Breaking: Rachael Yamagata - Rolling Stone
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Breaking: Rachael Yamagata

Who Rachael Yamagata, a Philadelphia singer who, after backing up artists like Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes and Rhett Miller, is ready to step into the spotlight.

Sounds Like: With her second album Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart, Yamagata abandons the chick flick soundtrack feel of her first album with a darker, more intimate double-disc affair. On Elephants, Yamagata channels macabre ballads like Fiona Apple while Teeth… finds her embracing her inner-Chrissie Hynde. “The lyrics were telling me it was going to be different this time, there was backbone,” Yamagata says. “I didn’t want it to be pretty, and I didn’t want it to be safe.”

Vital Stats:

Elephants… represents a tough two year stretch in Yamagata’s life that included the death of her stepmother, a split with her boyfriend and getting dumped by RCA Records, which released her debut Happenstance in 2004. “I was depressed,” she says. “I felt like my head was going to explode.” Instead, Yamagata unleashed her frustrations taking a trip to the Dominican Republic and penning over 160 songs.

• Even though the songs all could have fit on one disc, Yamagata felt it necessary to go all Use Your Illusion and release Elephants… as two separate discs. “The moods are so different. Merging the songs would break the trance,” Yamagata said of her decision.

• With the darker material, Yamagata is vacating the coffeeshop sound that almost pushed her toward fame back in 2004. Songs from Happenstance appeared prominently in The O.C., The L Word and the film The Last Kiss.

Hear It Now: Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart is available in all its two-disc glory now. Click above and below for a few looks behind the scenes into the making of Yamagata’s record.


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