Rachel Loy doesn't like to talk about the kind of accomplishments that sound good in a bio. It’s not that she doesn’t have enough of them -- she could probably fill one that's 30 pages. It’s getting her to talk about them that’s difficult. To find out about anything she’s doing that sounds impressive, you pretty much have to catch her in the act.
You have to walk in on her playing bass in the studio for a Keith Urban demo, or be in the room while she’s playing on the next album from Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Brett Eldredge, Scotty McCreery, or The Brothers Osbourne record. You have to catch her leading a session for Luke Laird. You have to turn on the television and see her playing with Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins, Ronnie Dunn, Alan Jackson.... You have to go see Taylor Swift at the new Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium, and catch Rachel on the giant screen playing with Charlie Worsham in front of 50,000 people.
If you bring up any of these things she just laughs and shrugs them off. To her, famous friends, TV credits, and playing for breathtakingly big audiences are a side-effect. Right now her biggest goal is to wake up every morning and create better music than she did the day before, whether it’s by writing, producing, singing, or playing bass.
At the tender young age of nineteen she left Berklee College of Music to sign a recording-artist deal with Sony Records, complete with a Billboard-charting single “The Same Man,” which she wrote alone. The record deal gave her the opportunity to write and produce with legends like Patrick Leonard (Madonna) and Cliff Magness (Avril Lavigne). When Sony declined to make the full album, Rachel teamed up with producer Carl Thiel and recorded and released it herself. “Love the Mess” earned her critical acclaim and regional success in her home state of Texas.
In 2008, Rachel moved to Nashville to focus on writing and bass playing. After playing short stints on the road with Julianne Hough and Thompson Square, Rachel landed an in-town gig playing with songwriter Dave Pahanish and some of the most sought-after studio musicians in town (Tom Bukovac, Sean Fichter, John Deaderick....) Soon she was getting calls to play on demos.
She quickly fell in love with playing in the studio. “It was intimidating at first -- the players are so incredible and you can hear so much detail in the headphones! Hearing every tiny little imperfection in your playing can be nerve-racking, but it makes you improve so quickly.”
She must have caught on fast enough. Her reputation has grown quickly among the more seasoned studio-players. “Her ability to make a bass line just fit inside the groove is second to none,” says Nick Buda (Drummer, Taylor Swift records) “And the fact that she’s an artist as well comes out in her musicality and how she’s able to incorporate the melody into what she’s playing.”
By 2011 her studio career had reached a comfortable (some would say hectic) pace, and Rachel began looking for what to do next. With all of the studio experience under her belt, producing seemed to be the next natural step to take. To test the waters, Rachel decided to produce her next solo record herself. In January she entered the studio with friends Derek Wells (guitar), Steve Sinatra (drums), and James Farrell (keys) and recorded her 5th studio album, Broken Machine.
Producing came naturally to Rachel, and soon artists and songwriters were requesting her for their own projects. Texas Country favorite William Clark Green approached Rachel to produce his 3rd release, and she took it on as her 3rd production project. Rose Queen (released in April, 2013) was critically acclaimed, taking WCG to the next level with their single "She Likes the Beatles" (#1 on the Texas Country radio charts, Song of the Year at the 2013 Lonestar Music Awards). She kept on going, producing demos for Columbia Recording Artist Wade Bowen, co-writing and producing tracks for Big Machine artist Ella Mae Bowen, producing Texas Country albums for Brian Keane (his single "Bar Lights" went #1 in Texas) and Adam Hood (His single "Tryin' to Write a Love Song" when top 5 in Texas). After all that, it was time to go back into the studio for William Clark Green's next record, Ringling Road. Released this year, it made its debut at #13 on the Billboard Indie Album Chart and #18 on the Billboard Country Album Chart, making it one of only two albums produced solely by a female to make its debut in the Top 20 in decades.
Through all of this she has continued to write 10-20 songs per month, perform as an artist monthly in Nashville or Austin with all-new material, play bass for Hank Williams, Jr, and write and record dance music for her successful Britain based duo Small*Star (with Adam Lilley).
With all of this activity, it's easy to understand why she shrugs off the bio-worthy tidbits that are so impressive to the rest of us. Her focus is entirely on the music. And while she mentions playing on national television without batting an eye, she gets visibly excited when talking about a new song she's just started, or a brilliant guitar player she's just heard for the first time, or a new trick she's learned in production. She won't have time to dwell on her successes until things slow down a great deal. And it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon.