DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Evita and "The X Factor" Star Rachel Potter

By Andrew Gans
08 Nov 2013

Potter on the Oct. 29 Top 16 episode of "The X Factor."
Photo by Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Question: What’s the process like of working with a mentor?
Potter: We’re asked to put together song selections, a bunch of different songs we would want to do and then we’re put with a music producer. I’m actually with this amazing producer John Shanks, and he co-wrote and produced “The Climb” with Miley Cyrus, “Somebody Like You” with Keith Urban. He's just done so much in his career. He also worked with Kelly Rowland and Kelly Clarkson. I'm put with him and a vocal coach, and we worked on songs that Kelly has approved and Kelly has picked. And once we work them out, we sing them for Kelly, and then we work on them with her, and there’s more on the personal side of the mentoring, not just about the music, but who you are as an artist and a person. It’s great because now that we’re into live shows, we get a lot of rehearsal, a lot of time onstage, whereas with the 4 Chair Challenge, that was the first time we'd seen the stage. It’s really nice because coming from the world of Broadway where you get so much time on the stage and blocking and choreography, it makes you feel so much more comfortable to be able to live in the space for a while. I'm really grateful we get a chance to do that.

Question: Even if you don’t win, you’re going to be so much more recognizable. What are your thoughts about that kind of fame?
Potter: Well, I would love to win the competition or just go as far as I possibly can. My ultimate goal is to be able to make records. What I was finding in Nashville was that people were not responding to me at all. I thought perhaps if I came in and had some Broadway credits, people in the record industry would say, “Wow! You've done a lot of stuff. Let's pay attention to you.” Instead, it was the complete opposite. It really didn’t translate. People did not care, and they said, "Well you’re 29, your songs are ok.” I felt like I needed something like this to be able to get people’s attention, more than anything. So, whatever happens, I’m going to continue to move forward. I’ll put out a record whether it's with a record deal or without one, but it would certainly be amazing if it was with one, and if it was as the winner. [Laughs.]

Question: Do you let your mind go there that you could win? 
Potter: No, absolutely not. I’m just taking it week by week and trying to live in the now, in the moment, and not get too ahead of myself. Eye on the prize, for sure. I know why I’m here, and it’s not just to hang out and be silly. This is my job right now, it’s my livelihood. These couple of months could really determine so much in my future, so I’m very focused, but I'm not really allowing myself to get my hopes up that I will win because there are so many talented people in the competition. And, you just never know how people are going to vote.

Question: Have you heard from a lot of Broadway people since you’ve been on TV? What’s that reaction been like?
Potter: I’ve just gotten a ton of support from my Broadway friends. The other day we had to get it out on social media for these hashtags to go up. Because for the top 15, they were taking polls, not necessarily voting, but popular vote and seeing where the standings were. Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan and Ricky Martin—they put the hashtag out for me, because they’re good friends of mine from my days on Broadway. They were so amazing to put that out there. Orfeh did it, too. [That's just] a few, a ton more did it as well. And that’s amazing. It’s the best feeling in the world to have that support from my home, which is, in my opinion, the Broadway community. That’s where I did so much of my growing up and learning who I was as an artist, not only as a musical theatre artist but as a country artist. Laura Osnes came and sang with me in one of my shows at Joe’s Pub when I was doing country. It’s just so cool to be supported by them, and, truly, if I have my way, I’ll be able to get to go back to Broadway some day for sure.

To vote for Potter, click here or text 9 to 21523 or call (855) 843-9309.

Click here for more information about The X Factor and Rachel Potter.

Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.

Rachel Potter and Fellow Top 12 at "The X Factor" Finalist Party

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Rachel Potter
Photo by Frank Micelotta/FOX