Rachel Platten on her powerful anthems and the advice she got from Taylor Swift

By Erica Cupido

Rachel Platten is a fighter. The singer-songwriter known for “Fight Song” and “Stand By You” has been making music for years, but it was the release of her breakthrough album Wildfire that skyrocketed her to pop stardom.

Now, she’s performing all over the world, including Toronto on Mar. 16, to crowds of fans who are moved by her empowering anthems. “I think the biggest thing in my life that’s changed is [that I feel like] all the effort, all the hard work I put in meant something and worked,” she tells Hello!. “Everything I dreamed of has happened.”

The in-demand singer’s already hitting the road and shows no signs of slowing down. Here, she fills Hello! in on inspiring fans, her personal “fight song” and the advice she received from Taylor Swift.

Your album is so uplifting! What inspires you when you’re writing songs? Everything. My life, what I see, experiences with friends and at work. Things that hurt, pain and things that lift me up. Art, books and poetry – everything!

Do you think encouraging songs like that are missing in pop music today? I love pop music. I just think there’s so much good stuff out there. I just know that I’ve always written from my heart. Sometimes I think it can feel good to write party songs or about going out and dressing a little, less than conservative. I think there’s a place for that in pop music and that’s awesome. That’s just not what I do. I have never done that. So I think that my place in the songwriting world is to talk about how I see the world, what I’m feeling and my inspiration.

What do you hope fans take away from listening to Wildfire? I hope fans take away feelings of togetherness, that they’re not so alone in that pain and hurt that we all feel. I think we often think that the tough things that we’re going through are unique, but they’re not. They’re universal. I love the quote, “Be kind, because everyone’s fighting a great battle.”

What’s the most meaningful feedback you’ve received so far? It’s from the people who write me and tweet me everyday saying that a song saved their life. I just got one from a girl who said she lost her leg and “Fight Song” inspired her to get up and walk again. It’s mind blowing.

When you were growing up what was your ‘fight song?’ I had a bunch. I would say “Survivor”by Destiny’s Child.

You’ve performed with Taylor Swift. Did she give you any advice? She gives me advice a lot. Just before the album came out, I was looking at my schedule and it was really scaring me. I reached out to her saying, “Is this part of it? Is this crazy?” She said, “This is completely part of it. You only release a record once. You’re going to give everything you have.” I’m going to pour everything I have into this, because I’ve worked my whole life to make this record.

Rachel performed with Taylor Swift during her 1989 tour. Photo: Getty Images

If you could get a tattoo of any of your lyrics, which would it be? Oh, I love that question. Well I don’t know if I’d tattoo it, but my favourite lyric on the album is, “After all we’re only one triumphant bang away, from resting in infinity or darkness or some brighter place. Let's not waste one more second on caring about, trying to figure out what looks right.” This is a lot but it’s from “Astronauts.” It’s about [the fact that it] all could end so don’t care what people think. And if you want to love someone, love that person and if you want to follow your heart, follow your heart. Don’t be scared.

Who is someone you’d love to perform with some day? I always say Sia but I don’t know if that’s working, I keep putting it out there. I haven’t heard from her yet! [Laughs]

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