LA Pop Songstress Tishmal Discusses New Single ‘On My Way Up’, Songwriting Process, & More

Breaking barriers in music, mental health, and anxiety, singer-songwriter Tishmal uses her music to help others overcome their struggles in her newest release, “On My Way Up.”

Following the success of her past single, “Bodies,” she turns the tables from an electronic dance hit, to a more chill melody finding inner peace in this release. With synthesizers, steady percussion, and echoing harmonies, the song takes you to another place immediately letting listeners into her world. Encouraging her audience with the lyrics, “No I don’t really know what the future holds / But I know that I will be on my way up,” she takes the fear of the unknown and makes it positive by moving forward and finding her own way. 

The artist name “Tishmal” is actually the solo project of Rachel Brockbank, which actually means “hummingbird” in Luiseño, the language of her Native American heritage. Beginning to write music at such a young age, this name was given to her as a little girl, so she decided to carry it on into her artistry. 

The rising pop singer has opened up for big names in the pop realm such as Zara Larsson, CHVRCHES, The Aces, Hippie Sabotage, and XYLO. Having a style similar to Lorde and Tove Lo, she finds her fanbase rooted in these artists among others. 

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With the past year bringing on a lot of challenges to the mix in everyone’s lives, Tishmal talks to us about the struggles, pinnacle moments, her song process, and upcoming projects in our latest interview.

Surprisingly, 2021 is almost in the books. How would you sum up your 2021 in one word?

For the past year, I would say “free”. I officially moved to LA in January and having been raised in San Diego, moving here has felt so good and familiar. Overall, I’ve spent a lot more time in nature, and I’ve let go of a lot of toxic beliefs. Nature really does heal. And like so many of us, the pandemic gave me a ton of extra time to reevaluate. A lot of the chaos and heaviness from my life has been sifted away and I just feel really free.

What does a day in the life of Tishmal’s songwriting and/or recording process look like?  

I always try to start my day with my creative routine: wake up and do a written meditation, just letting my mind flow freely for a few pages, then workout, get ready and make matcha tea. It depends on the day from there! I’ll either have sessions, or I work at home writing music. I try to get inspired and listen to music that lights up my emotions and mind.

Some days I try to chase that enthusiasm and other days I try and listen to what needs to be expressed in the song. I love that each time is so different. But I think the best preparation for songwriting and recording happens at night. I always stay up way too late reading about psychology and art and other randoms subjects, and writing poetry under the covers haha. It’s really the best time to let my mind wander and wonder and come up with ideas.

So I was hoping you could talk about your new single, “On My Way Up”. What’s the backstory on how this song came to life? 

I always lived with this anxiety like something horrible was just around the corner, but I started asking myself, “What if it turns out better than you imagined?” Honestly, I really don’t know if it will! And for the first time in my life I feel so content with not knowing. It’s freeing- I wanted to weave all of it into a song.

And it was one of those days in the studio that felt electric. Daniel Pashman (Producer) and I were paired to work together for the very first time and just really hit it off. I remember laughing the whole time, so happy about the melodies and sounds we were playing with.

The single has a very upbeat feel both melodically and lyrically. What messages and feelings do you hope listeners take away from it? 

Ah I just hope people feel a little more hopeful- the pandemic has been hard on everyone in some way or another. Like one of my favorite lines is really so simple: “Far as I can tell, I’m alive and well and I know that I will be… on my way up.” I hope people remember to give themselves more credit simply for being alive, haha.

Can fans expect to see it on an upcoming EP or LP, or is it a standalone single for now? 

Hmmm I’ll just say there is a lot more music to come in 2022. 🙂

How do you know when a song like this is finished? Do you find yourself wanting to keep tinkering and re-recording tracks etc.? 

It just depends on the song! It’s such an elusive process, and I think that’s so fun. Sometimes you have to tinker until it feels right, and that can take years!! But then other times you finish the thing in a day- that’s pretty much what happened with OMWU.

Did you feel the past 20-ish months helped or hindered your creative process and artistic drive? Neither? All of the above? 

Haha. On so many levels I have been heartbroken not being able to tour and play shows. I miss trying out new songs and seeing how people react. My whole reason for doing music is to connect with people in real life and help us not feel so alone. And the pandemic was so isolating that way. We are just barely making our way out of it too. On the other hand, I’ve had so much time reflect on my mind and my mental health, like I’ve said- so much healing. I’m just really grateful.

What does success as a musician and songwriter mean to you? 

Showing up every day to the piano and making something from my soul. Also having a song go viral on Tiktok would be rad, haha. I love seeing how creative people get with songs! It’s amazing! Humans are so creative it’s really cool.

What are one or two pinnacle moments for you as an artist? 

My first feature with Kaskade, on “I Have Dreams” was so exciting to see the song reach more people than my music ever had before. And opening for Zara Larson was also an amazing experience. I am just so inspired by her performance and work. She is one of the best vocalists I’ve ever heard live. Her range is something else.

Do you have the wheels in motion for new material, touring, and/or something else for 2022?

I have so many songs I’ve been working on in the past year and I’m really excited for touring as things keep rolling out. There is a lot of energy behind the scenes and I’m just so excited to see where it all goes.

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