Singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata is returning to Ann Arbor for a soulful performance on her United States tour. Yamagata has collaborated with many well-known artists in the past (including Bryan Adams and Jason Mraz), and is now bringing her own poetic style to The Ark this Thursday.

Yamagata started off her career and love of music non-traditionally. She did not enjoy piano lessons growing up, and she struggled to find herself during college, bouncing between majors and universities. She finally found her calling by playing around on the piano and seeing the funk group Bumpus play in Chicago while she was in college. This inspiration was all that she needed as validation to start her career. Yamagata became infatuated with the idea of talented people her age playing music for the fun of it and realized that a music career is what she wanted to pursue.

“I’m really excited about (taking) down the fourth wall — having a living room style, special experience,” said Yamagata, in an interview with The Daily. The intimate concert is bound to be a personal experience for everyone who comes.

“(I hope my concert) can inspire people,” she said. “Almost like when you go see a movie by yourself, (and) you’re like, ‘wow, I really felt that wholeheartedly.’” Yamagata hopes to reach every member of the audience, affecting them in personal and unique ways. Her music aims to affect every audience member differently. The audience brings their distinct experiences to the concert, while Yamagata brings her poetic lyrics and indie groove to dissect these experiences and destroy inhibitions, creating a raw experience that is meant to heal.

Vulnerability plays a large role in the songs of the set: “My songs are (like a) deep dive into what makes us really uncomfortable and angular, and makes us feel like our heads and hearts are going to explode, and then I put you back together,” she said.

Yamagata is fearless in the face of topics that are otherwise difficult to discuss. She strives to create a space where she encourages people to look at themselves in a different light — a concert dedicated to the introspective.

She hopes to break the emotional fronts that humans put up and use the power of her music to heal the audience. She creates a safe space for people to open up by leading by example and pouring her heart out to the audience in the way she knows best: song.

In addition, Yamagata has a special place in her heart for the city of Ann Arbor.

“I love that it’s a college town,” she said. Being in Ann Arbor is reminiscent of her own college years, and she is excited to give students what she felt with Bumpus in Chicago: a real, raw, emotional experience with music and people.

“Anyone in school, and you don’t know what you’re doing — it’s OK. You will figure it out!” Her concert is bound to be one of emotional depth and healing for anyone trying to find their own voice and place. She also encourages audiences to come to the show as early as possible to hear her opening act, Hemming, an acoustic singer-songwriter, whose compelling performance is also bound to inspire and heal.

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