It takes courage to even consider a career as a professional entertainer, but Southern Indiana's Rachel Timberlake has an extra supply of guts and guile. That's because she isn't one of those performers who've been on stage their entire life and knew singing would be their career choice before they had a prom date. Instead, she's made the decision after attaining success as a teacher, and after being encouraged by others to step out and display what's unquestionably a prominent, impressive and striking voice and delivery.
"I've sung for a long time but I didn't make that decision to get out on my own until some of my church members heard me and told me that I had to let others hear my voice," Timberlake said. "But music is certainly something that I love, although country wasn't the first music that I grew up singing. One of my strengths is my willingness to get out there and show what I can do without worrying so much about failure."
Timberlake has confidence rather than cockiness and that quality shows up very quickly when you hear her crystal-clear voice and energetic delivery. Unlike some performers who depend solely on their vocal abilities, she understands the importance of entertaining the audience with not only her voice but also her mannerisms, melody, pace, intensity and storytelling, and has that special quality to effectively combine all those things into one prominent package.
With a deep religious faith and a devoted husband who believes in her, Timberlake also possesses the necessary resourcefulness for anyone who wants to succeed in today's crowded music landscape. She took the stage a couple of years ago at the famous Tootsie's Orchard Lounge during one of their open mic nights and proceeded to bring the house down, even as she acknowledges she was extremely nervous. "Certainly I was nervous, I mean you're singing in Tootsie's " Timberlake recalls. "But once I got up there and got started, the response was great. The people really warmed up to me and it was wonderful. It also was a big boost because it shows that audiences respond to honesty and personality and that you can be yourself and succeed."
Timberlake's already been a big winner in several other ways. She was a collegiate basketball player before injuries ended her athletic endeavors and she turned to teaching, something she still loves even as she's preparing for the major life transitions that would come with country stardom. "I've really enjoyed teaching. It's been a stable, though certainly demanding job, but it's helped me professionally and personally,” she said. “When the children in my class (she teaches 5th grade) have heard about me singing, they've generally been very supportive. While music is something I feel ready for and a challenge that excites me, I'm not just going to toss aside teaching and overlook what it's done for me."
Still, Timberlake feels 2010 will be her breakout year, with a debut CD scheduled for release in October and the video already done for the sparkling single "Honky Tonk Queen." She also has another standout tune in "Let's Ride," a rollicking number that highlights both her rhythmic intensity and overall charisma and vocal personality. Last summer Timberlake recorded a three song EP, then later finished a 10-cut album that teamed her with veteran songwriter Danny White (Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers) with whom she joined forces penning some tunes while he produced the album. A video for "Honky Tonk Queen," which was produced by Chuck Howard and directed by Amanda Van Sandt, will also be available on various video platforms.
Aware that many performers relocate to Music City in order to achieve their goals, she's both willing to take the chance but wise enough to do it responsibly. "We had a great life and were happy prior to music," Timberlake concludes, "However we tried to start a family of our own without success and my perspective on life drastically changed. I grew up planning my adult life as far as school, marriage, a home and a family.
"But one day I woke up and realized that I was not in control, and couldn't plan every detail of my life. I realized that you must trust that God's plan is right and follow his lead even though it may not be what you want at the time. Through that I have found a new passion, entertaining through music. When I get on stage it is an adrenaline rush like no other and I love going on the road and putting on high energy shows. If that path someday brings me to Nashville, then I'll be thrilled and happy to come."