Each month our friends at Lowell Arts are celebrating the West Michigan music scene by connecting with different artists. WYCE caught up with May's Featured Artist, Kyle Rasche.
What first got you into music?
Music has always been around... my parents listened to great music, and my dad played guitar for us when my sister and I were little. I took piano lessons, and was always drawn to the choir and musicals in school too. I didn’t get into making up my own music until i got out of high school.
Recording and creating music during the Covid-19 pandemic has been different for all parts of the music industry. What challenges and/or possible unexpected breakthroughs have come along in that time for you?
I’ve always been far more interested in making new music than performing, so the loss of live shows didn’t crush me as much as it did so many other musicians who rely upon shows for their livelihood. I would never say I’m grateful for anything surrounding COVID, but it did afford me a ton of time at home to focus on writing, and I took advantage of it. I wrote a pile of songs... I think close to 40, plus several co-writes I did with other songwriters. 2020 was such a hard year in so many ways, but it was a formative year for me as a songwriter.
What routines and routes did you take to stay connected to the music community and your regular local community?
I reached out to a bunch of my songwriter pals and invited them to a songwriter guild I call the Song Haul. We just hold each other accountable to post a new song every few weeks, and it’s been great. It’s a level of accountability that can be difficult to generate individually, and it has also cultivated some great friendships that i’m super grateful for.
Why are nonprofit resources like Lowell Arts and noncommercial radio like WYCE important to your community?
I think what makes organizations like WYCE and Lowell Arts stand out is that the community feels like it is important to them. Lowell Arts exists to curate and support artists in the community... I’ve been making art for 30 years and never had anyone feature me and what I do before this month. I know the visual artists feel the same about the gallery.
WYCE exists exclusively to bring a world of music to West Michigan ears, and to provide a professional platform to support us local musicians. I don’t put a ton of stock in art accolades, but my WYCE Jammie Awards are undoubtedly two highlights of my career. You (WYCE) and Local Spins go to such great lengths to celebrate and validate local music, it means the world to us. It’s such a huge part of what I love about West Michigan. I hope you guys feel that gratitude.
What are your favorite venues in Michigan to perform? To be in the audience?
I love the Listening Room, and the Lowell Arts Gallery for quiet, songwriter shows. I’ve also played Wealthy Theatre and would love to be able to fill that room some day.
I dig seeing bands at the Tip Top for bar gigs, and the Pyramid Scheme for bigger shows.
What is the best advice you’ve been given? What advice would you give to local musicians breaking into the scene?
I love the Henri Matisse quote: “Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.”
If you want to be a songwriter, start writing. It’s like any skillset... hard work makes you better, so when inspiration does hit, you have the tools to channel it into your best product.
I think approaching anything with this attitude not only makes you a better craftsman, but also keeps the dreaded laurels out of your head... your best work is always yet to come if you keep at it.
What artists/bands have you discovered or rediscovered in the last year?
Justin Farren’s “Pretty Free” was my favorite record of 2020. I’ve met a bunch of songwriters through the Kerrville Folk Festival that have really inspired me... Jeremy Parsons, Spencer LaJoye, and Paul Demer are playing in my car a lot.
If you could choose, who would you most like to collaborate with?
I just met Sav Buist of the Accidentals through Kerrville, and we’re planning to write together soon. I’m excited about that.
I’d love to write a musical, so if you know a great playwrite looking for a songwriter, send them my way.
What’s ahead for you in 2021 and beyond?
-I just released the Next Few Winters EP on April 30th, and i have another baby record (3 tunes) recorded with Good Old Days Recording coming out in the next few weeks.
-I also just started working with Josh Kaufman at Local Legends Studio on another batch of songs I hope to release this winter.
-I am one of 24 finalists for the 2021 Kerrville New Folk songwriter contest, so if the stars align I may be heading to Texas to play the Kerrville Folk Fest in October.
Mostly I’m just planning on making more Chain of Lakes songs!