Meet Rainsford: The Singer on *Everyone’s* Radar

She’s dripping in CHANEL Couture, no less.

There are some people who spend the better portion of their teens and early 20s (and in some cases even their 30s) trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Then there are others like Rainsford, who know from the second they’re born what their destiny is.

Born Rainey Qualley, the artist now known as Rainsford spent her childhood immersed in all types of theater and music, from school plays and guitar lessons to piano practice and dance sessions. The daughter of actress Andie McDowell, she came by her talents quite honestly. While she grew up bopping away to the likes of Hanson and Britney Spears (relatable), she now makes music that she describes as “minimal R&B weirdo-pop.”

Given that Rainsford got her entertainment industry start as a model, we decided to channel that time with a dose of CHANEL couture using NYC's legendary Electric Lady Studios as a backdrop. Yes, those studios—the ones built by Jimi Hendrix and where David Bowie and Paul McCartney recorded “Fame.” Despite being distracted by our rock ’n’ roll royalty setting and the piles of couture, we managed to snag a couple minutes with the singer to learn more about her career, her first fashion memories, and her well-known love for animals.

On transitioning from modeling to music:

“Music really has always been my first love. I’ve been singing for pretty much as long as I can remember speaking, but I think I’ve always been drawn to particularly the performance arts. I started ballet when I was two, my parents put me in piano and guitar when I was a kid, and I always did school plays. All along, I knew I wanted to be a singer. I also think it was important to explore other things. For me, everything feeds everything else.”

On her first music memory:

“So many of my memories are music-oriented, but I remember my dad playing guitar to me when I would be falling asleep as a little girl.”

On her first fashion memory:

“When I was young, my mom brought back a bunch of these scarves from Egypt. They weren’t expensive, but I would wrap myself up in them when I was a kid. I also remember going to a fashion show with my mom when I was six years old and just being mesmerized by everything. It was so beautiful.”

On her first (music) crush:

“My first favorite band was Hanson. I was so in love with them. That was also my first concert. When I was really young, I liked all the typical little-kid bands, and as I got a bit older I loved Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera.”

On where she finds inspiration for her songs:

“All my music is really autobiographical, so whatever I’m going through at the time ends up in my songs. Unfortunately or not, I’m a pretty emotional person, so I pretty much always have something going on in that regard. My life experiences inform my writing. I think more than anything it just becomes a habit, regardless of if I feel stuck or not. You just do it and push through it and then ultimately hopefully end up with something you like.”

On her favorite things to do:

“I think traveling in general is inspirational. Also, just spending time with people that are important to me is inspiring, like my sisters and my best friend in the world; every time I’m with them, I feel inspired. Just doing things that, as cheesy as this sounds, feed your soul.”

On her EP name, Emotional Support Animal, and her love of animals:

“For me, writing music is the way that I work through things, and I also really love animals, so it's like music is my emotional support animal.

“I have two permanent cats, and I also foster kittens, so I have kittens constantly in and out of my house. I also have a dog. He was my first foster animal, and I got him when he was this four-week-old little puppy. Obviously I couldn’t give him back. But I’ve been really good with the kittens, I’ve probably had like, 50 foster kittens and found homes for all of them. I’m not a crazy cat person with a million cats in my house yet. People scoff at that, but that’s kind of a goal, eventually.”

A PSA From Rainsford:

“Check out North Central Animal Shelter. Super overrun, but they have lots of loving pets.”