Rachel Hagan Witzke is a stylist by day and in style by night. While you may not recognize her at first glance, you might when you hear her sing. She is in two local bands, Radiotronic and the Velvet Saints. We caught up with this busy girl on one of her rare moments off and loved her sense of style and creativity. When she’s not singing or styling, she’s using her voice to do radio and video voiceovers. But her real love is her dog, Frankie, who joined us for the photo shoot and stole all of our hearts. Meet Rachel Hagan Witzke, today’s FACE of Louisville.
Tell us about both of your careers.
I work at Blades Salon and Spa in St. Matthews as a stylist. I do hair and makeup at the salon. I also work photo shoots, videos, commercials and movies, which is nice, since my husband, Chris, is a photographer and videographer extraordinaire. I have two bands at the moment: Radiotronic and Velvet Saints. And my side project: music that my husband and I are working on in his studio at Norton Commons. We also have a small home studio to use to “catch” any inspiration I may have at any given moment, especially on Sundays and Mondays. I also do radio jingles and voice acting for radio and television commercials.
When did you start singing?
My mom said she noticed I was singing harmonies with commercials and my favorite TV shows when I was three, and I guess I never stopped.
When did you start singing in bands?
After college, I moved to New York City and after having formal training and a bachelor’s degree from Queens University in North Carolina, the sights and sounds of New York inspired me to check out other avenues of music besides musical theater. I would go downtown to a jazz spot that I loved and tried to learn all I could from those amazing players. Later, I started a couple of acid jazz bands with some friends that I had met.
Tell us about the differences in both of your bands.
Radiotronic is a dance cover band (mostly 1980s; some ’70s and ’90s), and Velvet Saints is an original electronic dance band.
How do you juggle all of these jobs?
My calendar app on my phone is probably the most used of all the other apps put together!
What is some advice you would give young women starting out in their music careers?
Always go with your gut feeling. Try to grow; push yourself to do things you wouldn’t normally be comfortable doing. Be open to doing things many different ways to achieve the best sounding cut. Try to work with your mentors and leaders of your art.
What is the hardest part of your job? The easiest?
The hardest is organizing or finding time for everything else. The easiest is having fun doing what I love doing.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
- Sundays: Off from the salon. Recovering from gigs from the weekend before (usually 3 a.m.-ish bedtime)
- Mondays: Off from the salon. Rehearsal with band.
- Tuesdays: Work at Blades. Rehearsal with band.
- Wednesdays and Thursdays: Work at Blades.
- Fridays and Saturdays: Work at Blades. Shows on both nights about every other weekend … then recover, repeat. In between, spending time with my husband, Chris, my two stepkids, Camille, 15, and Cooper, 10, and my dog, Frankie.
What advice do you treasure?
Give it everything you got, when you got it. Only trust your family. Keep in your life the things you love, that love you back. Have fun at what you do because life is short.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my ____________.
Black leather belt or gold cuff bracelet
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Various bars and clubs that I play. Walking around Norton Commons (my neighborhood) visiting the many shops, bars and restaurants.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Going to Jack Fry’s, listening to some jazz, having a Jack’s Burger with tillamook cheddar and bacon and steak fries, a pickle and a lemon drop martini with a sugar rim.
Are you a night owl or early bird? What do you do during that quiet time?
Definitely night owl; always have been. My “quiet time” is listening to my husband play guitar in our living room, he’s amazing! But I don’t think I could ever get him to play in public.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Mostly I try to keep up with what’s going on in the world by reading my news app on my iPhone (that’s really about all I have time for!). I love reading about fashion, science and music.
Lightning Round! Give us your:
Candy or junk food splurge: Sea Salt Almond Bar from Cellar Door Chocolates, Twizzlers Strawberry Twists and David Sunflower Seeds, roasted and salted.
Guilty pleasure song: “Freedom” by George Michael
Tearjerker movie pick: I just watched The Big Chill for the first time last week, and it got me a bit.
Standby nail polish color: If I’m in between visits from Denise Cardwell at Blades Salon and Spa, I’ll use Essie nail polish. Sexy Divide in the winter, and Suite Retreat in the summer, or I’ll stay neutral in the gray family.
Favorite cocktail: Bourbon neat. Right now my favorite is WhistlePig Rye 10 Year, Michter’s 10 year Bourbon, or if I’m celebrating, WhistlePig The Boss Hog.
Cartoon alter-ego: Kira, the Gelfling in The Dark Crystal
What are three of your favorite things right now (besides God, family and friends)?
“Game of Thrones,” sleeping and always my dog, Frankie
Thank you to Adele Reding for today’s beautiful photography.
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