Star Spot with Rachel Walker Mason, Multi award winning songwriter and international vocal judge
From Luck to Originality to Networking, Rachel Walker Mason Shares Valuable Advices for Musicians.
Welcome to this episode of Star Spot! I’m Merry, and in this series, I interview InterContinental Music Awards winners and insiders, bringing you exclusive insights into the music industry. Today, I’m thrilled to have with me Rachel Walker Mason, multi award winning songwriter, international vocal judge and InterContinental Music Awards member of the judging panel.
Rachel Walker Mason is an accomplished musician, vocal coach, and songwriter, holding a Masters in Songwriting. Her extensive work supporting young artists has earned her praise from Prince Harry as an inspiration. Rachel is a trailblazer in her field, being the only musician to have ever received the Freelancer of the Year award. She also runs her own artist management business and record label, in addition to writing songs for major pop stars and winners of The Voice UK.
Rachel will take us on a journey through her life as a musician, sharing some of the challenges she has faced along the way, she’ll offer advice to young artists who are just starting out in the industry and will talk about her role as a member of the InterContinental Music Awards judging panel.
Let’s dive right into the interview summary and tap into Rachel Walker Mason’s wide-ranging skillset and familiarity. The full interview is available on Instagram – click here to check it out.
Can you give us a brief introduction of yourself?
I’m Rachel Walker Mason. I’m a songwriter who mostly writes for other artists but also writes for myself. I also sing, run workshops, and manage artists through my artist management business. I have vast experience in various aspects of the music industry. Additionally, I’m a mom of two and currently based in England.
You have a wide range of experience in the music industry. Can you tell us your take on the industry and how it has changed over the past few years?
The music industry has always been a tough industry to succeed in, but with the emergence of streaming platforms, it has become increasingly difficult for artists to make a living solely from their music. For instance, platforms like Spotify pay just one p per stream, which is hardly enough for performing artists to sustain themselves. Furthermore, with about 65,000 songs being released every day, the market is incredibly saturated, and listeners’ attention spans are spread thin.
This is different from the past when people would buy CDs and listen to them for an extended period. While social media has helped some artists gain traction, there are still challenges to overcome. In summary, the music industry has its good and bad aspects, and the past few years have been a bit of a mixed bag.
The music industry has historically been male-dominated. Do you think that has changed over the past few years?
Yes, I think it’s starting to. There have always been women creating music, but there’s now a real rise in female producers being noticed. There are a lot of female producers who have been doing it for ages, but they were often kept out of the room. Men like to be the producers, and it was often only one female producer in a group of like 30 men. However, I think there’s a lot more support now for female producers.
The Grammys, for example, have a huge push for women in the recording industry. There’s a lot more support for women now to actually help us achieve rather than let us be held back. So, I think a lot more women are really going for it because they feel that they can now.
You’re involved in various charities, could you tell us more about your involvement in these activities?
Sure, I’m the patron of a charity called Vine Counseling Services, which offers reduced price counseling for people who need mental health support. Usually, counseling for mental health is expensive and the waiting list is long, especially in the UK. This charity is amazing as it offers cheaper counseling supported by funding through fundraising.
I’m honored to be a part of it as it’s a really positive initiative, especially during COVID when the problems with mental health have increased massively due to people not being able to work and see their families. I’m glad to be able to help those who need support.
Can you tell us about your experience being applauded by Prince Harry for supporting young artists?
It was a surreal moment for me. I was almost nine months pregnant with our second child and was attending a charity event for Well Child, which supports children with life-limiting conditions. I helped run a choir competition for primary schools in the UK, and I coached the winning choir for their performance in front of celebrities and Prince Harry, who is the patron of the charity.
It was quite stressful, but Prince Harry said some really nice things to me and even called me an inspiration. I kept thinking he might have just said that because I was so heavily pregnant and managed to stand for a while. It was a lovely experience, but definitely a strange one.
As a TV judge, which is a challenging role, can you tell us about your experience in that area?
Sure, I was actually contacted by a company to be a judge on a TV show about acapella choirs when my daughter was only eight weeks old. It was a bit daunting because I was still in maternity wear and had baby sick all over me, but the company insisted that they wanted me as a judge. My husband came with us to London, and he took care of our daughter during the day while I filmed the show.
The panel of judges was lovely, and I had a lot of experience judging acapella competitions, so I felt comfortable in that role. The vocal groups were all fantastic, and I’ve actually worked with some of them since then because they’re such amazing people. We also had some incredible guest performers like The Vamps, Imelda May, and Gregory Porter who came on and sang unaccompanied.
It was a wonderful experience, especially considering I had just come out of maternity leave. It was quite a different experience to be back in the spotlight, but it was also incredible.
Rachel, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment as an artist?
That’s a difficult question because I have had many accomplishments throughout my career. But one thing that stands out to me is becoming a member of the Recording Academy of the Grammys voting committee. It was a major achievement for me because it’s difficult to get in.
I had to be nominated by some of my friends who were already Grammy Recording Academy members, and then they had to send in a huge list of all my accomplishments in order to get me in. Being part of the voting committee means I can put my music forward and vote for other artists as well. It felt like a culmination of a lot of achievements, and it was a really exciting thing for me.
How has your experience been with InterContinental Music Awards (ICMA)?
My experience with ICMA has been amazing. I have been with them from the beginning, judging for three years, and I appreciate them immensely for their expert team and for being so supportive of all the entrants. The contest is really genuine and kind, and I love being able to give people positive feedback and advice about what they’ve done well and what they can improve on. InterContinental Music Awards allows that within the judging, which is not always the case with other competitions. I also love hearing music from all over the world and different genres that I may not typically listen to. It’s a real honor to be a part of ICMA.
What are some challenges you faced throughout your career?
As a creative person, I often struggle to balance my critic and creator. Allowing the critic to overpower the creator stifles my ability to create. At times, my mental health has suffered, hindering my ability to produce positive work. Nevertheless, I’ve learned to cherish the good moments and understand that everyone goes through tough times.
Age has presented its own set of challenges, making me feel too old to continue songwriting in the industry. However, the encouragement I’ve received from people across different musical genres, especially women, who want to collaborate with me has been a source of inspiration. My daughter, who’s been exposed to music from a young age, firmly believes that women run the music industry. It’s vital that we make that a reality for the next generation.
What advice do you have for young or aspiring musicians who are unsure about how to start their career?
I always advise young or aspiring musicians to be the very best they can be and to be true to themselves. While luck can play a role in the music industry, it’s important to be prepared for when those lucky situations come up. You never know when you might be put in the spotlight because someone else dropped out or something unexpected happened. If you have the skills to back it up, that could be your big break.
It’s also important to be original and unique. While it’s okay to follow trends and see what’s popular, you should always add something to it that makes it you. Don’t just try to be a carbon copy of someone else. The world needs you, not another version of someone else.
Lastly, network like crazy. The joy of social media is that you can contact anyone. Reach out to producers and artists you like and make connections across the industry. Most people are fairly nice on Instagram and other platforms and will chat with you or offer advice. Many opportunities come from just contacting people on social media and becoming writing partners or friends. It’s incredible how much social media has expanded the reach of musicians and other creatives.
Any final words you would like to share with our audience?
I just want to send lots of love to the InterContinental Music Awards. It was an honor for me to be a judge, and I want to congratulate everyone who entered this year. I hope to see even more entries next year because I want to hear all of your music. It was great being here today, and I hope to come back soon. Thank you for having me. Don’t forget to like, save, and comment, and I’ll see you all next time. Goodbye!
Rachel Walker Mason’s Contact Info:
- Website: https://rachelwalkermason.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelwalkermason/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelwalkermason
Click here to watch the full interview on Instagram
InterContinental Music Awards Team