New York singer songwriter Rachael Sage is soon to release her next album, Pseudo Myopia.  Many of the songs featured on Rachael’s previous album, 2018’s Myopia and the difference here is that all the songs are acoustic which adds more subtle layers to the already ethereal sound of Rachael’s vocals and melodies.  The beauty and simplicity of the arrangements showcase the complex stories told by Rachael’s thoughtful lyrics and of course, having the songs as acoustic numbers allows the rawness of the music to shine.

The album’s title has a personal meaning for Rachael, who is legally blind without corrective lenses. Due to this, she has teamed up with Vision Aid Overseas to help provide glasses to people living in low- and middle-income countries. A staggering 1.2 billion people worldwide cannot see clearly because they do not have a pair of glasses, and 89% of those people affected live in low and middle-income countries. Vision Aid Overseas have been working across Africa for over 30 years, helping some of the world’s poorest and most isolated communities to access affordable and sustainable eye care services and glasses so that children can learn properly in school and adults can work and earn a living to provide for their families. Rachael says about the partnership, “It’s a privilege and an honour to be representing such an important organization. As a visual artist who has been legally blind without glasses for most of my life, I certainly know just how life-changing the resources are that Vision Aid Overseas provides, and I’m eager to do whatever I can to cast light on the vital work that they do.”

The album focuses on the concept of vision (Myopia is more commonly known as short sightedness) and expands it to include narrow mindedness.  The title of Pseudo Myopia is used as a metaphor to describe society’s often short-sighted approach to diversity and difference, whilst the album as a whole shows us that bigotry in all forms can be challenged and changed. Throughout, listeners are encouraged to explore and challenge the prejudices that they are privy to, whilst at the same time acknowledging that this is not easy.

Tomorrow‘ is the best example of this, with the song looking at our relationship with the truth – in essence, asking what is truth through the perspective of patriotism and nationhood.  These are some of Rachael’s most thoughtful lyrics:

“Vision is a euphemism for blindness, Brave is a euphemism for bleak, but tomorrow is blue skies”

Beginning with what seems like a bleak premise of society today, Rachael takes this darkness and suffuses it with hope (“tomorrow is blue skies”, choosing to focus on the changes we can all make as individuals: “believe in your voice”.

Sistersong‘ is a song that celebrates female empowerment and while it could be argued that we shouldn’t need a song to celebrate this in 2019 (how long since Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin were doing it for themselves?), it’s still a great exploration of womanhood today.  The jaunty melody is upbeat and matches perfectly the message of sisterhood in song, even whilst detailing the sometimes unrealistic expectations (from both sexes) of what women should be.

Rachael’s music has grown a huge fan base with her thoughtful, often witty lyrics that cover a multitude of themes and adheres to the theory that music should not just entertain but should also say something that lasts. ‘PseudoMyopia‘ is a strong addition to Rachel’s discography.

Rachael’s advice for young musicians was given to us a few years ago but still stands up to scrutiny:

“One of the things that I would really advise is to go out to open mics or intimate performances, just find that safe space where you can keep trying stuff and making mistakes. Perform as often as you possibly can for an audience, however large or small. Give yourself that latitude to keep experimenting, keep trying and pushing yourself without it being necessarily the most professional context. The more leeway you have to figure out who you are and learn how to connect with an audience, those are invaluable lessons. Then when you finally do get to the next level and it’s your own show, you’re touring, you know who you are and it just makes it so much more of a pleasure to be a performer.”

PseudoMyopia is released on July 26th on MPress Records. Get your copy here.

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