Live with Lizzy!- Rachel Yamagata


One of our fabulous critics, Laurella Jose, loves hearing live music and seeing local bands play. We've had the demand to cover the music scene in Hong Kong for years but didn't have a passionate, music lover with the skills to take it on. We present a new series to HKELD called, Live with Lizzy!

Lizzy will be talking to us weekly about music events she attends, Hong Kong's developing indie scene and bands she loves.


One of Hong Kong’s biggest music events is coming up. Clockenflap is going to be held at the West Kowloon Cultural District from the 27th to 29th of November. A lot of interesting bands and artists are lined up for the exciting weekend. The likes of A$AP Rocky, Clean Bandit, Chic are expected to take the stage this year. 

I was lucky enough to score an interview with Rachael Yamagata, pop singer songwriter. The soul behind beloved tracks like Happenstance’, ‘Elephants’, ‘Chesapeake’ is one highly anticipated in the Clockenflap line up this year. 

With the release of her new album this Autumn, it’ll be great to see some of her new songs performed live together with some for her earlier stuff. 

Rachael is on at 4pm on November 28th (Saturday), on the big Harbourflap Stage. It's definitely something I’m anticipating! I asked her a few questions, garnering some insight into the process, the feelings and the progression of her music. 

Can you describe the last time you had a sudden and fleeting burst of passion? When was the last time you were truly inspired?

I’m currently on tour in the U.S. and I have bursts of inspiration during the live shows.  Every night my goal is to plug into the spontaneous nature of that particular performance and find the inspiration in the crowd, music and mood of the band – all of it.  If I find myself self-conscious or in my head then it triggers this drive to turn it around and transform the experience into something completely open.  That connection with the music and the audience and myself is my quest when I get onstage and it drives me.   I also just recently heard ‘Father John Misty’ and loved it.  That record floored me on first listen.


Is there something you have to keep close when you’re in your creative groove?

Space.  For the writing process I need to be alone.  For the band/ recording stage I need food and drink close for everyone and the absence of cell phones.


I’m a senior in high school; can you describe yourself at that time in your life in terms of music, development, emotions?

I really felt lonely in high school.  I dreamt of getting out.  I didn’t know what I wanted, but could recognize what wasn’t right.  I’d play piano in dark auditoriums during free periods and that released me in this beautiful way.  I did it because I loved it, but hadn’t even started writing music yet.  I didn’t find music as a career until very late in the game.  The change from high school to college and from your 20s to your 30s and on is dramatic, however your personality really does develop a lot in high school.  Your life choices as you get older further shape who you become.  If I could go back to my high school self I’d tell her to stop worrying so much and to laugh a bit more.  I’d say trust the oddness of your path and embrace it.


Is there something/someone that impacted you during your teen years that still resonate in your music or life?

My family with all of their complexities and loveliness shaped me so much.  Every bit of compassion that comes out in my music stemmed from learning about them and loving with them.


I believe that people who are driven very much by creativity always have growth and development ahead of them. Is there any particular aspect of life, if not your music, that you think you are headed towards growth with? How is this influencing your songs, specifically on your new album?

I think my expression/ message to the world thru music is developing.  When I started writing songs I was very focused on love relationships and as I’ve gotten older my direction has become more universal.  I’m writing now about our internal drive to follow our passions, owning your choices in life, unapologetically, and defining who you are, releasing the baggage of your history… that kind of thing.  There is a newfound strength and sass to what I’m doing.  


We’re really looking forward to seeing you perform during Clockenflap this year, is there something that you are looking forward to with regards to the music scene in Hong Kong?

I’m just so excited to get to be a part of this festival.  It will be my first trip to Hong Kong and what a great way to experience it with all of these amazing artists.




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