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. “I was so afraid that I was going to lose my mom, but I didn’t know how to express my feelings to her. So, I wrote her a song instead. From then on, it stuck.” In middle school, Rachel’s music teachers began to notice her special gift of both singing and songwriting. “Up until then I got lost in the crowd. I loved math and science and writing stories about aliens- no boys liked me- I was a total dork. All of a sudden I had something kind of cool. I finally had found something that made me special and it felt so honest. I held on to that and haven’t let go ever since.” Noticed by a label executive, she was signed at 16 to contemporary Christian label, Narrow Door Records. She released a 10 song album entitled “Come Back Home” in 2002 – all tracks penned by Potter.
A year later Rachel moved to Orlando, Florida. Following a friends suggestion, she audition for a singing job at Walt Disney World. Having never been to a theatrical audition before, Rachel came prepared with a headshot (a picture of her singing into a microphone) and a resume with details of her tenure as an employee at the GAP. “I’m surprised I wasn’t laughed out of the room!” says Rachel. Though she was not well versed in theatre protocol, her talent got her the gig and she was cast as Ariel in the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. She subsequently went on to perform as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Nemo in Finding Nemo: The Musical, and a slew of other shows at Disney. “I consider that to be a lot of what my musical theatre training was. It was like musical theatre boot camp working at Disney World. It was the best on the job training I could ever ask for,” says Potter. While working at Disney she also completed a Bachelors degree in Public Relations and Advertising from the University of Central Florida in 2008. That same year she made it to the Top 15 in the MTV reality show Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods.
After graduating from college she moved to New York where she got a gig singing in a wedding band. After tirelessly auditioning for Broadway shows for over two years, she was lucky enough to book the second national tour of WICKED. While on the road Potter continued to write music and was surprised by how much she missed the experience of being part of a live band. While on tour she reconnected with Justin York, an old friend who happened to be a Nashville musician, producer, and songwriter- known for his work with Nashville-bred rock band, Paramore. York and Potter planned to collaborate on Rachel’s first country EP when the tour ended. Just as Rachel was making plans to move to Nashville, Broadway came knocking. She was offered the role of Wednesday Addams in THE ADDAMS FAMILY, and of course, jumped at the chance.
Rachel was ecstatic to have the opportunity to make her debut on Broadway but couldn’t let go of her dreams of making country music. As THE ADDAMS FAMILY came to a close Rachel raised funds through an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign to record her dream country project. The “Help Me Live the Dream” concept resonated with people from near and far who helped Potter to exceed the original financial goal. “We were so successful we were actually able to add a sixth song to the EP! It’s called “Hold On to Me” and it happens to be my favorite song on the record. It was overwhelming how generous people were and it inspired me to keep going with my dream, no matter what,’” says Potter.
“Live the Dream” is a collection of six tunes co-written by Potter and York. Potter’s honest–sometimes aching–autobiographical stories can be found throughout the pop country record. “Music always led me to feel a rainbow of emotions- both good and bad. Songs are what got me through some really difficult times growing up. That, in a nutshell, is why I want to do what I want to do. My dream is not only to sing but to give people music that touches them and heals them. I want to let everyone know that they’re not weird, and what they’re going through and feeling, I have felt too. At the end of the day, they are not alone.”
Though making a leap from Broadway to country music may be risky, Potter is excited by the challenge. “There’s always risk involved. The biggest risks have the biggest rewards. And this is a great big ole leap.”
Rachel Potter is currently living in Nashville, TN where she is pursuing her dreams of Country Music and making her next album.