Rachell Soler on progress, pursuing her dreams and making her family proud

Rachell Soler was in 11th grade when her friends started calling her by her stage name, Rachi Relos. However, her passion for music began way before this.

Soler’s first musical memory dates back to the first grade. Her teacher, Mr. Brown, put on a contest for those who made the honor roll. The prize? The winner would record their own CD.

Soler still remembers winning the contest and choosing to sing “Baby” by Justin Bieber as her reward. Mr. Brown and his brother, a music business professional, were present in the room.

“I remember him telling me, ‘oh my god, your voice is so smooth,’” Soler said.

Photo credit: Rachell Soler

Regardless of what others thought, you could find Soler singing around her house since the age of five. She always knew she wanted to pursue music, but it was in the 5th grade when she took this mindset to the next level.

Soler started getting solos in her high school’s choir and became a worship leader at the church where her father was a pastor.

Born in Higüey, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic, Soler was raised by her grandmother and remembers being surrounded by her cousins growing up. At five years old, she moved to Houston.

“I was very lonely,” Soler said. As an only child, the move to the United States was hard for her as she “had nobody here.” So, she asked her mom for a sister. By the time she was 11, Soler was an older sibling to her sister and brother and found comfort in her family.

Growing up in Houston, Soler has always repped the city and she does credit Houston for heavily influencing her musical style. Nonetheless, Soler still felt as though she “did not belong” there due to the significant lack of Caribbean culture.

During the summer months, Soler would journey back home to the Dominican Republic to visit her grandmother and cousins. Every morning, the smell of her grandmother’s mangu, mashed green plantains topped with pickled red onion and eggs would wake her up. Soler’s days were spent going to the park with friends and playing volleyball with her cousins.

Soler appreciates the “creative freedom” and inspiration that the Dominican Republic brings to her. “Every time I go back to the [Dominican Republic], I remember who I’m doing this for,” Soler said.

Photo credit: Rachell Soler

Soler’s most recent feature “Calentón” was recorded entirely in the Dominican Republic. Over the past few years, artists like El Alfa and Tokischa have been credited with the rise of dembow, a Dominican musical beat.

“I like making music in Spanish,” Soler said. With over five years of songwriting experience, she has dabbled in many genres.

When the Latin trap genre boomed around 2016, Soler noticed the significant lack of female artists. After her dad bought her a microphone at the age of 14, she began singing songs, such as “La Ocasión” by De La Ghetto, Arcangel, Ozuna, Anuel Aa, Dj Luian, Mambo Kingz, from the female perspective and posting them to SoundCloud.

The first song that Soler wrote, “Soy Yo” mimics this hypnotic trap beat. Learning the ropes to audio engineering on her own eventually led Soler to the broadcast journalism major with a minor in music business and possibly, another minor in musicology.

“I decided to come to the University of Miami because of the location,” Soler said.

She was excited about the cultural diversity, particularly amongst the Caribbean culture. Now, she reflects on how the university has strong areas, whether it’s medicine or music business.

“I already have an internship with musical creativity,” Soler said about the opportunities she has taken advantage of from the School of Communication.

In the past, Soler just saw music as her hobby. Now, things are different. In March, she wrote her upcoming single “Do Me Right,” an R&B anthem about someone who makes the singer feel good, all by herself.

“Music is just a dream, but it’s my job to make it a reality,” Soler said.

Set to drop on Friday, April 22, “Do Me Right” will show listeners how far Rachi Relos has grown over the past five years since “Soy Yo.”

“I feel like I finally found myself and I’m gonna show that through my music,” Soler said.

Soler’s perfect recording set-up? From 12 a.m. and later, in her room at Lakeside Village with the view of campus, lights off and candles lit.

Soler’s new tattoos are all a part of her new awakening. Her “222” tattoo is placed perfectly on her right hand, just in case she ever feels discouraged while writing a song.

“It means that God got me and all my dreams will come true,” Soler said.

Photo credit: Rachell Soler

Her music note tattoo is a promise to herself and her supporters that she will make a living off of her music. Like many other aspiring musicians, Soler oftentimes has moments where she wonders if she’s gonna make it.

“I want to make my family back in Houston and in DR proud,” Soler said. Her ultimate goal is to become a big name in the music industry. “If I don’t do everything I can to make it, I’m going to fail all of those people rooting for me,” Soler said.

Soler said nowadays people just want to have a “hit or something catchy.” Rachi Relos’ goal is different. She wants to make music that people will listen to 10 years from now. With her ambition and plans to release a studio-album across all platforms soon, her future certainly looks bright.