It’s hard to believe that Sistersong was originally released in 1998, exactly 20 years ago. I wrote it when I was a very idealistic, earnest and determined young woman, inspired by my discovery of the brilliant and insightful Ani DiFranco’s music. When I heard her songs in college, I had recently been sexually assaulted, and my perception of the world and everything around me was completely in flux. The honesty in her lyrics astounded me, and her raw, soulful voice gave me hope that someone else knew what I was going through and that I could not only survive, but thrive by finding my own voice and exploring my uniqueness from every angle.
As a bisexual woman, I also admired her courage too in having the guts to be a joyful, shameless role model simply by living her truth. In including a brand new 20th anniversary version of Sistersong on my new album, it is my hope that this anthem of female empowerment and sisterhood is a source of joy, empowerment and comfort in a time with the #MeToo movement and women’s marches have brought so many of our collective challenges to the forefront.
I have always believed that women should uplift and support one another and have been involved in women’s theatre groups and women’s musical collectives for decades. But young girls can be especially cruel to one another, especially when someone is just a little bit different or doesn’t confirm to arbitrary perceptions of what’s cool or “normal”.
I experienced severe bullying at the hands of young women in my school days, and it was a revelation once I was grown that women could not only be kind, non-competitive and supportive of one another, but that we could create a sense of community and safety for each other that could greatly enrich each other’s lives. During Pride Month, I hope we can all take enormous heart in the huge strides we have made in the global LGBTQ+ community, and also gather strength for whatever challenges we may be facing individually or as a community.
Rachael’s brilliant new single Spark will be available to stream and download from July 6, 2018.