Curb recording artist Rachel Holder has been waiting for a certain day her whole career — and over the summer, it finally happened: The rising country songstress released her first EP.
Holder tells Billboard that actually having a physical product to promote — Shining Now, released exclusively at Walmart — is a dream come true.
“To go into Walmart and see my album there is absolutely breathtaking,” she said. “I never thought that would ever happen. When I was little, and going through records on my floor, looking at Tim McGraw, Dolly Parton or Shania Twain CDs, I thought, ‘I wonder what it would be like to actually have a CD of my own in stores?’ When I first saw the CD there, it wasn’t the finish line, but one of my goals had been met. It’s an amazing feeling to see your hard work beginning to pay off. You still have to continue to grow your platform, go on radio tours, and make new friends and fans, but to see that one thing you’ve worked so hard for is amazing.”
On release day, Holder said she was at the local Walmart in Ooltewah, Tenn., bright and early. “I just stood there and stared. I had approved the artwork but hadn’t seen the actual package. I was speechless. It was a pinch-me, almost crying moment. ‘Finally, it’s here.'”
As big of a day as it was for her, Holder jokes that not everyone in the store was as emotionally moved as she was. “It was funny. There was this girl I had gone to school with. She came up and said, ‘Hey, how are you?’ She told me that my dad was working with her family on building a house and stuff. I said, ‘That’s nice. Look, my EP just came out.’ She kept talking about the house and said, ‘Well, it’s good to see you,’ and just walked off. I stopped her and asked, ‘Are you going to grab a copy of my EP?’ She said, ‘I guess I could spend $4.’ It was funny, because I knew her in middle school and how she and her friends used to pick on me.”
Releasing her first single in 2012, the singer said that learning the art of patience has been key to continuing her climb in the business. “That’s a big thing for me. Being an only child, I didn’t have to share a lot. My parents are both very anxious, and I guess I get that from them. We want it to be then, and not later. Why couldn’t we have put the record out then, when ‘In Your Arms’ came out? Then, you learn about patience, God’s time — not ours. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned.”
The title track and current single is a song that she identifies with. “It’s one of those songs that talks about those dreams and plans that you have, and how your parents have to let you go and let the butterfly fly from the cocoon. I fell in love with the song once I listened to the words and what they actually talked about. It’s me, trying to live my dreams, and grow my platform, and be successful. I want my parents to be proud of me. It’s just my time to fly. When I do this song live, I usually dedicate it to the high school students that are graduating.”
Another song that has a special place in her heart is “I Think of You,” which she says made for quite an emotional recording session. “I remember recording it at Rosewood Studios in Tyler, Texas. We had the candles lit. I was crying when I sang this song, because it just puts me there where I think of so many people, whether it be your mother, your grandmother or your friends. It puts me in a Christmas mood. It’s definitely a winter song. If we ever did a video for it, I can see the snow on the ground and that person you’re thinking of. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lover. It could be a mom, a grandmother. It’s so open.”
As Holder continues her career climb, she stresses that one of the most important things to her is showing her appreciation for the gifts she has been blessed with. “It has been a lot of work and a lot of fun. I don’t regret one minute of it. I’ve enjoyed it all. There’s always going to be ups and downs — in any business. If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.”