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Interview:
Rachael Yamagata tries her independence
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

After releasing her first pair of albums with two different major labels, singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata decided to strike out alone for her new "Chesapeake," releasing the 10-song set on her own Frankenfish Records imprint.

"It's really an explosion of energy after being completely in another washing machine of industry holdups, not being able to record and release music through the system I was in," explains the Virginia-born Yamagata, 34, who attended Northwestern University and Vassar College before releasing her first EP in 2002 and album in 2004. "Chesapeake" follows 2008's "Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart."

"When I was able to legally start making my own moves, I just made a phone call to (producer) John Alagia and said, 'Do you want to make a record?' He said 'yes' before he heard any songs, and we started booking flights for people the next day. I just wanted to have fun and make music and finally get back on track again."

Yamagata, who recorded "Chesapeake" in a week, says that being independent allows her to work "so much faster now, which is...gratifying." And despite the "insane frustration levels" she experienced before, she also feels emboldened by her new situation.

"It's become like my own musical reunion with myself," Yamagata explains. "I chose to just say, 'Who (cares)' and go back and have fun with music. I've got nothing to prove to anyone anymore. You can either remain positive and keep doing music or quit.

"And I don't want to quit, really."

Rachael Yamagata and Mike Viola perform Monday, Nov. 7 at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Door open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 with a $40 four-pack. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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