Midtown Raleigh News

Folk singer Rebekah Todd takes a soulful turn

Folk singer-songwriter Rebekah Todd plays Thursday, Sept. 19, at Slim’s Downtown in Raleigh.
Folk singer-songwriter Rebekah Todd plays Thursday, Sept. 19, at Slim’s Downtown in Raleigh. COURTESY OF REBEKAH TODD

Between raising nearly $6,000 online, recording a brand-new CD and recruiting a backup band, 2013 has been a busy year for Rebekah Todd.

Todd – a folk singer-songwriter who splits her time between Raleigh and Greenville – is gearing up for a national tour in November. But first she’s playing bars and festivals in North Carolina, including a stop Thursday at Slim’s Downtown in Raleigh.

“I’m planning on getting close to 100 shows this year,” she said last week, a few hours before hitting the stage at Kings Barcade.

Todd, a native of Benson in Johnston County, has been a steady presence on the state’s folk scene for years. She’s made multiple trips across the country promoting her “Forgot Me Not” EP.

“I’ve gotten more comfortable in front of people,” she said. “I’ve honestly found my voice.”

Todd has a powerful voice that can fill a noisy bar or nightclub, and her soulful tunes are inspired by musicians like Feist, Jenny Lewis, Susan Tedeschi and Regina Spektor.

Her sound is about to get even jazzier. Looking for a backup band for her first full-length album this summer, she stumbled on a group of Greenville musicians during a cover show. The ensemble has a funky sound featuring saxophone, trombone, organ, bass and drums.

“It didn’t feel forced – we just meshed,” Todd said.

Within weeks, she had brought the group on board for her recording sessions and started making plans for her first full band tour. It’s a change for Todd, who typically performs alone with only an acoustic guitar.

“I come from folk, but I feel like I’m a soulful version of folk,” she said.

Her new CD, “Roots Bury Deep,” is nearing completion, though Todd hasn’t set the release date yet. The recording process was funded by a Kickstarter online crowdfunding campaign that Todd launched in June.

Her goal was to raise $4,800, enticing donors with thank-you gifts such as copies of the CD and original artwork. In six weeks, Todd raised nearly $6,000 from 156 donors – some of whom she’s never even met.

“People were extremely helpful,” she said. “I was honestly blown away.”

The support will help Todd continue to make music her full-time job. She’s not looking to get famous, though.

“I just want to be able to live my life and do what I love,” she said. “This is really all I think about all day.”