“I’m going on my first headlining tour in February, and I get to have my own bus!” Rachel Platten exclaims during a chat with Fuse. “After years and years of touring in my mom’s car, that’s a big item on my list that I’m checking off.”
Patten spent 2015 ticking off a bunch of enviable boxes: national TV appearances, a performance at a stadium show alongside Taylor Swift, a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 chart. The latter, “Fight Song,” was the impetus for Platten’s breakout year, and serves as the driving force of Wildfire, her new studio album released on Jan. 1.
Fans of “Fight Song,” which peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100, will find that the single’s blend of anthemic hooks and patient vulnerability is carried over on Wildfire, Platten’s first release on Columbia Records. The 34-year-old singer-songwriter released two albums prior to the label deal and peddled her music independently for over a decade; for Wildfire, the album release process was drastically different than her previous full-lengths.
“In the past, it felt like I was working hard to get anyone’s attention, and asking favors,” Platten explains. “To be able to have a label behind me, a full team, and a top producer in Jon Levine was very different at its core. … The exciting part also was knowing people were going to hear it. It’s incredible knowing that we’re making art right now that’s going to be heard.”
“Fight Song” was written at a point in which Platten considered giving up on her musical career, after years of trying to break through unsuccessfully. She says that, now that she’s developed a presence on Top 40 radio, she has to sometimes look to other means for motivation as a performer.
“I was in a dance rehearsal yesterday, and I had just read a review of the album that wasn’t very flattering,” Platten recalls. “It hurt so much, and it wasn’t even that mean—I was just being sensitive. And my dance instructor said, ‘Good. Use that when you’re rehearsing the song. Find that energy that made you write the song, that you had to fight for yourself because other people didn’t believe in you.’ It’s harder to feel that energy because a lot of people do believe in me now. It was just a good reminder that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I believe in myself, and I want to spread this message of love and empowerment, and you can accept that or not.”
Platten is promoting the single “Stand By You,” and will kick off her headlining tour on Feb. 26 in Dallas. What else is on her to-do list for 2016, then?
“I would love to do a tour 10,000-to-15,000 capacity spaces,” she says. “I’d love to do more late-night shows—I just did James Corden, which was such a blast. And I’d love to do SNL. That’d be incredible.”