"...just the right amount of jazz, blues, and a modern edge, the duo brings out the best in each other.” - Playback: STL
Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran create music as vibrant and diverse as their multiracial backgrounds. Rachel’s rich, powerful vocal delivery and Thu’s dynamic guitar arrangements provide the backbone for the duo’s swinging, soulful and heartfelt songs that tell emotionally honest and compelling stories. Their identities as mixed-race-Mexican-American and first-generation-Vietnamese-American (respectively) subtly inform the inclusionary, modernist perspective of their lyrics, which provide “smart commentary on social attitudes” (Pasadena Weekly), while their music and melodies cut across decades of classic American song forms, bending and blending genres to produce a unique sound with a fresh, clever and distinct approach to the classic traditions of American jazz, folk and blues.
After meeting in San Francisco in 2006, they moved to Los Angeles in 2008 and began writing and performing music together. The duo started out crafting simple folk songs, but as their songwriting developed, they began to incorporate influences from different eras of jazz and pop music, which led to the creation of their unique, vibrant, “sophisticated but playful” sound (BuzzBands LA). “His guitar shimmies and swings like Django Reinhardt while her voice wraps around each note, swaying in unison like a modern-day Ella Fitzgerald.” (Nooga). And while their music hints at these vintage styles, the writing remains modern and relevant - “a breath of musical fresh air” (Playback: STL)
In 2012, the duo won the West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest in the Miscellaneous category for their recording of The Art of Missing You – “…a delightfully poised and melancholic classic jazz ballad that Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday would have gladly wrapped their wounded souls around.” (Americana-UK)
In 2014, The Singer and The Songwriter released their critically acclaimed, debut full-length LP, What a Difference a Melody Makes, produced by Charlie Stavish (Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis) with mixing and mastering by Brooklyn collective, Mason Jar Music (Lucius, Feist and Andrew Bird). Debuting at #34 on the CMJ Jazz Top 40 Charts, the album has been critically praised as “diverse, confident, stylish and accomplished” (Americana-UK), “a revelation” (Pittsburgh In Tune) and “an opus worthy of national attention” (Playback: STL).
In March 2016, The Singer and The Songwriter released their sophomore EP, Ballads for Trying Times, produced by Griffin Rodriguez (Beirut). This latest release is being praised as “a delectable listen, an emotional journey down a sullen, yet hopeful trail. Garcia and Tran bring together songs that appear written just for the listener, and no one else.” (Playback: STL). The songs on the EP are described as “baroque lullabies that move along with an ease and fluidity that showcases their musical maturity and sensibility.” (The Deli LA) The deeply personal record highlights the duo’s strengths as writers and performers: “Garcia's rich, warm voice wraps around you like the softest quilt and Tran's subdued guitar shines at all the right moments, creating somber tracks that are more than palatable and necessary.” (Bitch Media)
The duo are currently touring nationally. Of their live show, The Eastsider LA writes: “Tran’s […] colorful playing style paired wonderfully with the dramatic and soulful voice of his partner in crime. It was clear that underneath Garcia’s cafe-jazz voice lay a rich, billowing and powerful vocal onslaught. This duo’s set of original material did clearly mine the annals of Gypsy Jazz (as well as ‘60s folk) for inspiration. However, The Singer and The Songwriter are a Los Angeles original.