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Rachel Platten: 'Everything I ever wanted came true. How crazy is that?'

The Newton Centre native discusses her new album, "Wildfire"

Rachel Platten’s anthemic “Fight Song” was unavoidable this summer, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, appearing in backstage Instagram jam sessions on Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour and becoming the unofficial and official song of resilience seekers and supporters everywhere.

The 34-year-old Newton Centre native is now riding the wave of hersecondequally empowering single “Stand By You” from her first major studio album release, “Wildfire,” due out Jan. 1.

She’ll be signing copies of "Wildfire" on Jan. 5 at the FYE at the Hanover Mall in Hanover, Mass. and the Times Square Hard Rock in New York on Jan. 7. Check out Platten's Facebook for full details.

We caught up with her fresh off a family holiday vacation to discuss the new album, her New Year’s resolutions and what it's like to have all your dreams come true.

Now that “Wildfire” is ready for its public debut, how are you feeling?
I just had a week off for the first time in I don't know how long, and I turned off my phone and disconnected. In the beginning of the week I felt a little bit of fear because [this album] has just been in my mind for three years. But by the end of the week, after recharging, I can honestly say I'm really excited.

Three years! At what point did you decide it was finished, or rather, ready?
It's the best I could have done between 2012 and 2015. I just watched that David Foster Wallace movie [“The End of the Tour”] when he’s talking about “Infinite Jest” in the Rolling Stone interview, and he says that's the best he could have done. My husband and I looked at each other and we were like, “This is the best we could have done.”

And you're never totally ready. It’s like that [Leonardo da Vinci] quote that’s like, “art is never finished, only abandoned,” but at some point you have to say, this is a stamp on time and this represents that time the best I could. At a certain point, enough is enough.

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Are you already working on songs for the next album?
Oh totally. I consider myself a songwriter foremost and even more so than a performer and singer. I love performing and singing and being on stage, but I love writing songs, and if I had to chose one, that would be it.

What's your writing tool of choice?
I do voice memos and use a notebook, and I use the notes section in my iPhone for weird ideas. I’ll put voice memos for melodies. I admit I haven’t been super creative the past month because I’ve been doing Christmas shows and there are flights and a new city every day. It's a hard time of year because there's no tour bus, so you get pretty drained. Let’s just say, I don't have as many voice memos for December.

Since we’re approaching the New Year, have you set any resolutions?
I talked to my friend Christina Perri about this recently because I started reading her blog a few years before I met her and she writes a “Letter to the Universe” every year and says all of these things she wishes to come true.

I’m not a fan of resolutions but of intentions, because it’s not about resolutions, it's about the work you put in to achieve them. I think the biggest thing for me is to be more present with where I am, and not let it go by so quickly. It’s such an incredible thing that's happened to me. My life has completely changed from what it was a year ago.I was with my family in Jamaica after 11 months of moving and touring, I was finally like, "What happened? What just happened?” Everything I ever wanted came true. How crazy is that?

Do you have a "Fight Song" of your own?
A lot of people ask me a lot what my “Fight Song” is but I don’t think I have one. I really loved Billy Joel growing up, and Tori Amos and “Silent All These Years” as the first song that I learned to sing and play on the piano.

I was obsessed with Etta James and Otis Redding, and the sadness in their voices even when they were singing happy lyrics. I fell in love with voices more than lyrics and messages. I don't know if there's one song in particular though, but I wish I did because that'd probably be a way more fun answer for you!

 

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