So many times we give up on our dreams because of deadlines we put on ourselves. There have been plenty of moments when I felt like things were taking too long or like I was getting too old.
It’s those moments we need to look within and understand why we are doing it. Find our real purpose.
Do you want to be an author to hit the New York Times bestseller list or because you want to have people read your work? Is it because you want your message out there or so that you can make your profile bio look great? My feeling is that your purpose should always be to serve. Serving other people brings fulfillment to yourself. Reaping the material rewards is just a bonus.
Remember, you’re never too old. It’s never too late for your dreams to come true. Our guest today, Rachel Platten, didn’t reach her mega-success in music until she was 32 – when most people would have given up on their dreams.
Rachel is an incredibly hard working person. She kept pushing and pursuing her dreams for over ten years before anyone noticed. She was doing small intimate gigs and performing for people in hospitals.
When her hit song Fight Song came out it wasn’t an instant success. She was devastated and lost in her definition of success.
She was certain it would sell millions of records and hit the charts. After reaching an all-time emotional low, feeling her only chance passed her by, she began to reflect on herself.
The reason she got into making music was because she loved it for herself and she loved the connection it gave her with people. She came to the conclusion that playing hospitals and small venues was enough for her to feel happy.
After that revelation, it was only a few weeks later that her song became a hit. She let go of her ego and trusted in the process. Doesn’t sound like coincidence to me.
Discover all of Rachel’s incredible story and much more, on Episode 572.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 572 with Rachel Platten.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
Earl Nightingale said, “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
Welcome, my friends to today’s episode, with the incredible Rachel Platten, who is a singer and songwriter. She has released three independent albums between 2003 and 2014, before signing with Columbia records in early 2015.
Now, she rose to fame in 2015, with the release of the single, “Fight Song”, which peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100, topped the charts in the UK, peaked all over the world. She won an Emmy award for the live performance of the song on Good Morning America, and she’s got a new record out, a new album out, called, “Waves”, which just came out, featuring the hit single, “Broken Glass”.
Now, here is an inspiring individual, who has really done some things that I feel like most people aren’t willing to do. Most people aren’t willing to spend a decade of grinding hustling for a small audience, and then all of a sudden, rising to the fame that she’s got. And her song, Fight Song, really took off and has been kind of like the theme song for so many women over the last couple of years. And it’s just an inspiring story and so many good things have happened to her that couldn’t have happened to a better person.
Some of the things we talked about, in today’s interview are why it’s important not to seek validation outside of yourself. This is really challenging to do. I’ve been there myself, but the key to this, okay, we talk about that.
Also, how to stay committed to your vision, even when results aren’t happening for you. That’s right. It may not happen overnight, guys. Also, how to clear out the fear from your mind before a big gig, performance, or something where you have to show up. Why hard work beats talent, and all these people that talk about the excuse of maybe not having talent, I’m telling you, hard work is where it’s at. And also why Rachel believes in never giving up, even if you feel delusional about a dream.
Super pumped for this, guys. Make sure you tag your friends. Post this right now, that you’re listening to this on your Instagram Story, tag @rachelplatten, tag myself, @lewishowes over on Instagram, Twitter, send her some love and let her know that you’re listening.
Before we dive in, I want to give a shout out to the fan of the week and the review of the week. This is from Preston, who said, over on iTunes, “I am a junior in college, and over the last year I have had some hard lessons about life, about being an adult and dealing with real world problems. Along this journey I have struggled with some depression and social anxiety. The School of Greatness has cultivated a burning desire to pursue my passions and assume responsibility for my life. I have a desire to learn, to put my best foot forward, and help the world progress. Listening to this podcast and reading the book has been unsettling, in a good way, but it has given me the foundation to live a great life.”
So, Preston, super grateful for the review. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on the actions you’re taking on your life and the improvements you’re making . And if you guys want to be considered to be shouted out on the podcast, go ahead and leave a review over on iTunes, or just open up the podcast app on your iPhone and leave us a review, for a chance to be shouted out on the podcast.
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And also and overwhelming response for the new book. Now, we just launched “The Millionaire Morning”. This is a book that is a free guide. A guide to help you optimise your morning routine, to help you earn more money that day. If you want to learn the secrets and the habits of millionaires on the things they do, the actions they take, the way they think from the first couple of hours of the day that help to increase their income, the go get the free book at, themillionairemorning.com.
It’s free. All you got to do is pay for shipping. We ship all around the world, so you just click on international shipping if you’re not in the United States. Otherwise the book is free, you pay for shipping. And let me know when you get it, I’d love to hear the results you get in your life through applying the millionaire morning mindset. So, check it out, themillionairemorning.com.
Alright, guys! I’m super pumped about this and so excited, to bring on and introduce to you, the on and only Rachel Platten.
Welcome back, everyone to The School of Greatness podcast. We’ve got an incredible human being, Rachel Platten in the house! Good to see you!
Rachel Platten: Yes! My man!
Lewis Howes: We made it! I’ve been trying to get you on here for about a year since we had Andy on and tried to get Rachel on.
Rachel Platten: I am very hard to get… I’m just kidding! No, I really wanted you to. I don’t really know how it didn’t work out?
Lewis Howes: It’s all good. You just became, like, the biggest sensation in the world the last couple of years.
Rachel Platten: Stop! That’s not true. No, people are listening! I don’t even know who that is!
Lewis Howes: Touring everywhere, Fight Song everywhere, everything’s happening for you. It’s just, like, you’ve been non-stop, so it’s all good. Everything’s supposed to happen when it’s supposed to happen.
Rachel Platten: That’s true. That’s what I believe.
Lewis Howes: So, you’re here. You seem super chilled and relaxed.
Rachel Platten: I feel pretty chilled today.
Lewis Howes: It’s been an amazing year.
Rachel Platten: It has. It’s been a year, it’s been a Year.
Lewis Howes: What’s been the most, what’s the thing you’re the most grateful for and the most inspired by from this year so far?
Rachel Platten: I grew a lot this year.
Lewis Howes: How so?
Rachel Platten: Personally. I… Wow, we’re just diving into it. Okay.
Lewis Howes: Yes, we are. You listen to the show, you know what this is about.
Rachel Platten: I know, I know, I thought there was like a buffer, like, “Where are you from?” I wasn’t ready for this! What am I…? Okay. I think that I really have learned some lessons this year about seeking approval from the outside and how to stop that. And how that’s an endless chain of thinking that you’ll never be satisfied from, you know, you’re going to always be hungry for more and more and more. And I’ve learned to turn inwards. And I’m not all the way there, but I’m kind of like right in the middle of it, and I’m doing a pretty good job.
Lewis Howes: You seem pretty grounded. And centred.
Rachel Platten: Do I?
Lewis Howes: Yeah.
Rachel Platten: That’s good. I’ve had a tough three or four months, so I’m at a place now where I’m actually, I found a lot of peace recently and it’s not because of any outward success and it’s not because of any incredible achievement or anything. It’s actually because I had to do a lot of work to not need that for my happiness.
And now things are coming a little easier and they’re just, kind of, delighting me. Like, “Oh cool!” But it’s not making my whole world. So I do feel pretty grounded, right now. I’m glad that it seems that way.
Lewis Howes: So the biggest lesson for you this year is what?
Rachel Platten: Don’t look outside of yourself for approval. When you find it, it’s going to be fleeting and you’re going to be chasing it more and more. You need to find it from inside, and know that you’re enough.
Lewis Howes: I like that. Yeah.
Rachel Platten: And, goodbye.
Lewis Howes: I’ll see ya later. Now did you always feel like you were chasing outside approval for the last decade of pursuing your music career, and everything you’ve been up to?
Rachel Platten: I think I did a lot of that, yeah. I think, from when I was little, it was a lot about me looking around, to my parents, to my coaches. I love anyone giving me instruction, or I like getting better. I’m just a seeker, I just want to get better and I’m hungry to grow in any area that I can, so whether it’s looking for approval from sport coaches, or mentors, or voice teachers, or my parents, I’ve based a lot of my self-worth on other people telling me, “Yeah, you did a good job. You’re perfect!”
Lewis Howes: I can relate to that. I think a lot of us can.
Rachel Platten: That makes me sad. I wish that people couldn’t.
Lewis Howes: It’s hard to be ten years old and just be like, “I’m just going to find approval from within. And not care about what the outside world thinks about me.”
Rachel Platten: Yeah! Some kids are like that. Some kids are cool like that. But no, I wasn’t that cool. No. No way!
Lewis Howes: Now, I’ve been inspired by your story, because you’ve got a kind of similar story like Andy. Kind of. Andy Grammer. You guys just worked your butts off for years for, like, two people a day. He was busking in Santa Monica, right where you live now, near there, right? For four years before anything even happened. You’ve been doing this for, like, a decade, right?
Rachel Platten: Yeah, thirteen years.
Lewis Howes: Thirteen years?! How do you stay committed to your vision with not a lot of big hits or success?
Rachel Platten: You’re being kind. I had no hits! There was nothing going on.
Lewis Howes: For thirteen years?
Rachel Platten: Yeah. I mean, there’s two things. Not two, maybe three or four. I just like how people are on your show, like, “Two things!” So I want to be one of them! But, okay, one of them was: I really loved what I was doing. I loved making music, I loved writing songs and I loved performing. And I was performing. Even though it was small bars and doing covers three hours a night and hustling and bringing my 85pound piano all around the city.
When I was on stage, it didn’t matter what the stage was, I learned from friends in the city that the party was on stage. If anyone wanted to join me, awesome! So, I loved performing, and I was still performing.
The other reason was that I was really heavily involved in this charity called, “Musicians On Call”, and I sang, I still do, and I sing bedside to patients, you know, in hospitals.
Lewis Howes: Very cool! I love that about you.
Rachel Platten: Thank you. And I got to do that, maybe once a week, when I was really in the flow of it. And that was incredibly rewarding, and that reminded me, every time my ego would get in the way, it would remind me to shut that down and say, “Who am I to decide that this isn’t enough?” When I’m reaching one person, and I’m reaching them in a real way, why do I need more than that. So it would be a pretty good gut check and I’d be, like, “Ah, that’s just my ego.”
Lewis Howes: Wow! So, every week you would go to a hospital and sing songs for kids or any patients?
Rachel Platten: Yeah, bedsides are kids, yup, and seniors.
Lewis Howes: And sing to them. Did you do covers? Did you do your own stuff?
Rachel Platten: Yeah. I do my own stuff. They actually wanted me to do covers. Well, the patients didn’t care. I mean, they are sick and usually just grateful for music. But the program suggested covers, and I was, like, “You know what? I’m going to try out my songs on these patients.” So I’d be playing not fully formed songs for the patients. But it’s just love, you know, you’re just in there, in that room and no-one’s judging you, I’m not judging their condition, they’re not judging me and it’s really just a beautiful exchange of energy.
Lewis Howes: Wow. So, how long were you doing that, and when did you start doing that?
Rachel Platten: I started when I was 22, as soon as I moved to the city. Or maybe 23. I realised pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to make it as quickly as I planned in my head, and I was, like, “Well, I really want to play music, still. And I want to find a way to do good through the music I’m doing.”
It’s such a selfish, self-absorbed career. You’re just constantly thinking of you, and what people think of you, and how to get more famous and how to get more attention and that’s gross. And I noticed that I didn’t like the way it made me feel. And I know that doing charity did make me feel good.
I was always doing charity in high school and college and I wanted to combine the two. So, I looked online and I found this organisation.
Lewis Howes: That’s amazing. Isn’t it funny, I mean, I remember five, six years ago, my business was doing really well and I was like, “Well, I don’t feel like I’m giving back anything in any way. It’s just for me, right now.” And it was great because I was broke before and so it allowed me to have some financial freedom, but I felt like something was always missing. And when I found a charity that I really appreciated, Pencils of Promise, and I started really giving back in a big way, I was, like, “These are the most fulfilling moments.”
Rachel Platten: Yes! Way more! Way more than the moments that are what people tell you should be fulfilling. Like the awards and the audiences. It’s not that! It’s those one on one connections.
Lewis Howes: We’re going to get you down to Guatemala sometime with us.
Rachel Platten: I would really love to go, yeah!
Lewis Howes: We’re going to make it happen. You realised your passion for singing a long time before you made it in the mainstream, and I heard, I think I read it on your site, you talked about, you were a back-up singer in a big performance, when you were 22 or 23. Is that right?
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I think 19 or 20, yeah. So, you me to tell you the story?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, because it’s crazy, like how you were performing in front of 80,000 people.
Rachel Platten: Okay, so, I was in college, at Trinity, I wanted to do a study abroad program, I was an International Relations Major. And then in one of my classes, this amazing guy named Tony with huge dreads and this amazing accent came and he had this presentation about Trinidad. And something lit up inside of me. And the presentation was all about carnival, and the biggest carnival in the world is in Trinidad. Maybe second biggest to Rio, sorry. Or maybe it’s on par, I’m not sure, but it’s really, really big and really popular.
And I saw these images, and he talked about how music infused the culture there and it was just all about music, and I was starving for music. I had been shutting that part of me down. And so I saw this as a way to just secretly slip into it and see what would happen if I went to a place that was all about music, that communicated in music.
I went there and I was interning at the diplomat’s office and then I was also interning at a record lable, and the record lable had this band, and they were, like, I don’t know if I can say this, they were all, everyone smokes pot all the time, right? Okay, fine, fine. So we were, like, super high and then someone didn’t show up, it happened all the time, and it was this huge gig.
And they were like, “Does anyone in here…?” and they were freaking out. And I was, like, “Wait! I know the songs!”
Lewis Howes: No way!
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I’m like, “I know the songs!” I knew the piano parts.
Lewis Howes: New songs?
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I was like, “I can play! I can play and sing. They were like, “What, this white girl?” You know?
Lewis Howes: They let you play piano?
Rachel Platten: Wait… So, they were like, “No, dude, no, this girl can’t do it.” And I was like, “Guys, just give me a chance.” So we rehearsed.
Lewis Howes: You’re eighteen?
Rachel Platten: I think I’m nineteen or twenty. Yeah, so we rehearsed and they were like, “Okay, fine. You’ll do.” I don’t think they understood what a huge deal this was for me. I was freaking. So we get on stage, it’s the International Soca Monarch Finals. I didn’t know what the gig was, I was just going to go to some concert.
The International Soca Monarch Finals are, like, 80,000 people in the centre of Port of Spain and it was wild. And I got on that stage and I did not feel an ounce of fear. I felt completely on purpose. I felt completely at home. And the microphone in the front of the stage that the lead singer was about to grab, I was like, “How do I get that microphone? How do I get in the front of the stage?” And that was it!
Lewis Howes: Did you get to the front of the stage?
Rachel Platten: No, I was in back of the stage, but it was like…
Lewis Howes: Did you figure to yourself, “How do I get there at some point in my life?”
Rachel Platten: Yeah, in my head, I was like, “That’s what I want. This is what I’m supposed to do with my life.”
Lewis Howes: Were you always performing? As a kid? You said the music…
Rachel Platten: In choirs and a capella groups, in musicals. I was a dork.
Lewis Howes: I sang in a musical and in choir. I never did the a capella, because I was never that good. I just tried to blend in. I’m a secret Glee fan. I’m actually not a secret Glee fan, but I love Glee.
Rachel Platten: Lea Michele is one of my close friends. She is the best!
Lewis Howes: She’s unbelievable!
Rachel Platten: She’s the best. I’ll tell her to come on here.
Lewis Howes: I would love her to come on here. Amazing. Now, Glee, I was literally obsessed. Every week when Glee would come out, I would be, like, “Don’t mess with me, don’t call me, I need to watch Glee.”
Rachel Platten: Yeah, no, you’re a dork.
Lewis Howes: Until the last season, then it went kind of downhill a bit. But, great show. Anyways. I think I secretly loved it because I can’t do what they can do. So, I just appreciate it.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I know what you mean. Fixer Upper I love, because I can’t do what they do.
Lewis Howes: Fixer Upper is so good! Isn’t it sad it’s over?
Rachel Platten: What do you mean, it’s over?
Lewis Howes: Fixer Upper.
Rachel Platten: Chip and Joanna, what are you doing?
Lewis Howes: They’re shutting down the show.
Rachel Platten: Why?
Lewis Howes: I’m pretty sure. Aren’t they? I’m almost positive they shut they show down.
Rachel Platten: We need to pause the pod right now and dive into this.
Lewis Howes: I know, it’s horrible, right? No, it’s a great show.
Rachel Platten: It’s a great airplane watch.
Lewis Howes: Great airplane… Great at my place, just watching it. Yeah. Back to you. Okay. So, you sang in choir, you sang in musicals, you sang in a capella, then you mentioned something about music being disconnected from you life, or it kind of shut down. What happened? Why was it shut down, or was it just missing?
Rachel Platten: I didn’t grow up in a place that encouraged anyone to be an artist. I didn’t really have examples of artists around me. My dad’s an industrial psychologist and my mom’s a therapist and I grew up in a really, just kind of sweet town, and everyone went to graduate school and that was what everyone, not everyone, that was the path if you were doing well and succeeding, was to go to graduate school. Be serious.
And I didn’t have any examples around me. I didn’t know to reach for that. I didn’t know I could. And also, I didn’t know I was good enough. I was never told by anyone. I didn’t have any coach or teacher tell me, “You’re incredible! You should pursue this.”
Lewis Howes: Really? In choir? In musicals?
Rachel Platten: No. I mean, choir, when I was little I did. I was too young, no-one was like, “Leave school and go on Broadway.” They were like, “Yeah, you’re really good, you should try out for the solo in Ave Maria.” and I was like, “Done!” But it wasn’t like, “You’re incredible! Join local theatre.” No-one ever pointed me out and told me …
Lewis Howes: Till 80,000 people were screaming your name.
Rachel Platten: Yeah… They weren’t screaming… No, they weren’t screaming… I was like, “Yeah. They were screaming my name. No, wait! They weren’t!”
Lewis Howes: Take it back if they weren’t. So, you had this opportunity to go on stage in front of this many people, you had felt zero fear. Do you feel fear today when you’re on stage?
Rachel Platten: Well, not when I’m on stage, ever. Like, when I’m actually performing. I’m sure you hear this from performers all the time. Not in the middle. When I’m in the flow, no way. But moments before big things. I played on TV last night, or two nights ago, on a big TV thing, and I was scared. I was texting… I have this therapist who is an energy killer, so I was texting her, like, “Can you help me, can you send me…” and she’s like, “I’m sorry, sweetie, but those nerves are going to help you. You actually need that adrenaline. It’s going to help.” And I was like, “Okay.” And it was fine. I started singing and it was perfect.
Do you feel fear when you…
Lewis Howes: I speak sometimes? Yeah, before, a little bit before. I used to be terrified going on stage. But then I really practiced over and over until I overcame it.
Rachel Platten: Like Toastmasters?
Lewis Howes: Toastmasters.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I know.
Lewis Howes: She listens to the podcast. I love this!
Rachel Platten: I listen to the pod.
Lewis Howes: Toastmasters changed my life.
Rachel Platten: Anyway, I think we should call it The Pod. I’m really into calling it The Pod. I keep trying to make it happen, you’re not saying it.
Lewis Howes: The Pod. I like it. Pod. Cast, pod, yeah. Toastmasters saved my life, because I knew that I wanted to be able to share my message, but I was too scared to get in front of five people, and I was like, “Okay, I need to overcome this.” And you just got to practice your fear. You just got to do it over and over.
Rachel Platten: Yes! Hundred percent! I believe that! I do! I walk myself through moments. I visualise every single moment of a show, or a performance, and I walk myself through the entire thing, and I visualise it all going perfectly and me feeling peaceful throughout it, and powerful. Yeah.
Lewis Howes: So, who has been your greatest teacher, would you say?
Rachel Platten: I have a tough time with this one. I feel bad that I have a tough time with it, but I don’t know. I listen to people talk about their mentors and their influences, and I have a lot of artists that I look up to, but I don’t know if any of them were my biggest teachers.
I have a voice coach that’s been incredibly supportive and helped me with my confidence a lot over the past twelve years. His name is Breck Alan. He’s in Nashville for any of you aspiring…
Lewis Howes: Musicians, singers.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, musicians. I usually, if someone comes to me and they don’t have a lot going on in music that they want, they want more, I direct them to Breck first because I think the thing that he does best, besides being an incredibly intuitive voice teacher, is help you with your confidence.
And he helped me so much believe in myself and believe that the way that I sounded was unique and special and that I didn’t have to change my tone to sound like anyone else, I just had to develop the best version of my voice. And I think that’s really powerful because a lot of what you do in the beginning is imitation, and that’s good. It’s good to have people that you want to imitate.
But then, ultimately, you need to find your own sound and I think this is for any field. You need to find your own route, and your own path. And if someone is there telling you, “Yeah! What you have to give the world is valid and worthy and we want that. We want more of that. All you need to do is clear out the bullshit so that you have the best version of your unique gift that you can.” And that’s what he did for me.
Oh, so I guess in answering that, I kind of figured it out!
Lewis Howes: That’s great. He’s been a great teacher for you. When did you really start to believe in yourself.
Rachel Platten: I don’t know. I think I’m still working on that. I don’t know? I mean, I guess I believe…
Lewis Howes: Do you doubt yourself now?
Rachel Platten: Yeah! All the time. Do you? Doubt yourself?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, when I get nervous. I’m like, “Should I be doing this right now? Am I ready for this?
Rachel Platten: Yeah! Who doesn’t doubt themselves? I think that it’s healthy in a little bit of a… Maybe it’s not healthy, maybe I need to work on that, but I believe in my songwriting ability more than anything. I know I can write a song.
Lewis Howes: Writing a song.
Rachel Platten: Writing a song. I’m a songwriter first and I’m really proud of that ability, and I’m okay saying, right now, “I am a great songwriter.” I can deal with that sentence, and not freak out with my insides being like, “No, you’re not!”
I think I’m a really good singer. I think I’m a great live performer. You didn’t even make me do that. Why am I doing this?
Lewis Howes: What else are you great at?
Rachel Platten: I’m a great friend! Great dog-walker. I have a dog and I take him on great walks.
Lewis Howes: I’m sure you do. How do you develop this sense of belief and confidence in yourself? First off, how did you do it when no-one was watching for twelve, thirteen years? And then, how do you continue to do that, when everyone’s watching?
Rachel Platten: I really turn inward, and I really get quiet and I use meditation a lot and I journal and I have therapists and I have close friends and I have a lot of tools that I use when I’m doubting myself. That’s something that I’ve really gotten great at, is knowing what tools I need.
I think that that’s a really good trick for anyone in life trying to pursue anything. Knowing that, what are you going to turn to in those moments of doubt? And you have to set that up beforehand, so that when you’re in there, you’re not thrashing, looking around, you know, “Okay, I can meditate right now,” if that’s for you, or maybe not. “I can read inspiring books right now,” whatever your thing is. I can go to work out.
Lewis Howes: I can stretch, do a jog, call a coach. I call a coach before a big gig or something, I’ll call a coach and like, ground me. Give me the intention of why I’m here, what my mission is. I’m nervous, why am I nervous.
Rachel Platten: Yes. The mission thing is a big deal. That’s a big deal. Staying on purpose and on mission is really important for me to combat fears and ego stuff. Because if I can cut through that and figure out, “Wait, Rachel, why am I doing this in the first place?” I am doing this for, whatever your cause is, my cause is, and then I can clear out the fear. Because it’s like, “Who am I to block that?”
Lewis Howes: Yeah, exactly. I mean, I used to get really nervous for speaking gigs. And then I would over analyse afterwards. It’s like, “I messed up this, I forgot to say this, I’m sounded like an idiot here, I stuttered here,” and now I don’t over analyse, because I go into a speech just saying, “I’m going to mess up, but if I focus on giving to the audience and serving their needs.
Rachel Platten: That serving is the biggest deal.
Lewis Howes: Serving in the biggest way, then who cares how much I mess up? They’re going to feel a certain type of energy, and it doesn’t matter if I forget something or whatever.
Rachel Platten: Exactly!
Lewis Howes: I’m sure you probably do something similar, where you go and stage and like, “I’m just here to give.”
Rachel Platten: Exactly, that’s hundred percent. And it’s really not about me, it’s really about the exchange of energy on that stage, and it’s really about me getting out of the way, so that I can both channel and then give freely.
Lewis Howes: What’s been the most memorable moment on stage for you?
Rachel Platten: I think probably performing with Taylor Swift.
Lewis Howes: Ooh! When was this?
Rachel Platten: A year and a half ago.
Lewis Howes: That’s big! Does it get bigger than that?
Rachel Platten: I don’t know, I mean, that was pretty crazy! I have a funny story about it too. I was about to go on stage and I was going to be lifted up from the bottom, you know, on this crane thingy and I had never done that before and I was with the crane operator and I was, like, there was no-one to freak out with, and I was like, “Dude, this is crazy! Right?” and he was like, “I don’t know, lady, can you just stand still please, so I can buckle you in?” and I was like, “Let’s hug!”
Lewis Howes: He was like, “I’m union, don’t touch me.”
Rachel Platten: He was like, “Could you get off? Just chill.”
Lewis Howes: So, that moment of going up the crane? Or just performing with Taylor? Was there like, 80,000 or 100,00 people there?
Rachel Platten: I don’t know, I think maybe 65 or something.
Lewis Howes: Only?
Rachel Platten: I didn’t mean to say it like that. It’s not like I perform in front of such crowds all the time. I remember being lifted up to the stage and then seeing the lights, because she had this thing where everyone had these little sparkly lights that lit up together, and seeing them around me… I had envisioned that moment, every moment I envisioned, happened. By the way. Almost every moment.
But, so I had envisioned that moment, and when I felt it come true, it hit me, because I was so intentional and so clear about what I wanted to see, I recognised it in seeing it, and I was like, “This is it. This is the moment I was dreaming about.”
Lewis Howes: Did she call you? Her team call you? Or how did that happen?
Rachel Platten: I was in a writing session and she texted me. We had become friends and she was like, “What are you doing, during,” whatever, and I was like, “I don’t know, I think I’m…” I thought we were going to hang out, and she was like, “Want to come on stage with me?” and I was like, “Yes!”
Lewis Howes: Did you sing your own song? Or did you sing one of her songs?
Rachel Platten: My song. I sang Fight Song. Yeah!
Lewis Howes: No way! That’s crazy!
Rachel Platten: It was really cool! And I really did a good job too.
Lewis Howes: I’m sure you did.
Rachel Platten: I just, I didn’t freak out. Once again, I felt like, “Oh! This is where I’m supposed to be.
Lewis Howes: Whose opinion matters to you the most right now?
Rachel Platten: That’s a great question. Wow.
Lewis Howes: Is it your fan’s opinions, is it your family?
Rachel Platten: That’s such a good question, because honestly, it’s the work that I’m doing so much right now, internally. It’s like, not really needing other people’s opinions, and not really clinging to them so much. But maybe me three months ago can answer it a little more honestly, not honestly, but I was really hungry for public approval, and anyone outside of me’s praise when I was releasing the music in this fall.
So, I would probably say critics. I wanted a stamp of approval, like, “Yeah, you’re good and that’s just exhausting and dumb.
Lewis Howes: When did you realise you don’t need that anymore?
Rachel Platten: Recently. Recently like three weeks ago.
Lewis Howes: Really? How did this awareness come to you?
Rachel Platten: I had this crazy experience. I don’t know, it might be weird for this podcast, but okay, I had this crystal sound… I’m laughing because I’m such a hippie.
Lewis Howes: The balls? Of course, I’ve played the singing balls. I gave a speech at Unplugged and was playing them…
Rachel Platten: Was that at Unplugged?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, I was there three weeks ago.
Rachel Platten: Oh my God! That wasn’t you!
Lewis Howes: That was me. I was doing the whole thing.
Rachel Platten: So I’ve done sound healings before and one of my best friends has started them three years ago, before they became trendy, and we were like, “What are you doing?” And we would make sure we were using substances before. But I hadn’t done it sober before, but I had this really powerful experience. I don’t know, I just started understanding that the question I needed to ask was, “I want to align with…” this word’s tricky, because I know not everyone has the same vision of God, but I want to align with God’s vision of my life.
I want what God wants for my life. I don’t need anything more than to be on purpose. And whatever that looks like, it can’t be what my stupid human brain thinks it needs to look like. It has to be something bigger, and it’s like I keep defining it from Grammy’s and arenas and tours and opportunities and sales and it’s like, that’s not what this is about.
I don’t know. I just had this realisation that wasn’t what I needed to ask for anymore. What I needed to ask for was how could I fulfill my purpose in the biggest way possible, in alignment with what I’m supposed to do in the world. And whatever that looks like. Maybe it doesn’t look like outward success in the way that I want. But maybe it’s going to make me happier.
So, I had this realisation, and since that moment, I haven’t been completely Zen enlightened, but I’ve been pretty at peace. And I’ve been pretty happy and I’ve been pretty chill and like it’s really recent and it feels really funny talking about it here, because I don’t know if it will last. I don’t know.
Lewis Howes: It’s sure to last.
Rachel Platten: Yeah. By the time this comes out, I’m like, a mess! I’m like, “What was I talking about?!”
Lewis Howes: “I need more sales, sales, sales!”
Rachel Platten: Yeah! But outside opinion, I don’t know, I mean, right now I’m just looking…
Lewis Howes: It’s easy to say that also when things are going well, but if people stop showing up, or people stop downloading or listening, or…
Rachel Platten: Well, I’m not in a great moment. Well, I mean, first of all, that’s ridiculous, because I just played Miss Universe…
Lewis Howes: Speaking in context.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, okay, in context, my life in incredible right now and I’m so grateful, but…
Lewis Howes: If you’re comparing yourself to other artists…
Rachel Platten: Yeah, if I’m comparing myself to Taylor, for instance, her record sold a million copies, or whatever, and mine didn’t. And it hurt, and it felt like, “Oh, God, what did I do wrong?” But the thing is, is that nothing, I didn’t do anything wrong. I created what I’m supposed to create. I love the songs I created, my fans are loving the music. It’s getting out there, and that’s beautiful. That’s enough. And I really think I believe that right now.
I heard myself saying that, I’m like, “Yeah! I believe that.”
Lewis Howes: It’s good. I think if you don’t believe that, you’re just going to keep going back to, “I’m never enough.” And then when you hit those marks you just say, “Well, now I need to keep hitting it to be enough.
Rachel Platten: It doesn’t… It just keeps changing, it keeps getting farther away. I hit every single goal I wanted and then I just wanted more, and more and more, and I was… Ugh… It sucks.
Lewis Howes: I hear you. I’ve been there before. Now, as you were, again, performing for an audience of two every night or whatever for years, ten. Were you performing all the time in the city? Or was it coffee shops and bars when you could, or was it weekly? What was it like? Depended on the year?
Rachel Platten: Yeah, depending on the year it changed, but I had a Monday night gig at Prohibition on the upper west side in New York. Awesome place. It was so great. If you guys are in the city, listening, you have to go to Prohibition and tell them I say Hi. They’ll give you a free shot of… No, they won’t.
They were so kind to me. First of all, they support live music, still, and there’s live places in the city that have now since shut down and the mets are making it hard with noise laws and all that stuff, so, but anyway. I’d play there on Monday nights and then I’d play at Slain, which has since closed down on MacDougal street in the village, that was freaking awesome.
It’s this jam, with all the musicians around the scene, we would finish with our cover gigs, or whatever gigs we had and we’d all meet up at this place on Tuesday nights and we would have the most fun ever. This is another reason I kept going! Because I had this amazing network and family of musicians and friends that supported me and that I supported.
Other times I would go on little mini tours. I got a van, in my mid-twenties. It was freaking awesome! I still have the van, by the way. I converted it…
Lewis Howes: Here in Santa Monica?
Rachel Platten: I think it’s in Burbank. I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. I might go revisit home tours. I used to do a lot of house concerts, and I would take this van to them, so I might do a reunion house concert thing. That would be cool.
Lewis Howes: I like that.
Rachel Platten: So, I’d do a lot of mini tours and play a lot of house concerts in living rooms. For those of you who don’t know what a house concert is, it’s amazing! Look into it. You can book a musician to come to your house and play for you and your friends. And you invite them all over and you have pot luck style, and it’s incredible. So, I’d do that.
Lewis Howes: Would you get paid a lot for these gigs?
Rachel Platten: No. But I didn’t care. I was so broke. Well the house concerts were pretty good, that was like, I thought it was pretty good.
Lewis Howes: A few hundred bucks, like 500.
Rachel Platten: I think, like, a thousand.
Lewis Howes: That’s pretty good. For two hours of gig. That’s amazing.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, for me and a drummer. I mean, we’d cover the gas and the hotels and it would keep us on the road. In the city though, it was like $150 for like, three hours.
Lewis Howes: Now, were you working a job as well, doing this?
Rachel Platten: I had so many jobs, I got fired so many times. Oh, my God. I just heard, what’s her name? Vas?
Lewis Howes: Vaus.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, Vaus, talking about temping, I think.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, that’s how she got her first kind of gig.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, and that’s what I was thinking, “I haven’t heard anyone else on podcast, talking about temping.
Lewis Howes: The Pod.
Rachel Platten: Yeah! On The Pod! Thank you! Yeah, so I was temping. That was a life saver for me, because I’m really hireable. When you meet me, you’re like, “Oh, that girl’s…”
Lewis Howes: Well you seem great. But you’re not.
Rachel Platten: Yeah. Not, I’m not great! No, that’s exactly it! I come off so much better than I am as a worker. Yeah, like, “This girl is going to work so hard for a company, no matter what the company, she’s enthusiastic, she has a nice smile, she seems like a friendly person.” Little do they know, like, a couple of weeks into the job, I’m like, you know, shoes off, on the internet, requesting Myspace fans and eating lunches, taking over the mail room and making them for my posters. I was horrible. I just got fired so many times.
Lewis Howes: So how did you sustain this life for ten years in the city? How did you survive?
Rachel Platten: I hustled my butt off. I wrote commercials, I sang jingles. That was really, that was incredible, writing and singing jingles was great. I lived in a really cheap place and I didn’t need that much. I was playing music, and I don’t know…
Lewis Howes: You were fine.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, yeah. My apartment was, my rent was really cheap. I lived in this fifth floor walk-up, that used to be Bob Dylan’s apartment or the one across from it.
Lewis Howes: Really? No way! That’s kind of cool.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I mean, MacDougal street is dope. There is cockroaches and mice, it was gross.
Lewis Howes: I love MacDougal. MacDougal and what?
Rachel Platten: Between West Third and Bleaker.
Lewis Howes: I used to live off Prince and Mulberry.
Rachel Platten: Oh, my God! I did not know!
Lewis Howes: Loved it there. It was the best. Back in 2010.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, it was an amazing area.
Lewis Howes: 2010, so maybe I ran into you sometimes.
Rachel Platten: I was still there, yeah!
Lewis Howes: You were still nobody, huh?
Rachel Platten: Yeah! Hundred percent.
Lewis Howes: When was the year when you were like, “Oh, I’ve made enough to actually live in a nicer place and not scramble for another temp job. When was that? What happened?
Rachel Platten: It didn’t come until… Okay, well, there is a couple of years where my husband graduated from business school, and most of the time that we were together he was in school. He had just graduated from law school when we met and then he went to business school, so he just loved school, and we had a lot of debt, so we were struggling.
But then, when he graduated and actually got a job, he of course, started paying down his debt, but we had enough to move down to Battery Park into a fancier place. I was doing the commercials and stuff. That was probably around 2011-ish, 2012. We had just gotten married and I think we moved.
Lewis Howes: Wow. So you’ve been married for five years now? Five or six years?
Rachel Platten: Seven years. So in 2010, okay. So I moved, right when you got to this neighbourhood, I was like, “I’m out!”
Lewis Howes: Peace! “Lewis is here, I’m out of this place!”
Rachel Platten: “This place is going downhill.”
Lewis Howes: Exactly! Now, I’m curious. You connect with your husband, you guys got married, you were still really unknown, and now you’ve grown into popularity, how is that like in a marriage, in a relationship? When a dynamic change is, now everyone knows who you are, well a lot of people know who you are.
Rachel Platten: Everybody doesn’t know who I am.
Lewis Howes: A lot of people know you. You’ve grown in popularity, in a big way.
Rachel Platten: Okay, I’ll take that.
Lewis Howes: To where people are screaming for you when you’re at a conference, at a concert, right?
Rachel Platten: At conferences too, people are screaming for me.
Lewis Howes: Lots of conferences. House conferences. Now, what is that like? How as the dynamic changed, or has it not? Has he been fully supportive? Have there been different conversations?
Rachel Platten: He’s just incredible. He is unbelievable. And I knew what I wanted in a partner, because I had kind of figured out in my early twenties that I couldn’t have anyone that was ever going to be jealous, at gigs. Even though they were small gigs, I would have concerts every couple of months and I, not to brag, but I had a lot of friends, in New York, so when I the cover gigs that I was hustling at, I would have these concerts once every two months at Arlene’s Grocery or Bitter Anne and I would pack them. And even though I had nothing going on, it kind of seemed for a night, that I did.
So, I needed a guy that wasn’t going to get threatened, that wasn’t to get jealous, and I made the mistake of dating some that were. So, when I met Kevin, I think the first thing I did, besides go on a date with him, was bring him to a concert and see how he acted. And he was so cool, he was so supportive, he was so excited. And I forgot about him at the show! I think he was just there talking, he was, he just made friends!
He was chill. And I finally remembered and I went over to this hot guy at the end of the night with this tall, dark, handsome guy at the end of the night and I’m like, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry, I forgot to say Hi,” and he just gave me a kiss and he’s like, “You were incredible!” And I kind of knew and I was like, “Okay.” I mean, I knew before that, honestly, I knew on my first date with him that, right in the beginning, that he was never going to be threatened or jealous or insecure from my success.
All he ever wanted for me, is for me to be as successful as I could, and he pushed me and pushed me and he taught me to work hard, harder than I thought possible. And he supported me every step of the way. I don’t usually get to talk about him very much on podcasts. They’re like, I’ve only done one pod, so, I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but on interviews, talking about how important.
Lewis Howes: What’s the thing about him that you love the most.
Rachel Platten: His sense of humour. He’s hilarious. He’s so funny. He’s just funny. I feel like we’re not like a normal married couple, because I’m on tour all the time. Sometimes I feel like we’re just in our sixth month honeymoon phase. I’m so excited to see him, I get giggly and like, “Hi!” It’s not always that easy, but right now we’re in a good phase. But, so, you know, nothing has changed.
Lewis Howes: Nothing has changed.
Rachel Platten: No, not at all.
Lewis Howes: He’s just as supportive, he’s excited, he’s this amazing, now he can help support, pay for the rent.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, he’s feeling like he can pursue a dream right now, after years of supporting me and believing in me, when I finally made it and got successful, I was like, “Go follow your dream.” So, now he’s chasing something,
Lewis Howes: What’s his dream?
Rachel Platten: He’s opening a restaurant.
Lewis Howes: That’s pretty cool!
Rachel Platten: I know!
Lewis Howes: In Santa Monica?
Rachel Platten: In Santa Monica! It’s going to be called, “The Gables”.
Lewis Howes: When’s it opening? I’m going to have to come.
Rachel Platten: In the spring.
Lewis Howes: Send me to the opening party, I’m there.
Rachel Platten: It’s going to be amazingly delicious. I will, yeah. I will a hundred percent. You’d be a good guest.
Lewis Howes: I will be. I love food. I love food! Amazing! What’s been the biggest lesson he’s taught you?
Rachel Platten: To out work other people. That it is not based on my talent, it is not based on opportunities, it is based on how much work I am willing to put in. That’s what I can control. And always control what you can control.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. It’s a good lesson.
Rachel Platten: I mean, he’s taught me a lot more, but I think in terms of my career, yeah.
Lewis Howes: I think there’s so many examples of that too. Someone that I respect a lot, who is The Rock, and I think of his career.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I heard you talking about him with Lilly.
Lewis Howes: Yes.
Rachel Platten: I love Lilly. She’s the best.
Lewis Howes: She’s great, isn’t she? He is not that good of an actor. A lot of the critics will say he’s not that good. I think he’s great, but a lot of people say, “Uh, he’s not that good.” But he’s still the highest performing actor in terms of sales of movies, and…
Rachel Platten: I didn’t know that. That’s freaking awesome!
Lewis Howes: Yeah, he crushes it. But he wasn’t that good of a football player. He didn’t make the NFL, but he worked really hard, and then he transitioned into wrestling and he wasn’t that good at it in the beginning, and he just worked.
Rachel Platten: Yes! I feel like that is the most encouraging that that anyone listening can take away. Is that it is really not about your innate talent.
Lewis Howes: Talent helps. You’ve got to have some talent.
Rachel Platten: Okay, sure, yes, yes. But you have to know that you’re supposed to be doing that in the world. I mean, you can’t decide you want to go to the moon and not have any inkling that you’re going to go through the astronaut training and all that stuff. I feel like if you you think you know pretty much what your calling is, then you’re on purpose, and then it doesn’t really matter how innately talented you are past that little bit.
Because I really believe that it’s about hard work. My voice was not that special when I was growing up. It didn’t stand out that much. It was pretty and it was sweet, but I have worked my ass off over the past thirteen years and now my voice is special, but it was through hard work. And I tell people that all the time, “Don’t doubt yourself. You just haven’t put in the work yet.” Do you think?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, I agree. Because it’s easy to compare, and be like, “Well, I didn’t sound like Beyonce growing up,” or whatever…
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I never did. I couldn’t do that stuff right. I couldn’t do those trill, I couldn’t…
Lewis Howes: But you could write in a way that connected with people. And you could also sing in a way that connected with a certain type of people that resonated differently.
Rachel Platten: Yes, I’m emotional, I’m an emotional performer, and it connects with other people. And I also think something that I might do that has helped me stand out is that I’m not really afraid to go to places that other people might feel afraid going to.
Lewis Howes: Like where?
Rachel Platten: Anything that’s vulnerable. This last record, I dove into stuff that was hard to talk about. I have a song called, Grace, and it talks about how I don’t recognise myself because I’m jealous of friends and I feel ashamed and I feel like I lost track of who I am and I need grace. And I have a song called, Fooling You, and it’s about my relationship with my husband and it’s like, “I don’t know that I deserve the love that you’re giving me. I don’t think I’m worthy of this.”
And it’s stuff that we think and maybe we all feel. Honestly, though, I hope people don’t. I hope people don’t feel that way, but I just go there. I just write it. I don’t know why, I don’t have a filter. I have always felt comfortable, maybe it’s because my parents are therapists? You know, just sharing and being honest. So, when you ask me, “Is there anything you want to talk about?” You know, that’s the good stuff.
Lewis Howes: Who’s the person you’ve been jealous of the most over your career?
Rachel Platten: It’s changed. Every level I’ve been at. When I was just flying the New York singer/songwriter scene, it was the songwriter that climbed out of the scene. I wasn’t comparing myself to Beyonce at the time, it was the person just a little bit above me. Like Ingrid Michaelson, who’s a friend now. I was like, “Ah, man! If I could be where Ingrid is!” She’s amazing, doing other things on Broadway now, but when I got that, then it was like, “Okay, well now I want to be where Taylor is.” And I kept changing the mark, and getting jealous of new people.
But, I think that jealousy is healthy too, because I think that it helps you understand where you want to go. And if you can use it in a positive way, you can kind of, I’ve learned to do this, say, “Cool. What are the things about them that I like? What can I work harder on? What can I borrow from them?”
Lewis Howes: That’s good, yeah. For those who are big dreamers. Maybe they’re in their twenties or something, and they have a big dream. When does a dream become delusional? Where you’re like, “You know what? You should probably give up.” Because someone like you, who was going after it for like, twelve, thirteen years and not really getting a big break, did you ever think, “Maybe I’m just delusional?”
Rachel Platten: Yeah! All the time!
Lewis Howes: But how do you know when to keep going and when to give up? Or to shift?
Rachel Platten: I’m never going to be the one to tell you to give up. I’m just… You’re coming to the wrong person. I’m just like the Fight Song. I’m like, “Don’t you dare give up on yourself!”
Lewis Howes: “This is my fight.”
Rachel Platten: Get outta here! No! If you’re listening and you’re ready to give up, I am not the person that’s telling you to give up. I am going to tell you to dig in harder and work harder and go and find some more tools and start to turn within and find out where the resistance is coming from. Why that resistance is showing up. What can it teach you?
Yeah, absolutely, shifting is important sometimes. And unclenching. I mean, sometimes we’re holding too tightly to something, and we’re not allowing it to come to us, or sometimes you really do just need to back off and relax, and allow it to come, and receive. But no, I don’t think anyone should give up on their dreams. I don’t think it’s ever too late.
Because I am the example that it’s not! I was thirty, thirty-two! I was thirty-two.
Lewis Howes: And as a female in the industry…
Rachel Platten: That’s ridiculous! Way past my prime! And way too old. Everyone probably thought I was delusional.
Lewis Howes: But you’re still hustling in the city.
Rachel Platten: Yeah. All my friends were having babies, moving on. I was still sending out e-mails, like, “Hey guys! Performing…” I don’t know, I thank God I don’t really have an awareness of being embarrassed. I don’t feel that feeling a lot, so I didn’t feel it. My sister is funny, she’s always embarrassed about everything.
We talk about it and she’s like, “If I were you, I would have been horrified.” In a kind way she’s trying to tell me she’s proud of me, but I didn’t feel that way. I felt like, “Isn’t it cool what I’m doing?!” I’m making music, I’m travelling round the country, I got a van! Yeah! A van! You got a baby, I got a van!
Lewis Howes: Right! Now, what if you were forty? Is there an age that’s too… If you were doing this for twenty years and not seeing any big wins or small wins, would you still keep doing it?
Rachel Platten: Well, it depends on what’s making you happy? It depends on your happiness. I mean, if you’re deriving pleasure from it and feeling content, why would you stop? That’s crazy, come on! How do you know what your spot in the world is? How do you know what level you’re supposed to do this on to fulfill your purpose? Maybe you’re supposed to do it on a small level and that’s still beautiful and exactly where you’re supposed to be in the world. And who are you to doubt it and who are someone else to judge your level of success with your chosen thing?
Also, no-one has any idea what is around the corner. I love this thing. You don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, you don’t know what’s shifted in your favour. You might be forty and at like, forty-one you might be the first person, at forty-one, to achieve that thing that’s impossible. Someone’s going to be that person, why not you?
Lewis Howes: Amen to that! I love that!
Rachel Platten: Hey brother! That was a good high-five. That other one sucked.
Lewis Howes: That was a good one. What do you think your purpose is then, right now? Your highest purpose?
Rachel Platten: I think it is to be as honest as I can in my music and just create whatever I’m supposed to create in the world and not judge it and spread love through my music. And help other people recognise their own light and their own fire within them through their music. I think. I don’t know. I haven’t been asked that before. That’s good.
Lewis Howes: What would you say is your purpose and vision for 2018? Have you thought about that?
Rachel Platten: I used to do it, every year, I’ve been doing it, and honestly, right now, I’m just much more at a place of like, peace. I’m not really all about setting humongous goals I’m meant to reach. I’m actually more about just being calm and happy in what I already have and letting whatever is going to come, come. So no, I haven’t really set any goals for the year. Maybe that’s not good, I don’t know. But I’m happy, and I feel good, and things are really happening, exciting things are happening.
I just got called about a huge opportunity this morning and I had just kind of chilled on it. It kind of went away and then it came back, yeah. This happened right before Fight Song too, honestly. I chased and I chased and I chased. I knew, when I wrote Fight Song, that there was something special there.
I mean, I had been writing for five years. I started working with this manager who was like, “Stop gigging, and just write songs.
Lewis Howes: And write for other artists?
Rachel Platten: Write for myself. He wanted me to write and learn how to write a pop song. So I was just writing and writing and writing, and finally I wrote Fight Song, and it took a year and a half to write and I had to learn how to produce it, all that stuff. But when it was finally finished I was like, “This was meant to be really, massively healing in the world.” I had this vision for it, but it wasn’t happening.
It wasn’t until a year and a half after I released Fight Song that it started getting picked up on the radio. And during that time, I was holding so tightly to what I thought needed to happen. And there was this moment, moment after it was played on a popular TV show, and I though that was going to be the moment that it would explode, and I was hanging all of my hopes on that.
And nothing happened. It played on the TV show and nothing really happened. It made a small blip, but nothing. And I was thirty-two and broke and hanging every hope on this, because I was like, “If people hear this, they’re going to understand what I know about it.” And then, it didn’t. And I freaked out and I cried so hard and I threw myself on the floor and I was just yelling up to God or whatever you believe, and I was like, “What the f.*.*.k.? What the hell? I have given everything, I don’t understand what else I’m supposed to do! I give up!”
And I went to bed that night, I woke up in the morning and I meditated and calmed down and I realised that that was so ridiculous and ego driven and I couldn’t do that any more to myself. And I made a vow right then, that I was going to stop needing anything more than I was already given. And I just chilled. And I was, “You know what? Whatever the plan is, I’m fine with. If it’s that I am going to go be a music therapist or work in hospitals, or whatever it is, I’m fine.”
And two weeks later it got played on radio station in Baltimore, shazamed at number one, I got signed a week after that, I was on a massive tour, it went to number one two months after that.
Lewis Howes: Just that one song!
Rachel Platten: Yeah, but I think that it had to be me letting go.
Lewis Howes: You had to let it go and it came to you.
Rachel Platten: Yeah. So that’s where I’m at right now, honestly. I clenched and clenched and I needed and I needed and I desired and I got exhausted from it, and I’m just like, “I can’t anymore.”
Lewis Howes: Wow. Amazing! There’s a great line in one of my favourite movies, called “Swingers”. Have you seen this movie?
Rachel Platten: I love Swingers, yeah.
Lewis Howes: I’m going to butcher the line now, because I’m thinking too much, but something about, like, “When you act like you don’t want it, they give it to you for free.” You know what that means?
Rachel Platten: You’re talking about babies, but yeah.
Lewis Howes: I’m wondering why do they give you that stuff for free? And it’s kind of like, when you let it go, and you’re not clinging onto it so much, then people want to come over and…
Rachel Platten: I think it’s true, I think it’s the key. To money, to anything. I mean, to abundance in general, I think you can set a goal and you can envision what you want and you can try to manifest it. But then people forget the last step, which is to trust.
Lewis Howes: Surrender.
Rachel Platten: The surrender, yes. So, I’m surrendering right now, yeah.
Lewis Howes: It looks like it’s going pretty well for you.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, it’s really working.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, you don’t look stressed at all. Not that I was expecting you to be stressed.
Rachel Platten: No, I’m not stressed at all right now.
Lewis Howes: But I think a lot of artists in general have this sense of needing to… I remember asking Steve Aoki when I interviewed him, I was like, “What’s your biggest fear?” He goes, something around relevance.
Rachel Platten: I knew he was going to say that.
Lewis Howes: “My audience not liking the stuff, and then leaving me and not listening to it, or it not growing as fast,” and you’re constantly chasing. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to be relevant, like, I want to be relevant, but the fear of missing it, clinging onto everyone, or doing things just to be relevant.
Rachel Platten: Oh, my God, that’s the most dangerous thing you can do. That’s when you lose yourself. I don’t know, I think about that a lot. I’m like, “Well, okay, what if I had put a song that someone else wrote on this record, that I knew was a hit,” although you don’t ever know when anything’s a hit. There’s no science to it. But I could have…
Lewis Howes: Well, Fight Song was.
Rachel Platten: Okay, I had a feeling about that. I had a feeling about this next single too that’s coming out. I have that feeling again. But anyway. I have inklings, but I don’t know. So, I’m like, “Well, should I have done something differently? But, who cares? Maybe I would have gotten there to the top of the mountain. It wasn’t the message that I believed in or wanted to spread. So then…
Because ultimately we just want to be happy. We just want contentment. Like why are we doing any of this? For inner peace and for inner happiness. I went through this whole thing with my husband today on our walk, and I was like, something’s haunting him about this restaurant now, and I’m trying to walk him through the whole thing, and I was like, “Well, why do you want that? Okay, cool. And why do you want that? Great. And why do you want that?”
And ultimately we got down to because he wants to be happy. And I was like, “Why not just decide to be happy right now?” You could cut out all those middle steps and still be doing them. I’m so wise! No, no, no! You’re like, “What is she talking about?”
Lewis Howes: I love it! I love it! I’ve got couple more questions for you, because I want to respect your time.
Rachel Platten: No, you can’t end on “I’m so wise”. That’s horrible!
Lewis Howes: No, I have a few more questions. Yes. But where can we connect with you, before I ask the final questions, where can we connect with you right now? Where’s your new music, where’s all that stuff.
Rachel Platten: I have a new album called waves. It’s out now. It’s on iTunes and Spotify. Please go check it out. Let me know what you think. I’m not attached to your opinions, but I’m curious! I would love to know, yeah. You can, you know, all the social media, @rachelplatten
Lewis Howes: Where do you hang out the most? Instagram?
Rachel Platten: Instagram, yeah. Twitter got scary for me last summer after my song was attached to the election, and I got a lot of death threats.
Lewis Howes: Wasn’t that the song for Hillary Clinton?
Rachel Platten: Yeah, yeah.
Lewis Howes: How crazy is that? I mean, did that blow things up to a whole other level in a good way?
Rachel Platten: Not in a good way, no.
Lewis Howes: Not at all?
Rachel Platten: No, I mean, maybe I got more recognition, but I refused to do any press around it, because I was really afraid, and so people just started knowing me as the Fight Song girl or Fight Song singer, and that’s kind of frustrating. So, I got a lot of hate and scary stuff happening on Twitter so I just stayed away from there for like a year. Now I’m back on.
Lewis Howes: Slowly coming back.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, like, “Hey! Remember your old friend, Rachel?”
Lewis Howes: Okay, so we’ll check you out on Instagram, on The Gram. What’s the thing you wish more people would ask you? That you would like to talk about?
Rachel Platten: Maybe about what I learned from failure. Not just about the successes, but the hard moments.
Lewis Howes: Tell me, what did you learn from failure?
Rachel Platten: Well, to believe in myself, yeah. I mean, I love to talk about that part. I love to talk about the journey from darkness to light. From my own struggle, to getting there. I also love talking about my early days in New York City. So, you did ask me about that today, yeah.
My husband. I like talking about my husband. Yeah.
Lewis Howes: I covered all of it.
Rachel Platten: Yeah, you nailed it.
Lewis Howes: If there was a final song you got to sing.There was only one song you could sing, and this was the last song that people would remember you by, what would the lyric or the line be that would be the most important for you for people to hear in that song? Is there a sentence, a phrase?
Rachel Platten: Yeah, I have a sentence. I don’t know if I could turn it that easily into lyrics. I’d have to re-craft it, but I have a phrase that I believe in, and I think infuses most of my journey.
Lewis Howes: What is that? Is there a song that you currently have?
Rachel Platten: I have a song that I haven’t released yet, it’s called… I kind of imagine it as like the modern day “Imagine”, and it’s called “Choose Love” and it’s: “I try to close my eyes, my darling, but fear knows its way through the dark. I tried swinging fists at all my problems, but it never even made a mark. So I choose again,” or something like that, “And I choose love.” Something like that, but okay, I don’t know. That’s not what I would say. I think what I would say. Sorry! This is a tough question. I would say, I would say
Lewis Howes: It’s okay, it’s okay. You haven’t released it yet, I understand
Rachel Platten: No, no, no. I got to work on it. Everything is either fear or love. If you’re feeling anything other than a sense of peace and calm and love towards those around you, don’t get confused, that’s coming from fear, it’s not coming from anger or resentment at anyone not liking you, it’s coming from a place of fear.
And I think that helps me differentiate judgement and disputes with people and confrontation, because I can understand that we are very similar at our core and we just want to be loved and approved of and we all have these scars on our hearts, and it’s hard. Life is hard and it’s scary, and if we can be more compassionate and understand that behind really big smiles and beautiful outfits, we’re the same. I think that’s what I would try to put in a song. I don’t know how I would do that.
Lewis Howes: I like it! We’ll transcribe that part and send it back to you and you can figure out a way to put it in a song.
Rachel Platten: I’d also maybe do the Tony Montana Scarface: “You gotta have some fun in this life!” Yeah! I’d put that in a song.
Lewis Howes: I like it. I like it. This is called, “The Three Truths”.
Rachel Platten: I know this one.
Lewis Howes: You know this already?
Rachel Platten: I should have prepared.
Lewis Howes: Oh, good! I like it not being prepared. It’s more fun. It’s more authentic. So, if this was the last day for you, many years from now. You’re a hundred and something years old and you’ve done all the things you want to do. Every hit song, you’ve done more than a million songs, you’ve done everything you want to do. But for whatever reason, it was all erased, and people couldn’t listen to the music anymore, or there was no lyrics anymore, so you had to write down three things you know to be true about your life, your experiences, that you would want to leave behind. But there’s only three things that you could share. Three lessons, or truths. What would they be?
Rachel Platten: I never hear any guests stumble. They’re always so certain with their truths.
Lewis Howes: Some stumble.
Rachel Platten: Okay, the first one would be: Only you decide what is possible and what is not possible. No-one else but you decide how you react to anything, how you feel about anything. We always decide our inner state. We can decide to change something just based on our mind.
And the second one would be: Giving and receiving are the same thing. And we forget that a lot, that we look to get and get and get, and we forget that actually giving is way more powerful and gives you the same feeling. It’s been scientifically proven that giving gives you the same joy, if not more, than getting. So, they’re, “A Course in Miracles” says they’re the same. Did you ever read A Course in Miracles?
Lewis Howes: No, but I did have Marianne Williamson on. She’s great. She’s great.
Rachel Platten: Oh, beautiful! My third one would be: What I said before in my song, ineloquently. Just, everything’s either love or fear. So if you’re feeling a place of, if you’re feeling fearful or angry, choose again, you can always choose again and come to a place of love.
Lewis Howes: I love that. Make sure you guys check out the new music, @rachelplatten on Instagram and everywhere, rachelplatten.com as well. You’ll get all the music and information there.
And before I ask the final question, I got to acknowledge you for a moment, Rachel, because you are a beautiful bowl of sunshine and light.
Rachel Platten: Really? You think so? That’s so sweet!
Lewis Howes: Do you even know the energy that being in here you just radiate, joy and possibilities.
Rachel Platten: Thank you.
Lewis Howes: So, thank you for all you do to inspire so many people around the world, and for how you show up. You show up just so joyful and loving and giving and compassionate and I think your realness is really cool.
Rachel Platten: Thank you.
Lewis Howes: No matter what’s happened or who, how many people follow you, you’re very real, and I appreciate that about you and acknowledge you for that, so keep that in your heart.
Rachel Platten: Thank you! I want to acknowledge you. You’re incredible and what you do is amazing! I listen to you, you’ve helped me. Your guests have helped me. I love everything you do and that you stand for and I think it’s amazing. So, back at you.
Lewis Howes: Appreciate it, appreciate it. Final question is: What’s your definition of greatness?
Rachel Platten: Identifying what your passion is, what your purpose is, working your butt off to master it and then being able to give it to the world regardless of outcome, and regardless of outside approval. Just do it on your highest level, because of the simple joy of you fulfilling your purpose in the world.
Lewis Howes: Rachel Platten, let’s get a great one. Oh yeah!
Rachel Platten: Oh yeah!
Lewis Howes: There you have it, my friends, I hope you enjoyed this one. No dream is too big if you are willing to put in the time, put in the work. You don’t have to be the most talented person in the world at something but you have to and you must embrace who you are and your unique gifts because only you have a unique gift. No-one else has the gift that you can bring to the world. So, stop doubting yourself, stop looking for outside approval and start stepping into who you are, and start giving and sharing your voice, your message, your talent, your gift with the world.
If you enjoyed this one, make sure to take a screenshot, tag your friends, post an image of this on your Instagram story, on Twitter, on Facebook. Let me know what you thought of this @lewishowes over on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and tag @rachelplatten as well and let her know what you enjoyed most of this interview as I’m sure she would love to see your thoughts and your feedback.
Make sure to check out her new album, Waves. You can get it all over the place online, and follow her on social media. I’m sure she’d love to see some of your faces on social media as well.
And again, thank you to our sponsor, DesignCrowd. If you want to stand out in you industry and you want to make some noise with your voice and get your voice out there, then make sure to optimise your design, your graphics, your logo, all that stuff. Make it more inspiring, make it unique, use design to showcase your unique voice. And if you go to designcrowd.com/greatness, you can get a $100 VIP offer for our listeners. Simply go to designcrowd.com /greatness and start and submit your next design today.
And if you haven’t picked up a free copy of The Millionaire Morning book, make sure to go to themillionairemorning.com, get your copy, you can get it all over the world, just check out for international options when you checkout, and all you need to do is pay for shipping and I’m going to send you a physical copy of my new book. Again, check it out, themillionairemorning.com.
And as Earl Nightingale said, “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. You have something special inside of you. You have a gift. It’s time to bring that gift to the world. I love you guys and you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!