Rachael Wendy Bartholomew (born 22 February 1994), known by her stage name Rachael Leahcar, is an Australian singer and songwriter, born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. She participated on the first season of The Voice Australia, coming in third place. Shortly after, she signed a record deal with Universal Music Australia. Her debut album Shooting Star, which contained songs she performed on The Voice, as well as newly recorded covers, was released on 13 July 2012. The album debuted at number five on the ARIA Albums Chart.
Life and career:
1994-2011: Early life:
Rachael Leahcar (born Rachael Wendy Bartholomew) was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia (her performing surname is her first name spelled backwards). Leahcar was born with retinitis pigmentosa and is 90% legally blind. She found her love of music at a very early age and has been singing and playing instruments ever since. At the age of 12, Leahcar was accepted into the South Australian Public Primary Schools choir. The same year, she auditioned and was accepted into the music program at Brighton Secondary School. Also at the age of 12, she entered Fellini's Search for a Star competition, where she made it through to the grand final and was chosen as one of the top 3 performers of the evening, winning $200 and the judges' encouragement award of $1000 worth of recording time at Quentin Eyres Studio.
In March 2009, at age 15, Leahcar entered and won Dino Prizzi's International Festival of Song competition, winning a return trip to Rome to perform on a RAI Uno television program. She was also invited to perform in Benevento while touring Italy on a television program. Leahcar has also performed professionally at many of the Italian clubs and events in Adelaide, including the 2010 and 2011 Italian Carnevale.
Following this, Leahcar entered and won the Star Life Talent Search competition, where she received a trophy, $500 for her school and $500 in vouchers for herself to spend. One of the judges of the competition was SAFM radio personality, Andrew 'Cosi' Costello, who was so impressed with Leahcar that he asked her to sing her winning song, "Non, je ne regrette rien", on the radio. He was so overwhelmed with her talent that he also asked her to perform at his wedding reception, which she did.
In October 2009, Leahcar released a cover album titled, Rachael's Repertoire, which included ten of her most performed songs at the time. She decided to donate $1 from every copy sold to CanDo4Kids, a charity that has supported her throughout her life. With the success of the first album, a second cover album with ten songs, self-titled Rachael Leahcar, was released shortly afterwards.
In 2011, Leahcar completed year 12 and successfully applied for Speech Pathology at Flinders University, but has since deferred this course to focus on a career in music. Leahcar is also an official ambassador for the Royal Society for the Blind and has since done commercials on the Nine Network.
2012: The Voice Australia, record deal and Shooting Star:
Leahcar auditioned for the first season of the Australian reality television talent show The Voice Australia. She appeared on the show's second episode on 16 April 2012, singing Edith Piaf's "La Vie en rose". All four coaches turned their chairs and opted to take Leahcar as one of their finalists; she chose Delta Goodrem as her coach and mentor. Leahcar progressed through to the Battle Rounds, where she was paired against contestant Adam Hoek, singing Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow". As a result, Goodrem chose Leahcar as the winner of the battle and she progressed through to the Live Shows. For the first Live Show, Leahcar sang Jewel's "Hands" and progressed through to the Quarter-finals after she was chosen by the public vote. In her second Live Show, she sang the classic song "Someone to Watch Over Me" and she progressed through to the Semi-finals after being selected again by the public. In her third Live Show, she sang "Nights in White Satin (Notte Di Luce)", where she progressed through to the Grand Final after being chosen by Goodrem.
During the first part of the Grand Final, on 17 June 2012, Leahcar sang an original song titled "Shooting Star", which she wrote, and Charlie Chaplin's "Smile". Leahcar placed third in the second part of the Grand Final on 18 June 2012. She was awarded a cash prize of $20,000.
On 26 June 2012, it was announced that Leahcar, along with other The Voice finalists Sarah De Bono and Darren Percival, had been signed to record deals on Universal Music Australia. Leahcar's debut single "Coming Home Again", which would have been her winner's single, was released digitally on 29 June 2012. Leahcar's debut album, titled Shooting Star, was released on 13 July 2012; it features studio versions of covers she performed on The Voice, original songs, and newly recorded covers of Bette Midler's "The Rose" and the Bee Gees' "Words". Leahcar promoted the album with an in-store appearance at Westfield Marion, Adelaide, where she signed copies of the album and performed "La Vie en rose" and "Shooting Star".
Leahcar joined previous The Voice contestants for a one-off charity concert special, Voices Reaching Out, for The Reach Foundation on 12 July 2012. The 90-minute concert aired 15 July 2012 on the Nine Network and was staged at The Palms at Crown complex, where she sang Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years".Shooting Star debuted at number five on the ARIA Albums Chart.
In August 2012, it was announced that Leahcar would be the opening act for Delta Goodrem's An Evening With Delta: The Top of My World Shows tour in October and November 2012.
Leahcar appeared on Noah Stewart's Australian release of his debut album, featuring on a The Sound of Music medley with violinist Sally Cooper, released on September 7, 2012.
2012-present: Romantique and Here Comes the Sun:
In July 2012, Leahcar revealed via Facebook she has been writing new music. Leahcar announced via her official website she has been working on a new album, to be released in 2013.
On March 24, 2013, Leahcar via Twitter, announced her second album Romantique, is set to be released on April 26, 2013 and would be followed by a tour. Of recording the album, Leahcar told The Daily Telegraph, "It started off at about 100 songs and was then whittled down to 50 and then I recorded about 20. I'm really happy with the album and my originals. I'm just so excited to show everyone what I've been up to."Romantique is a collection of "contemporary, classic and original songs backed by orchestral instruments". While no singles were released from the album, a music video featuring Leahcar was released for the song "Hearts a Mess".
Leahcar performed at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for a second time for Carols by Candlelight on December 24, 2013, singing Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You". In January 2014, Leahcar revealed has been writing with singer-songwriter Josh Pyke. On March 31, 2014, Leahcar announced details for her third studio album, Here Comes the Sun, a collection of Beatles covers. The album is set to be released on April 11, 2014. Leahcar described the upcoming album as "really special".