When singer/songwriter Raquel Cole was a teenager she took a trip to Nashville.
“I had family that lived in Nashville and they invited me to come down and write some songs. I was young and new to writing, and I really only wrote by myself,” the Vernon native recalled.
Still in high school at the time, Cole had been singing and playing the guitar for years but had never experienced anything quite like Music City.
“I immediately fell in love with the culture of co-writing songs in Nashville,” she said. “I went to the Grand Ole Opry for the first time and that was my first introduction to country music and I started following that path.”
That country music pathway is one the Vernon-born singer/songwriter has followed successfully ever since, having opened for the likes of Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner, The Band Perry, and Diamond Rio, and written a Billboard Top 10 Country Album charting song. It also saw her relocate from B.C. to Nashville full-time, a move that came at the expense of attending Capilano University.
“For a long time, I kind of regretted not going to university but at the same time, I was on the road with Josh Turner touring and demoing songs I was writing. So, you pick the path and you end up where you end up,” said Cole, who was named the CCMA Discovery Artist in 2015 and included on CBC-Radio Canada’s 25 under 25 list in 2017.
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Starting Monday (Oct. 24), Cole will be performing on Vancouver Island for four nights with Washboard Union as part of their Everbound Tour, which has seen them play across Canada and will see them perform in Campbell River, Duncan and Nanaimo this week before travelling onwards to Quesnel.
“I cannot tell enough what a joy has been to open for them and what incredible performers the Washboard Union guys are,” said Cole. “They’ve been so gracious to be on the road and they’re so entertaining. I’ve learned so much from them.”
Earlier this month, Cole, who describes her sound as country pop with a little bit of soul, released her newest single, Hate That I Need You, which was written for those who have a hard time admitting that they need someone. Cole hadn’t originally planned to release the single as soon as she did, but after playing it on the road over the past year, she changed her mind.
“I was playing it on the road, this last year with Washboard Union and it was the song everybody loves, everybody was reposted on social media and I felt like I should just give the people what they want,” she said. “I had a different song, I thought I would release that. So going out on the road, and playing them live really helped me kind of decide what to release.”
In 2018, Cole released an EP called Personal Truth, and followed that up with a couple of singles including Think About You in 2021, and is working towards releasing her next record
“We’re living in this funny world where it’s like, you know, everyone’s like put just put singles out and whatever, but I put out my EP a few years ago because I needed a body of music,” said Cole. “With one song, you can’t tell your whole story and I definitely have more of my story that I still want to share.”
When Cole looks back at her decision to move to Nashville and pursue her dreams, she has no regrets and is grateful that she is able to continue to tell her story.
“I am still doing music and I think that is a testament that it’s worked out so far, and the last couple of years, in particular, have been really special,” she said. “Music chose me, I didn’t choose music and I feel like I could have gone anywhere and music would have dragged me back.”
Raquel Cole performs with Washboard Union at the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River on Oct. 24 and 25, the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan on Oct. 26, and the Port Theatre in Nanaimo on Oct. 27. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.raquelcole.com/tour.