Last month, Rachel Platten performed her hit “Fight Song” to a stadium crowd of 50,000 people at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia alongside Taylor Swift. “I was perched below the stage waiting to be lifted up onto it and Taylor was introducing the song talking about how much it meant to her,” Platten tells us. “I heard the crowd, saw the lights and it just felt amazing. It was a dream come true.”
Reaching her breaking point
It wasn’t too long ago that Platten was actually contemplating giving up music all together. Now 34, Platten had been pursuing being a pop-star for several years and while she had a few high points, her “big break” still hadn’t happened yet, and it didn’t look like it was ever going to.
“It didn’t seem like there were a lot of reasons to keep going,” she says. “Doors kept closing and it was becoming harder and harder. I started doubting myself. I wrote ‘Fight Song’ as this declaration to not give up on myself. I was still going to believe in myself no matter what.’” The song has now been in the Billboard Top 20 for over a month and even went to number one on iTunes, ahead of, yes, Taylor Swift.
Roommates and rent money
Platten first started her music career in New York City, living in Greenwich Village. “I lived with my childhood best friend and a friend of hers,” she tells us. “We had a blast. They would come into my room and sit on my bed while I played them music. They’d suggest lyric ideas or help me make posters. It was really fun.”
But her life was far from perfect. To pay her rent, Platten worked a string of jobs, many of which she got fired from. “I worked at a fashion magazine that was very ‘Devil Wears Prada,’ I was an awful waitress, I worked as a consultant and as an analyst...” Plattan rattles off.
Far from finished
Even now, she says she still doesn’t feel like she’s “made it.” “I don’t even know what that means!” she says. “I’m just so grateful that my message seems to be resonating and that people are identifying with something I believe in so firmly.”
Platten’s EP is out now and she says she is putting the finishing touches on her first full-length album. “The songs touch on a range of emotions, but all of them come from a really honest place in my heart,” she says. “There’s a song on my EP called ‘Congratulations’ that I literally wrote mid-fight with a friend. So a lot of my songs were written mid-feeling, whether that feeling is joy, love or pain.” Another fight song? Sounds like another hit.
If you go:
July 11, 7 p.m.
Mann Center for Performing Arts
5201 Parkside Ave., 215-546-7900
New York City
July 14, 7 p.m.
Hudson River Park, Pier 57, 212-627-2020
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence