Pop Quiz: Rachel Platten


Aidin Vaziri | Rachel Platten, 34, struggled for years in the music industry before she broke through with “Fight Song” — an anthem she wrote to help herself persevere through those seemingly endless nights driving her van to play empty clubs. The song has appeared everywhere, from campaign stops to television shows, taking on a life of its own on social media, where its inspirational message is embraced by people battling terminal diseases. In January, Platten released her third album and major-label debut, “Wildfire,” which hit No. 5 on the Billboard 200. We spoke to her from a tour stop in Pennsylvania.

Q: You have done many, many tours before this one. How are things different now that you have a gargantuan hit?

A: The whole thing is wildly different. I’m actually in a greenroom right now — I’m not crouched in a corner trying to do my makeup. The fans have been the most amazing part. I get to see these people who embraced my music.

Q: What do they look like?

A: The age of the audience is really mixed. It’s moms and daughters. There’s a lot of dudes, which I did not expect. There’s people who look a lot cooler than me. There’s a lot of kids with tears in their eyes who look like they need these words and these songs.

Q: Did you realize the power one song could have to transform your life?

A: It’s a hard question to answer. I read these old journal entries I wrote; and they’re grand, sweeping statements like, “This song is going to heal the world!” I don’t ever remember feeling that confidence. There was always a part of me that felt rejected. So, yes and no.

Q: People have embraced “Fight Song” in so many different ways — from using it for a Hilary Clinton campaign win to an anthem for battling cancer. Is it hard not to take it all on?

A: I’m working on finding ways to not take it on as much. My backstage meet-and-greets are not normal meet-and-greets, where we just pose for a picture together. It’s people, bawling and crying, telling me their mom just died. I feel a responsibility to help them. Their stories affect me and they hurt me.

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