Rachael Yamagata Biography

Rachael Yamagata Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Rachael Yamagata" (born September 23, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Born in Arlington, Virginia, she is a Yonsei or fourth-generation Japanese American on her father's side and of Italian and German ancestry on her mother's side.

Early life

A child of divorced parents, Yamagata divided her time growing up between her Sansei Japanese American father, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and Harvard graduate; and her Italian-German mother, an artist/painter in New York City. Yamagata graduated from the Holton-Arms School for Girls in Bethesda, Maryland, and attended Northwestern and Vassar. She has a twin brother, Benji.

Music career


Yamagata became the vocalist for the Chicago funk-fusion band Bumpus, spending six years writing and recording three albums with the band and touring the country. In 2001, after having written a number of songs that didn't fit with the funk style of the band, Yamagata decided to take the songs and launch a solo career. In September 2002, she landed a two-record deal with Arista's Private Music and her self-titled EP produced by Malcolm Burn, "Rachael Yamagata EP" was released in October.

Solo career

Her first full-length album, "Happenstance", followed in June 2004. It was produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Ben Folds Five). 'I Want You' features several members of prominent American Klezmer group The Klezmatics. Videos were made for the first and second singles 'Worn Me Down' and '1963'.

Her songs have featured on several TV shows, including "Charmed", "How I Met Your Mother", "ER ", "Nip/Tuck", "Men in Trees", "Alias", "One Tree Hill", "Brothers & Sisters", "Grey's Anatomy" and "The O.C.," to which she made a guest performance in season 2. Yamagata also contributed a song to Mandy Moore's 2007 album, "Wild Hope". She also toured with Moore, opening many of her shows around the country.

On May 22, 2008, a new banner was added to her site indicating the digital release of a new EP, "Loose Ends", with three new songs, serving as a preview for the now delayed release of her second full-length album.

In early 2008, her site featured a 'teaser video' for the new album. The album was finally released on October 7, 2008.Yamagata's second studio album is called "Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart". It was originally slated for release in the late-summer of 2007.

On October 9, 2008, a two-song live acoustic video performance premiered on LiveDaily Sessions, featuring the songs 'Faster' and 'Sunday Afternoon'.

Yamagata's songs have appeared in a number of films and television shows. These include:

She also made an appearance in Jason Mraz's second album, singing a song with him called "Did You Get My Message?". She also sings on "Fireflies" and "The Believer" on Rhett Miller's solo CD, "Blame On Me" on Toots & the Maytals "True Love", "Barfly" on Ray Lamontagne's "Till the Sun Turns Black", "Let it Ride", "Sweet Illusions", "Cold Roses", and "Friends", on Ryan Adams' "Cold Roses". She sings backup on six tracks on the Bright Eyes' album "Cassadaga". She co-wrote "Kaleidoscope" with Jill Cunniff, formerly of Luscious Jackson, for Cunniff's solo album "City Beach" and also plays keyboards and second vocals.


Studio albums

"Happenstance" (2004)

"Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart" (2008)


"EP" (2003)

"Live at the Loft & More" (2005)

"Loose Ends" (2008)


Worn Me Down

Letter Read





Sunday Afternoon


"Live at the Bonnaroo Music Festival" (2004), released exclusively on Bonnaroo

"Sony Connect Sets" (2005), released exclusively on Sony Connect

"KCRW Sessions: Rachel Yamagata" (2005), released exclusively on iTunes

"Napster session: Rachael Yamagata" (2005), released exclusively on Napster


"Bumpus" (1999)

"Steroscope" (2001)

Other contributions

"WFUV: City Folk Live VII" - 'Worn Me Down' (2004)

Toots & the Maytals - "True Love" (2004)

Ryan Adams - "Cold Roses" (2005)

Jason Mraz - "Mr. A-Z" (2005)

Chris Holmes - "Blister of the Spotlight" (2006)

Rhett Miller - "The Believer" (2006)

Ray LaMontagne - "Till the Sun Turns Black" (2006)

Bright Eyes - "Four Winds" (2007)

Bright Eyes - "Cassadaga" (2007)

Ben Arthur - "Mouhfeel" (2007)

Mandy Moore - "Wild Hope" (2007)

Jill Cunniff - "City Beach" (2007)

External links

(Official website)

(Rachael Yamagata: Confessions on "Happenstance")

(Elephants Review)


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Rachael Yamagata.

Viral on the Web