For around eight years, Rachel Reinert saw her identity wrapped around the band Gloriana. She was the lead female vocalist for the trio (which began as a quartet) that formed in 2008 and scored major hits like “Wild at Heart,” “Wanna Take You Home” and “(Kissed You) Good Night.” It was a successful group that toured continually, with such acts as Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts, made TV appearances on The Bachelorette and Hart of Dixie, and won an ACM award for Top New Vocal Group. But Reinert had dreams beyond Gloriana and in early 2016, she announced that she was leaving the band to pursue a solo career.
Reinert released a few singles, “Cool” and “Dark Star” in 2018 and “All We Have” in 2019. Now, she’s come full circle with her first solo album project, “Into the Blue,” released in March 2020. The album covers quite a bit of emotional territory, from the insecurities chronicled in “Dark Star” to the insightful “All We Have” and the ultimate happiness found in “Some Kind of Angel” and “Ocean.” The selections, all co-written by Reinert, detail her real-life ups and downs as she ponders where she fits into the world, both career-wise and on a personal level. That’s perhaps a hint behind the all-encompassing nature of the album’s title.
“I wanted the title to be something meaningful,” says Reinert. “The title came from a line in the song ‘Ocean’ from the album. To some, blue is a happy color, or it can mean feeling down or sad. I was looking at ‘blue’ as representing truth and reflection. The songs are about my experiences over the last four years.”
Following her departure from Gloriana, Reinert took some time away from the industry to recharge and plan for her next steps. The break was definitely necessary. She was basically thrown into a whirlwind when she joined Gloriana, at the still-tender age of 18. “We were on the bus right away,” she recalls. “It was constant touring. You hardly ever had a break. It was fun and I enjoyed it,” she hastens to add, “but it was very isolating. My reality outside of the band was non-existent. I toured almost eight years with them and that was all I knew.”
Removed from the glory days of Gloriana, Reinert was thrown smack dab into the face of some challenging real-world difficulties. Facing financial hardship, she had to sell her Nashville area home and some of her possessions. People that she thought could be counted on were nowhere in sight when the fame and money went away. Reinert wrote about those times in “All We Have,” which serves as a reminder of what is truly important in life.
“I had just sold my house,” she recalls. “That turned out to be a time when you really find out who your friends are. What the song is saying is that life is not about fame or what you own. It’s about who you are as a person and what you give back.”
Perhaps the most honest testament from “Into the Blue” comes with the song “Dark Star.” That was written about the split from the band and Reinert’s desire to become a solo artist, and the fears in the aftermath of that decision. In the song, Reinert confesses to actually being afraid that she might be forgotten, a sobering admission for someone still in her twenties and certainly in the prime of life. “I get afraid I’ll be remembered/ Not for the fire, but the embers,” Reinert plaintively sings. “I was scared of what was to come,” she describes. “There were moments of insecurity after leaving the band. When we were writing the song, I was processing everything that had happened and coming to terms with my reality. I was feeling down about stuff but it felt good to get it out.”
Writing the album, Reinert will allow, provided some needed therapy. “It helped me get over some difficult times,” she says. Her particular songwriting collaborations with the album’s producer Davis Naish and fellow writer Melissa Fuller proved especially cathartic. The threesome co-wrote five of the album’s 11 cuts, including “All We Have” and “Secret,” also released as a single.
“It started out as a friendship with them,” Reinert notes. “We began writing and I found that I could bare my soul to them, and it made me feel so much better and more comfortable. Davis is really good at pushing me. A good example of that is ‘Kiss on the Cheek,’ which is actually about an industry person who was leading me on. Davis really got me to open up about it.”
Happier times have since occurred for Reinert, as she married her longtime boyfriend Caleb Crosby, formerly the drummer in the Gloriana band, last year. She wrote about their love story in the tune “Secret,” which is as true-to-life as it gets. The two did not reveal their relationship right away, as stated in the opening line, “Nobody knows your clothes are hanging up in my closet.” “Some Kind of Angel” and “Ocean” were also written about her husband.
“There was so much self-discovery with this album,” Reinert says. “I just know that everything I went through led me to be my most authentic self. This was really a labor of love,” she adds, “and it’s great to see people diving into it.”
“Into the Blue” is available now. For more on Reinert, visit her website and follow her on social media.