How growing up near Boston inspired Rachel Platten’s music

The Newton-bred singer of "Fight Song" provides insight into her local come-up.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18:  Rachel Platten Performs at Crate And Barrel At The Grove on February 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Crate and Barrel)
–Rich Polk/Getty Images

Rachel Platten, who was born and raised in Newton, spent 12 years hoping to make it big, creating music and putting out two albums, until one of her singles, “Fight Song,” took off in 2015. With a killer beat and motivating lyrics you can’t help but belt out loud, the tune almost instantly became a song of the year. Platten nabbed the attention of reigning pop queen Taylor Swift, and even Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who has used “Fight Song” as an anthem during numerous political rallies.

“It’s just amazing to me that something that can be so deeply personal can also be universal,” Platten said. “I’m really proud and honored.”

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After dropping a third album, Wildfire, in January (her debut with a major label, Columbia Records) and wrapping up a nationwide winter tour, this week, Platten gets to return home.

On Thursday, the singer-songwriter will be in Boston to grace the stage at a UNICEF gala in Back Bay.

Platten said that, growing up in Newton, she took advantage of “everything that could be offered creatively” to pursue her passion, including participating in plays at Mason-Rice Elementary and singing in All-City Chorus.

“I had an incredible piano teacher that lived in Newton who allowed me the freedom to express myself,” she said.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Platten was also back in the city for her sister Melanie’s wedding; she tied the knot at the Four Seasons in downtown Boston.

“I wrote my latest single, ‘Better Place,’ which will be on the radio in Boston, about [my sister and her husband],” Platten said. “I played it for them at their wedding for their first dance. It was so amazing to get to play the song that I wrote for them, and watch them solidify this love that they built.”

For Platten, coming home also spawns moments of reflection. She said that, while she was in town, she drove around Crystal Lake near her house, where she remembers writing her first song. She thinks back on past performances, the ones before her big tours, too.

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“I remember playing one of my first shows at Union Street, which is in Newton Centre, and it was the first time I actually had a crowd there,” Platten said. “It was so cool to announce to my hometown: ‘This is my life. I’m actually doing it seriously.’”

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