Rachel Garlin is a San Francisco-based singer-songwriter, currently recording her sixth full-length album at Fantasy Records with producer Julie Wolf.
Garlin grew up in a music-infused household in Berkeley, California. She spent as much time learning folk songs on her dad’s Gibson J-50 as she did practicing her jump-shot with the State Championship Berkeley High basketball team. She went on to become a member of the Harvard hoops team while cutting her teeth at open mics in and around Cambridge, MA.
Before becoming a full-time singer-songwriter, Garlin earned her teaching credential and taught in public schools in Phoenix, Berkeley and New York. Carrying the stories of her students with her, she began recording and touring. Her first album was a collaboration with her own childhood music-teacher-turned producer, Lisa Zeiler.
Songs from Garlin’s first two albums gained her recognition at folk festivals around the country, including the Newport Folk Festival where show won first place in the Talent Search. Her third album was captured during two live shows at the historic Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. Bassist Jon Evans and keys-player Julie Wolf joined the effort and became longtime collaborators. Later, she moved to New York to work with producer Ben Wisch.
During this time, Garlin’s momentum on the road allowed her to tour as far as Sweden and Scotland where she performed in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in her mother’s homeland. Her songs aired on NPR’s Democracy Now!, Click and Clack’s Car Talk and were featured in documentary films such as Fuel and A Womb of Their Own.
With a new EP out this month, Garlin is performing monthly at venues in the West while working on a longer project scheduled for release in Spring 2019.
Media fans include Curve Magazine (“storytelling at its best”) and Diffuser Magazine (“an impressive catalog of unforgettable songs.”) Garlin lives in San Francisco with her wife and three kiddos.
Teaching and Social Justice
With a grant from the Music To Life Foundation, Garlin taught social-justice-oriented songwriting workshops at the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Dublin Women’s Prison, and in public schools in Berkeley and New York. Now a faculty member at Live Oak School, Garlin leads songwriting workshops for kids and adults. She also works with the youth record label Upstar Records while mentoring system-involved youth at Sunset Youth Services.