According to Miami Beach High alumnus Rachel Goodrich, you can take the girl out of Miami, but you can't take Miami out of the girl. In a 2008 New York Times profile, Goodrich was proclaimed "queen of the Miami indie rock scene." But in 2010, she took off for the West Coast in search of greener musical pastures. Still, she says she has been looking back to her hometown for inspiration. "I was working on a record in L.A. I stayed with a friend in Venice and haven't left since," she tells New Times. "Being by the ocean is soothing for my soul, but the ocean out here is a beast. I keep looking for similarities between L.A. and Miami, but I haven't been able to find any."
The singer will have another chance to compare and contrast East Coast with West Coast when she makes a homecoming performance at Sweat Records this Friday, a concert she really looks forward to. "I'll have my family and my friends there. I have good times with the eccentric, open, free crowds in Miami. In L.A., I feel when I play, people are standing around judging you. You feel naked onstage with people ready to interrogate you."
Goodrich grew up listening to the Beatles and watching her father play guitar. She also kept her ears and eyes open to what was going on in Miami, musically speaking. "Being from Miami made me step out of my shell and explore music differently," she says. "There was a lot of dance music and loud music, so with just an acoustic guitar, it was hard for me to connect with that audience. It made me experiment with louder, more upbeat music and even Latin rhythms. But the biggest challenge of Miami was that everyone was doing their own thing. You have to ask: How can we get everyone together and start a party?"
Some of the parties she remembers most fondly happened at Churchill's, as well as the now-defunct PS 14 and Vagabond. "There was one show at Vagabond," she remembers. "It was a release party for my first CD. Bo Diddly had passed away that day. We played a one- or two-chord Bo Diddly song, and the room was shaking. The people were sweaty, against each other, and couldn't move."
Goodrich's name spread beyond South Florida when the single "Light Bulb," from her first album, was featured on the TV series Weeds and My Life as Liz. The accompanying music video also went viral online thanks to some unlikely locals who lip-synced Goodrich's airy vocals. That song, especially, helped Goodrich make music a full-time career, which, she says, has had its ups and downs. "The day-to-day living as a musician is a challenge, but it's beautiful and rewarding."
She's working on the overdubs for her third full-length LP, which she has yet to title, with Matt Linesch, who has mixed Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. "I'm taking my time with this one," she says. "My first couple of records were fun music with an underlying story that couldn't be heard because it was jumpy and fun. This is more open and honest. I recently played a show of these songs in L.A. with my acoustic guitar. I really felt like I was living, breathing, alive, and in full control. It really made me excited about the songs."
Goodrich says you'll be able to hear the new work at the upcoming show at Sweat, which will also be a celebration of the release of a special-edition vinyl of her second album, Baby, Now We're Even. But, most of all, Goodrich is excited to add to her already thick catalogue of fond memories made in Miami.
Rachel Goodrich with Raffa Jo Harris. 7 p.m. Friday, May 13, at Sweat Records, 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-693-9309; sweatrecordsmiami.com. Admission is free.