Rainsford is the Rising Musician Finding Her "Sweet Spot"

Rainsford is the Rising Musician Finding Her "Sweet Spot"

The independent artist opens up about her musical journey—where she's coming from and where she's headed next—alongside a new shoot for Vmagazine.com.

The independent artist opens up about her musical journey—where she's coming from and where she's headed next—alongside a new shoot for Vmagazine.com.

Photography: Robin Harper

Styling: Kenny Paul

Text: Ian David Monroe

L.A.-based singer Rainey Qualley, who releases music under the moniker Rainsford, is building buzz with her standout tracks "Too Close" and "Sweet Spot," which blend R&B melodies with pop-leaning lyrics. As she develops her aesthetic, both sonically and visually, she moves further from her commercial modeling and acting past: a Macy's campaign, being Miss Golden Globe in 2012, and even a small stint on Mad Men.

The journey to her newfound niche has taken a few years, and seen a few bumps. After high school, at 18, she picked up and moved to New York City to attend the Maggie Flanigan Studio to study songwriting. Two years later, she took off to L.A. for a bit, then back across the country to Nashville where she released a few country-tinged tracks under her birth name. Like many musicians, Qualley didn't feel her early work was representative of who she is as an artist.

“I’ve been trying to write music and trying to figure out how to make it as an artist for a while and ended up getting wrapped up in a deal where I was making music I really didn’t like and didn’t feel authentic to me,” she offers frankly. “Now I really like my music, and it feels good to actually be excited to share what I’m doing and be enthusiastic to tell people.”

One of those people she shares with is her mom, '80s icon and L’Oreal spokesmodel Andie MacDowell—who knows that her daughter is a star. “I played a demo of 'Sweet Spot' for and after the first line she was like, ‘Oh my god, I love this.’ She was dorky, groovy dancing to it [laughs]. She was like, ‘This is a hit!’” It is, in fact, Rainsford's best track yet.

There is plenty to be said about the creative endeavors of famous offspring, but Qualley is quick to set the record straight: “I work really hard, and my mom is very supportive like any mother would be, but she doesn’t have music connections or anything.” She might not be cashing in on the clout of her mom for quick upward mobility, but Qualley is putting her sister, actress Margaret Qualley, to work.

For her forthcoming track “Rendez-vous,” a track about the love story between an elderly couple, the singer is tapping her sister to direct the music video. The two wrote the script together, presumably at home, in an Echo Park apartment that they share. In case you were wondering about any sibling rivalry: "[Margaret] is so talented and writes scripts all the time, so I’m honored that this project is going to be her first thing. I think she has a very bright future in whatever capacity she wants." The same could be said for Rainsford.

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