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Indie Talk

  • Writer's pictureIndie Music News Reporter

Who Records an Album During a Global Pandemic?

Reece Ratliff Releases "Checkered Vans," The First Single Off His Debut Full-Length Album

Reece Ratliff is thrilled to announce the release of “Checkered Vans,” the first single off his debut studio album, Compass. Checkered Vans is a melodic indie pop track. Co-written with Kass and renowned Nashville songwriter Chris Roberts, “Checkered Vans” tells the story of a classic teenage relationship. After finding a pair of shoes left behind in a breakup, Ratliff is forced to relive the memories of the time spent in love. Between pleas for a second chance, he remembers

“The ones that made you dance on the hood of your dad’s new Benz / In the rain, our song on the radio, you and me holding hands / Damn those Checkered Vans.” - Lyrics, Checkered Vans

A native of Wilmington, Delaware, 17 year old pop singer-songwriter Reece Ratliff began working in Nashville in the Fall of 2018. After falling in love with the city’s music scene and meeting producer Matt Kass, Ratliff began writing and recording his 12-track album in February 2020.

“You know, this is definitely not how I pictured myself tracking the vocals on this project, but I’m so grateful to Matt and the team for making it all possible,” said Ratliff in a daily video log he captured throughout the process. Now I’m just excited to get it out into the world.” - Reece Ratliff

However, after commuting back and forth through February and March to track the record in Kass’s home studio, disaster struck. With less than half of the project finished, Ratliff and Kass faced a tough decision: push back the release of the album or find a way to work around the global shutdown caused by the novel Coronavirus.

An unabashed optimist and hard worker, Ratliff’s choice was clear. Thousands of dollars worth of recording gear and software later, he set out to build a remote vocal studio at his dad’s office space in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Ratliff’s modern, crooning voice, akin to the likes of indie-pop stars Lauv and Christian French, exhibits his vulnerability and carries his message of heartbreak and nostalgia through the song.

"This song is for everyone who remembers what it feels like to fall in love for the first time."

With its anthemic choruses and addictive synth melodies, “Checkered Vans” is a radio-ready pop hit sure to catch the attention of listeners everywhere.


About Reece Ratliff

17-year old Reece Ratliff picked up his first guitar at the age of two, took guitar lessons in grade school, and shined in his local chapter of School of Rock playing the classics from the Beatles to AC/ DC in the school’s prestigious house band, DE-Team.

Drawing on his own musical influences, such as Christian French and Lauv, Ratliff began expressing himself through songwriting. After releasing his debut EP, I’ll Take The Fall, at 16, Ratliff set out on the road by himself for a 21-city tour, “hero’s journey,” a month-long acoustic set performed across the eastern half of the United States. Crashing on friends’ and strangers’ couches, much of his new material was inspired on the road.

During his stop in Nashville, Tennessee, he began the process of redefining his sound, writing and recording his most recent single, “Cruise Control,” which has since amassed over 200,000 streams on Spotify.

For more information, please visit Reece Ratliff's website.

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