The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Rachael L. Rose

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature singer and pianist, and the Artistic Director at Thistle Rose Academy of Arts, Rachael L. Rose.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I started piano lessons when I was very young, four years old!  I didn’t start voice training until I was a young adult, but I was already an excellent pianist and accompanist by sixth or seventh grade.

Did you receive formal training in music?

I have a non-traditional education path in voice, which I consider to be my primary instrument now. I have, however, studied formally with teachers from Wayne State University, Westminster Choir College, Rider College, and University of Michigan. I’m currently applying to the Fitzmaurice Voice Certification Program out of New York as well.

We live life publicly so that others might learn and feel and create and celebrate.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

Oh my. So many people have mentored me. Both my biological parents were accomplished musicians, my mom is a phenomenal pianist and accompanist and my dad was a professional singer and actor. They were both music teachers, so I come by it honestly. But so many other people have been mentors to me: Dr. Richard Householder, Professor Emeritus, University of Windsor; Carolyn Grimes; Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan; Danielle M. Wright; Brad Lieto; Michael Barnes, Jill Dion, Freda Herseth and all of my students mentor me in often unexpected ways; and so very many more.  I am inspired by so many musicians, artists, and humans…not necessarily all musicians or voice practitioners!

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

I am a member of ACDA, the American Choral Directors Association, as well as VASTA, the Voice and Speech Trainers Association.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

Our arts organization, Thistle Rose Academy of Arts (TRAA), though it hasn’t been only me who created it; I dreamed it. So many people in the community and in my life have helped me to realize that dream. It’s more than just a place to put on shows and concerts, it’s a place of learning. It’s a place of creativity. It’s a place of dreaming. It’s a place where we dream big and even if whatever we’re working on is big and challenging, we all come together and uplift one another, the members, and the community around us. It’s such an inspiration to get to work with all the people associated with and part of TRAA and to see how it’s growing.

Has your work appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?

Most recently, through an amazingly awesome partnership with KickstART Farmington, we were able to do Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” right in Riley Park in Farmington! So exciting! We perform concerts and shows where the public is able to buy tickets or attend, but Much Ado was down front and center in Farmington. What a joy!

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

I have a lot of them really, but I’m not sure to whom I can attribute them all.  I think that one of them for me is “ANYone can sing!”.  I made it up based off one of my favorite animated films, Ratatouille, where a common rat is a chef and his mentor/idol has a motto of “Anyone can cook!” 

My other favorite quote is that “I live life in technicolor”.  I got that one from my mom who says my dreams are so big they scare her and with me, nothing is ever dull … that I live life in technicolor. 

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

Don’t give up on your artistic dreams. If you have a passion for it, nurture it. Find a way to make it part of your life. I know when I am not singing, and performing, and teaching, and conducting … I feel less than. Not fulfilled and not truly grounded. Do not let ANYONE tell you you can’t be an artist (in any genre) and do not let anyone steal your dreams. Make it yours and find a way.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way. There will always be more money … there WON’T always be more life or time.

What do you think is missing from the arts community in Farmington/Hills?

Collaboration. Plain and simple. There are so many of us who are amazing artists but there’s a sense of competition or turf guarding. Frankly, all ships rise with the tide. Let’s work together to make a vibrant arts scene right here in Farmington/Hills!

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?

It builds community. It is the essence of celebrating the beauty right in our own midst. We create deeper relationships with one another and give an intensity or “technicolor” if you will to the community. We provoke thought. We raise awareness. We give back. We help one another. If we can’t find family and friends within our own community, to whom will we turn when we really need our neighbors and community? We help people process grief. We bring to light issues that might otherwise remain hidden. We live life publicly so that others might learn and feel and create and celebrate.

Learn more about Rachael Rose and Thistle Rose Academy of Art here.

(Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to

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