Caturday with Rainsford

Words: Sofi Chetrar

A truly multi-faceted artist, Rainey Qualley counts model, actress, singer and songwriter as her endeavours and under the name Rainsford she has been creating music that spans between offbeat pop and R+B to full-on bangers and heartbreaking ballads. We spoke to her about her diverse career pathway, current music inspirations, creative freedom, love for LA and one of our all time favourite subjects – kittens.

Sofi Chetrar: Having such a strong passion for music and acting, how easy is it for you to juggle the two? Do you prefer to focus on one project at a time, or do you feel comfortable doing them simultaneously?
Rainsford: I am the kind of person that prefers to stay busy. If I dont have a product to work on, I feel like Im wasting time, so for me being able to act and make music is really fulfilling. I also foster kittens, garden, dance, exercise, hike, sew clothes… I dont want to feel limited to just one thing.
SC: Living in LA, do you feel influenced by the city, and how do your surroundings impact your work?
R: Absolutely! I love Los Angeles and have a beautiful backyard filled with fruit trees overlooking Echo Park Lake, which I find very inspiring. I also love all the weird things you can find to do in LA; the city doesnt feel as manicured as many Metropolitan areas do. There is nature everywhere that is growing because it wants to, not because somebody planted it. I also really love my friend group here, they constantly bring me joy and inspiration.
SC: Your heartfelt duet with Anna of the North in your recently released song Brutal is truly beautiful. Where did the idea for this collaboration come from?
R: I wrote the song originally with Charlotte Laurence. We wanted to get into the studio together for a while and when we finally made it happen, we started the session by venting about what was going on in our lives at the time. I spent the first half an hour or so writing lyrics on my laptop as Charlotte was telling me about her life. We laid down the demo that day and I knew I wanted to keep it a two-female duet. I was so thrilled when I dm-ed Anna of the North on Instagram and she was interested in being featured. Ive been a fan of hers for years.
SC: Talking about collaborations, the music video for Crying in The Mirror was directed by your friend Cara Delevigne and starred Kaia Garber alongside yourself. Did you enjoy the process of making this video?
R: Crying in the Mirror was a really special music video to make. We shot it in the first month of the pandemic when everything was still so brand new and scary, and still seemed temporary. But we all had some free time on our hands and I am so grateful that we were able to channel it into the video. It took place in my house; we wore my clothes and did our own makeup. I wrote the storyboard and helped to edit, the whole thing was very DIY and I am really proud of how it turned out.
SC: What has always been a source of inspiration for your music? Is it the people surrounding you, specific events, or do you find it within yourself?
R: I am a sucker for writing songs about my own suffering. When Im going through a break-up or feeling heartbroken songs just come pouring out of me. But I am working on trying to write when Im happy! I’m in a very loving secure relationship, and I feel so content that its hard not to sound like an absolute cheese ball musically.
SC: Do you feel like you have absolute creative freedom when you write songs?
R: For the most part, yes. I’m a terrible producer, so sometimes it’s hard for me to articulate what I imagine a song to sound like when I’m collaborating. But I certainly feel free to say what I want and sound however I want and make videos doing whatever I want.
SC: How do you feel your music has evolved over time?
R: I think my music has changed as I have changed. It’s almost imperceptible at the moment, but looking back five years ago it all feels very different.
SC: I see you played a gig in London this April. How does it feel to be able to tour again after a long pause during Covid?
R: I have been so looking forward to playing shows again! Being able to perform live is so rewarding. London in particular is always a very warm city towards me; it’s still shocking every time to see somebody know the lyrics to my songs and sing along with me. It was such a special experience.
SC: After a successful release of your album Emotional Support Animal, I’m sure your fans are desperate for a new release. Is there one coming up and what can your listeners expect from the album?
R: I have been planning on releasing a full-length album for quite a long time now. It’s definitely in the works, but Im not sure when it will be ready.
SC: Lastly, I came across your Instagram where you mentioned adopting stray kittens. That is incredibly sweet, can you tell us about a few?
R: Fostering kittens is probably the most rewarding thing in my life. I’m a huge animal lover, and cats, in particular, have a special place in my heart. I’m currently fostering two one-week-old kittens and two five-week-old kittens. The little bottle babies are so fragile and tiny that I have to wake up and feed them every two or three hours throughout the night. Being able to provide for them when the world has left them stranded makes me feel like I have a purpose.

Click to check out Rainsford’s playlist!

Words: Sofie Chetrar