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Jazz singer Rachael Price, 20, will perform at the Princess Theatre on March 30.
Courtesy photo
Jazz singer Rachael Price, 20, will perform at the Princess Theatre on March 30.

Price is right
Up-and-coming jazz singer proving herself capable with her mature voice, strong foundation of beliefs

By Danielle Komis
dkomis@decaturdaily.com 340-2447

Rachael Price fell in love with its silky-smooth sound growing up just outside the birthplace of country music in Hendersonville, Tenn.

"(Jazz) was something different, something that I could own," the 20-year-old said in a phone interview. "I liked the idea of being different."

The up-and-coming jazz star, who has opened for acclaimed jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, will return to the South on March 30 to show off her mature voice at the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts in Decatur. Price's repertoire includes standards such as "Comes Love," "Trolley Song," "Stairway to the Stars" and "People Will Say We're in Love."

Price has risen to stardom rapidly, though she is somewhat unique in the world of jazz — a young, white jazz vocalist. She knows she has a lot to prove.

"There's a lot of legitimacy gaining you have to do in the jazz world," she said. "As a singer, you have to do even more."

Pressure also goes hand in hand with early fame and success. Already, Price feels pressure to make her jazz more contemporary and "more marketable."

"I worry about losing myself a little bit inside of it," she said. "But I think the fact that I'm worried about it is a good sign that I can keep a handle on it."

Price, who is a member of the Baha'i Faith, grew up traveling and singing gospel with her family at Baha'i gatherings. The tours helped her grow accustomed to singing in front of large crowds, she said, and laid the foundation for her belief that singing is a selfless service.

"It wasn't something I thought of as a moneymaking ability," she said. "I thought it could touch people and make them happy and carry a message with it."

In 2003, at age 17, Price debuted "Dedicated to You," a collection of jazz standards. Price's father, also a musician and her "second set of ears," composed a song on the album.

However, Price's upcoming album, produced by KC Porter (Santana, Nancy Wilson, Patti LaBelle) and engineered by Al Schmitt (Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Steely Dan) will be "completely different" from the first.

Not only will it cover some jazz classics, but also some pop tunes, she said. It is expected out this summer.

Price tours on the weekends when she can get away from jazz studies classes at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Massachusetts. A fan of Woody Allen films and French films, she rarely gets time to actually watch her favorites because her little free time is used to catch up on sleep, she said.

Locals should take advantage of the opportunity to see the rising star and her jazz trio, said executive director Lindy Ashwander.

"People can say they saw her on the way up," she said. "We're just excited to have an artist that people can discover."

Plus, the Princess Theatre's small, intimate setting makes it the perfect jazz venue, she said.

While she loves jazz, Price also has a passion for bluegrass and old-time country music, and isn't afraid to branch out to something new. Young artists can easily get pigeonholed, she said, and hopes to avoid that.

"You get so easily pegged into doing one thing and that's what you do and what people want from you," she said. "I hope to keep exploring different ventures inside of music whether it's inside the jazz world or other styles."

A reception for Price and Princess Theatre donors will follow Price's March 30 performance.

If you go

Who: Rachael Price jazz concert

When: March 30, 7:30 p.m. Reception to follow.

Where: Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts in Decatur

Tickets: $25 to $35. Reserved tickets are available online at www.princesstheatre.org or call the box office at 340-1778.

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