Broadway musician with 15+ years of cello playing, arranging, improvising, and writing. I can work with or without sheet music or charts to deliver the perfect performance for your song. My focus is on vibe, intonation, timing, and energy to bring your vision to life and amplify the power of your music.
Background in classical, folk, rock, pop, experimental, and indie music.
Bachelor’s Degree in cello performance from Peabody Conservatory.
“When the Lights Go Out” Adrian Mathenia
“Head On”, “Personally”, and “Sixty Diamonds” Beecher's Fault
“Pistons and Pistils” Baba Sonya
“Nadila” Baba Sonya
“Slow Blooming Thing” Kristin Jorgensen
“Probably” Baba Sonya
“The People Things Work Out For Sessions, The Album” Baba Sonya
“Paris Under Fire” Paris Under Fire
“Pillow Talk” Stood With Ghosts
“How To Land A Hot Air Balloon” Baba Sonya
“Deliverance” River City Extension
“The Ballroom Thieves” The Ballroom Thieves
“Sorry, kid.” a balladeer
“The Devil & The Deep” The Ballroom Thieves
“Dead Man's Hand” Harpeth Rising
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14 Reviews - 2 Repeat ClientsEndorse Rachel Gawell
I needed a cello for a song I'm working on for a client. Found Rachael's page and said to myself „Yes this is the one for the song“ So I contacted her, told her the story behind the song since it's sung in Icelandic and spot on! She wrote beautiful parts for it that gave the song so much deeper emotional feelings. She‘s great to work with,delivers high quality recordings. Highly recommented. I will definitely work with her again.
Rachel did a wonderful job improvising with an acoustic singer/songwriter piece I produced. Added just the right texture. Quick turnaround. No revisions necessary. Will definitely work with her again!
Rachel is an excellent cellist and singer, it's always great to have her contribute to my projects.
Rachel is great to work with, not only did she provided me with a great string track, she also was very helpful with recording videoclips of her playing I will use on my musicvideo. Recommend her to anyone looking for a skilled cello/violinst
Rachel is very good at what she's doing, great cello/strings recording, and very cool to work with. Recommend her to anyone looking for cello/strings part
Rachel played cello on one of my songs, very skilled and great to work with, recommend her to anyone looking for a skilled cello player.
Rachel was fantastic to work with! Her turnaround time was very fast and the part she wrote was beautiful and fit the song perfectly. She was quick to interpret my client's feedback and provide a revision as well.
As an engineer, my chief concern from a remote session was sound quality but Rachel knocked it out of the park. The cello recording was rich and warm and had a great balance of clarity and attack. Rachel is fun and easy to work with and I couldn't recommend her more highly.
Rachel is an excellent cellist, a true professional, a very friendly person and and a great communicator. She did a fantastic job writing and recording cello tracks for several of my songs. I highly recommend Rachel for your song!
Incredible singer, cellist, and writer. Extremely professional and a creative force!! I can't stress enough how much better she makes the projects she's involved in!
Rachel is a wonderful collaborator at every stage in the process. Her input is worthwhile and helpful, she is efficient, and has wonderful instincts. I love working with her!
I've worked with Rachel in several capacities and in the studio i was especially impressed! Without going into nerdy detail, she absolutely crushed very difficult, and ever changing cello parts. And after that, she sang perfect vox harmony on something as well. The studio can be high pressure and awkward, Rachel has nerves of steel.
Rachel is the chillest cellist I know and a great musician/person to work with. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a versatile session player or songwriting collaborator.
Rachel is a consummate professional and an extremely versatile and gifted musician with an incredible songwriting pedigree. Easy to work with, kind, nurturing and generous, an integral member of our artistic community. Highly recommend!
Rachel is a fantastic musician who is confident, highly prepared, has a great attitude, and is an absolute joy to work with. Definitely recommend
Interview with Rachel Gawell
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: There’s a new Beecher’s Fault song that hasn’t been released yet, and there’s a section in it where my cello and vocals sounded so good that we actually cleared every other instrument out for a section of the song and stripped it down to just my voice and cello. It’s a stunning moment in the song, and has gotten a positive reaction from a lot of our friends.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: My collaborator in Baba Sonya, Mike Costaney and I are working on the next album. We have two songs in the can and so far I wrote three more that we’re about to record.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Ben Taylor for mixing and production! One of my good friends, and bandmate in Beecher’s Fault. He loves his work and will exceed your expectations every time.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I’ll interpret this question as “acoustic or electric” and I’ll choose acoustic because even though I love effects pedals and I use them (I love Earthquakes Devices specifically) there’s something my wooden cello gives me acoustically in the room that nothing can compare to.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise I will give you my genuine focus and the full strength of my creativity.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the variety of people I get to know through this work and I love getting to spend my life playing music all day.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: They ask if I can play without sheet music (the answer is yes), and if I’m comfortable working with them to compose the part on-the-fly as we record (the answer is yes).
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That cello (or strings in general) is only for contemplative slow music and ballads.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your vision for your project? What are you hoping the cello will bring to your music? What’s your favorite cello song and why?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Not every cellist can play without sheet music or can write their own part.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My carbon-fiber cello since it wouldn’t react to the heat or the water, my electric guitar, my pedalboard with all my effects pedals, my acoustic guitar, and my violin.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been on a professional music path since I was a preteen, doing cello competitions all over the country and studying at prestigious music schools. I have been a professional out in the world for over 10 years now, in bands, orchestras, and all kinds of projects.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Soulful, intimate, and at times gutsy.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Sia because she is a killer songwriter and creative who has been thriving in the music industry at the highest level for a long time.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: As a session musician I feel it’s important to stay sensitive to the music itself and really listen with my whole being. Once I have that focus the creativity comes easily.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Indie rock, folk/rock, electronic pop, singer/songwriter, soundtrack.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I have an excellent ear and instincts for composing/improvising a cello part sensitive to the particular vibe of the song.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My cello adds a warmth and depth that grab deeply at the listener’s gut. There is a range of sounds possible on the cello from soulful sustains to playful rhythms, pizzicato plucking, and percussive sounds. I will often get hired to record on just a ballad by a client, and after showing them how versatile the instrument is, end up adding cello to every track on their album in a range of vibes.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to dive into the work in one intense session to get onto the same wavelength as the client artistically and feel surrounded by the sonic world they are creating. This almost always produces results within a few hours or a day’s work, but for longer projects it can take additional days. I like to listen through to what the client has done so far with a song, talk about the intended direction and any ideas they have already written, and then start tracking some takes. Usually we come up with new ideas and alterations along the way, so we start with the most solid ideas and build from there. I often layer more than one cello track in parts of a recording, but the trick is to keep the song’s essence pure and not “overcook” it.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a simple setup with a Rode NT1-A large-diaphragm condenser through a Focusrite Scarlett Solo interface. My cello is of an unparalleled professional quality, made by luthier James McKean in 2005.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love the songwriting in CHVRCHES, the soundscapes in Animal Hospital, the creativity in the French pop artist Camille, the orchestrations in Beirut, the vocals and atmosphere of Bjork.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Recording cello on a song for a band or singer, usually working with the client collaboratively to come up with the cello part.