How near death experience drives singer and reality TV star who discovered her love of entertaining in Edinburgh
From starring as Wednesday Addams at the King's to busking during the Festival and making her live debut supporting Cameron Barnes, singer and soon to be reality TV star Rachel White has many reasons to be thankful to Edinburgh.
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A rising music talent with two singles to her name already and third on the way, it was here that the Kinross-raised singer/songwriter first got the performing bug.
At the age of just 13, she attended Razzamataz Theatre School in Corstorphine before winning a place at the Gie It Laldy summer camp, run by Alana Macfarlane, one half of Love Island DJ double-act The Mac Twins, and Dalkeith musical theatre favourite Keith Jack, who found fame in the BBC talent search, Any Dream Will Do.
It was at Razzamataz that her passion for singing “really started,” she says, and where she met her “childhood bestie” Claire, now best known as Edinburgh pop star Bow Anderson - the pair used to film YouTube singing videos together.
“Razz was the catalyst for me following in my career and I’ll forever be thankful for my time there as a kid,” she beams.
Going on to study at the Capital's MGA Academy between 2013 and 2016, she landed a principal role in the UK premiere of The Addams Family musical and performed for Britain's Got Talent star Susan Boyle and fashion guru, Gok Wan.
The 26-year-old, who who releases new single, You Don’t Want Me Anymore, on Friday, January 14, adds, “My most recent connection to Edinburgh was when I played my first ever live gig, supporting Cameron Barnes - it was bloody amazing.”
Now London-based, White's new single follows the success of earlier releases, Over It and Crush, both of which saw her create waves in the music industry and in the 18 months she has lived in London she has also landed a place on the ITV 2 reality series, The Cabins, which will be aired on Monday, January 17 - the show sends singletons on the most revealing first date of their lives, throwing out the rule book and deleting their dating apps as they attempt to find true love.
She reveals, “I am so nervous but also very excited to see what they show. I hope I come across okay and represent Scotland well.”
Laughing, she adds, “Spoiler alert! I didn’t find love but I had the most incredible time and have come out with an amazing friend. It was such a surreal experience to literally be filmed 24/7... yes, even in the bathroom and bedroom.
“There was no TV or music or digital entertainment to stop awkward silences, but I’m quite chatty so that was absolutely fine. With everything that happened over the last year, I was just so grateful to have participated. The Cabin itself was amazing. So luxurious and beautiful and it’s something I’ll never forget.”
Love also plays a big part in the new single which was recorded in her bedroom in Clapham, after a health scare last November.
She recalls, “I had a health scare in August. I was in hospital and had to undergo emergency surgery. That made something about the relationship I was in really apparent and made me reflect about a lot of things.”
Explaining what happened, she elaborates, “I was playing a gig in my hometown when I started to get a small pain in my upper stomach.
“I thought I had indigestion or something but the pain never went away and continued to get worse until I couldn’t stand up straight. Because it was a weekend we ended up phoning NHS 24 and I’m so glad we did. I was given an appointment at 4pm on the Saturday afternoon at an out of hours clinic where they gave me a shot of morphine and told to go straight to hospital as the doctor suspected appendicitis.
“From there I can’t remember much but I had blood tests, an X-ray and a CT Scan which showed my appendix had already ruptured. I had surgery at 3.30am on the Sunday morning. I stayed in hospital for five days but only discovered how serious my condition was when I was discharged.
“I was told my appendix had popped during the gig and I was lucky to be alive. I guess something like that really puts everything into perspective and makes you appreciate how fragile life is. My new outlook on life became ‘life’s short so why not’.”
That new ethos led to her latest single, she explains, “I’ve had my heart broken before many times but never really had to be the one to do the heart-breaking, so this song came about when I didn’t know how to let someone down.”
Inspired by artists such as actor/singer Hailee Stenfield, musician Holly Humberstone and singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes, White hopes to inspire her fans to learn from what life throws at them.
“I would love people to take whatever inspiration they want from my music and this song in particular. I hope they know they aren’t alone, however they are feeling. Love is amazing but it can be hard. The main thing to take away from it is that you always learn something, so trust that you’ll continue to grow and move forward.”
Despite her near death experience, performing live remains her first love.
“It’s genuinely my favourite thing to do – for three years I even busked at the Fringe, rain or shine. In fact I actually have footage of myself and Claire [Bow Anderson] busking together there.
“I get super nervous right before performing but as soon as I get on stage it’s the best feeling in the world. When I played Cameron Barnes’ show at The Mash House last October I was overwhelmed to have people singing along. That it was the first show since coming out of hospital made it even more special.”
You will also be able to catch Rachel White in ITV 2's reality telly series, The Cabins, on Monday, January 17
You can pre-save You Don’t Want Me Anymore here