West Virginia native Rachel Proctor

West Virginia native Rachel Proctor finds growing success as a singer and songwriter in Nashville.

Rachel Proctor is one of country music’s brightest stars. While the Charleston native has yet to become a household name as a performer, she has already found substantial success as a songwriter.

Since leaving West Virginia for the rowdy streets of Nashville, the country music capital of the world, Proctor has made her presence known by becoming the youngest songwriter ever signed to a publishing deal with Warner Chappell music. Her later stint with Murrah Music though is where Proctor found her songs recorded by artists like Tanya Tucker, Sonya Isaacs, and Martina McBride, among others.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have had some of Nashville’s best singers record my songs,” Rachel recalls when asked about her feelings towards other artists interpretations of songs she has written. She continues, “It’s a rush to hear someone else’s interpretation of my lyrics and melodies.”

Since leaving her label home at BNA Records (part of the RCA label group, for which she recorded one album in 2002) though, Rachel has found new life as a performer. Rejuvenated and ready to take on the world, her new EP, “Only Lonely Girl,” is turning heads everywhere. Featuring six wonderful, radio friendly country pop songs, the album is sure to widen her audience, proving her a lasting voice in modern music.

“I think ‘real life’ is the theme for this EP,” Rachel begins, “I try to write songs that relate to the everyday experiences that people have because when I buy a new CD that’s what I hope to hear. I think that people want to hear songs that they can relate to on a personal level and I hope my music does that for the people who listen to it.”

For this EP, Rachel spent a lot of time working with her husband, musician John Lancaster. “John always pushes me lyrically and melodically in the right direction. Writing with him is a blessing. I feel like he’s helped me to discover my true direction artistically,” she says of the experience.

Her work with Lancaster certainly has provided a superbly intimate feel to the majority of this EP, a trait too often missing from the pop country genre.

Like many of us, for Proctor, maturity has come with age. Once a star-struck, Nashville-bound teen, she has learned a lot since her move to the big city. When your dreams begin to realize your upbringing kicks in. How you were raised keeps you grounded when big name artists are singing your songs on the radio and when your own performances prove you have fans of your own.

“I love West Virginia,” Proctor says excitedly. “I wouldn’t have turned out the way I did if it hadn’t been for growing up in a small community there. It provided me with a solid foundation to build on for sure.” Also expressing her thanks to the fans that followed her career so far, Proctor reiterates, “I hope to make West Virginia proud.”

From the gentle understanding of “The Noise” (a song about a rough divorce) to the sweet and comfortable groove of “Cool Water,” “Only Lonely Girl” has “hit record” written all over it. While backed by slick production and strong musicianship, this EP all comes down to two things, great songwriting and one of the best voices in country music. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from Rachel Proctor.

You can learn more about Rachel and the “Only Lonely Girl” EP at www.RachelProctor.net.

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