NASHVILLE, TN — A talented vocalist from Sibley is thriving in the music capital of the United States with original melodies evoking her Midwestern upbringing and the region’s natural beauty.
Rochelle Riser is a 29-year-old Nashville-based singer and songwriter who recently recorded and released a single called “Superior”. In the song, she recalls her trips to Lake Superior over the years and her fear of the immense body of water.
“I feel like when we’re up there everyone feels really relaxed and at ease and like the other little things in life don’t matter as much,” Riser said, graduated in 2010 from Sibley-Ocheyedan High School in Sibley. who then attended Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
She has lived in metropolitan Tennessee since graduating with her Bachelor of Music degree in 2014. Riser released an extended four-song piece called “What Was on My Mind” in 2017 and has since continued to compose and perform her own tracks. .
She was born Rochelle Feldkamp to her parents Paul and Lisa Feldkamp and married her husband, Harold Elie, earlier this summer.
However, she adopted the surname Riser as her stage name to prevent advertisers from mispronouncing Feldkamp – something that happened when she was about to perform live. Riser was her great-grandmother’s maiden name, which is how she chose it for her professional nickname.
She wrote “Superior” in early 2019 and performed it live at shows during a three-week tour that she continued to the Midwest and Colorado. It was only last year that she recorded the song, which she also co-produced with her husband, Harold Elie, and mixed by Justin Ryan Francis.
“Due to COVID, where I would normally have gone to the studio, the whole recording process was remote,” Riser said of the recording of the single.
During the four-minute acoustic song, Riser reflects on the fact that she’s only visited the west coast of the country a few times and has never been to places such as Portland, OR, or California cities such as Palm Springs or Santa Barbara.
She responds to that observation by then singing, “The only port I know well is a port in Minnesota, and to me, it always takes my breath away.”
Her family has cultivated near Sibley all of her life, so vacations for her and her younger siblings weren’t always frequent or extravagant. Instead, the family would take camping trips to various Minnesota state parks around Father’s Day.
She said her parents didn’t originally think their kids would like to spend time near the lake, but the opposite was ultimately true.
“We ended up loving it and asked my parents if we could go back and say, ‘Why don’t we take trips here? »», She declared.
They typically visited Minnesota towns along the northern Superior coast, such as Duluth and Grand Marais. This latter community is also where Riser and her husband got married in a small wedding ceremony.
“It’s only 1,300 people or something, but it’s really cute and there are a lot of fun little things to do there,” Riser said.
Another memory she refers to about halfway through “Superior” is of a 100 km hike that she and Elijah took about five years ago.
“’Walking for miles along the North Shore with everything I needed on my back’ hints at it directly,” Riser said of the lyrics.
As for the genre of the song, Riser said it falls broadly into the Americana folk category, although a narrower description she has given of the type of music she makes is “Prairie Wanderlust Americana”.
“The prairie is where I grew up, so I really like to instill openness and a sense of exploration and adventure into my music,” she said.
After Riser graduated from college, she first worked in an elementary school and later as a nanny. However, as jobs often conflicted with her touring schedule, she started delivering groceries for people through the mobile app, Shipt.
“During the pandemic, because no tours were allowed, no shows were allowed, I practically had to depend entirely on it for my income,” Riser said.
Despite the lockdown due to the pandemic, Riser’s voice was able to reach people around the world thanks to his recording of the song “Out in the Open”. The song was included in the soundtrack to the movie “Bigfoot Family,” which was released at a film festival last year before hitting Netflix in February.
The songwriter – a Belgian band called Puggy – found Riser online, where she signed up as a demo singer. The band needed an American singer for the recording and thought Riser’s voice was a great fit.
She recorded the tune from her Nashville home and sent the audio to the band remotely. The group said the song was for a movie, but Riser didn’t realize at the time that it would eventually be released on a global streaming platform.
“I will be getting messages from people like Nigeria or Singapore and Russia, saying, ‘We love your song’,” she said.
“It’s really cool to be able to get these comments all over the world because I feel like without this movie I wouldn’t have had a chance to do it or it would have taken a lot longer.”
As the pandemic subsided this year, she was able to perform more live shows, including one with a ticket in late July. She also took part in several small concerts in Nashville called “Writers’ Rounds”. In these performances, three or four songwriters sit together on stage and take turns playing original songs.
“It’s something very unique to Nashville, although other cities have picked up on it as well,” she said. “If people are visiting Nashville, they should make sure to go on a writers’ tour because it’s a very unique experience.”
She plans to perform more live shows in the fall – including some closer to her home in N’West Iowa – although she doesn’t have exact dates set yet. Fans can also expect more new music from Riser, as she plans to enter the recording studio again this year.
“I’m still in design mode after posting this, thinking about what I want to post next. “