Rachel Taylor of He Is We checked in with fans on her Tumblr earlier this month, talking about the impact of having ankylosing spondylitis, the physical toll touring had on her, the phoniness of the “Get Well Soon Rachel” tour with fill-in Stevie Scott, who ended up being her replacement, and being a victim of superficial marketing. Taylor writes:
I can already see the repercussions of the honesty I have shared. I did not do this to start drama, but to merely share the truth about what is really going on.
He Is We started as a fun little gig that required no contracts, no merchandise, no selling out and no vision of getting to where we have. This was a project that I became passionate about because I saw it as a way to reach people. I felt like God had placed me specifically to help others. When I was told that I could be paid to do what I love, I was overwhelmed with joy. Next thing I knew, we were in New York and this new life with He Is We, the product, began.
We were given a lump sum of money and told we could record whatever we wanted to. It felt like a dream. As the touring and songwriting became more intense and strenuous my health began to worsen. I kept to myself for the majority of it and ended up in the ER several times over a course of 2 months. It no longer was something I lived to do, but I did it to live. Money made itself to the front of the line and I began losing myself. With all the ER visits, the bills were adding up. I realized that touring was killing me, but I couldn’t afford not to go. I would play a show and then throw up immediately afterwards. Lock myself in the green room, isolating myself from everyone, just to catch my breath.
If that wasn’t enough, alcohol became a huge part of touring. That whole, “sex, drugs and rock & roll” is a very real thing. The life style began to look very grim. All the while, I was having a very tough internal struggle. Who had I become? What was this band becoming? I noticed more and more that answers were rehearsed, responses to emails were copied and pasted, and the genuine love I was had was overshadowed by my hate for the industry.
A couple months ago I was told I have an auto-immune disease called ankylosing spondylitis. I was put on two chemotherapy drugs and told it was going to be a rough ride. I shared this with my management and my band, but still the touring plans were made. As it got closer and closer to tour time, I was in a panic. Two doctors were telling me if I left I would be killing myself and then I had management telling me I would be destroying He Is We if I cancelled the tour. So. I was given options.
At first I was told that a fan from each city would be chosen to sing the songs in my place. Soon after that, I was told that a mutual friend named Stevie Scott would be singing in my place for the tour. I was told that she was to come over to my place with Trevor so I could meet her and introduce her to all the fans. This made me feel good knowing I could give her my blessing. That morning came and they didn’t show. A couple days went by and I heard nothing. I called my manager and his phone was dead. I was left feeling confused and alone. Reading tweets like “welcome to the family Stevie!” were all over my newsfeed and my heart broke.
The tour was marketed as a “Get Well Soon Rachel” type of thing, but I heard nothing from my band. No one emailed, called or texted me to say such things. I have had to sit back and watch fans support a cause that didn’t really exist. I had had enough after reading a Facebook reply to a mother about how distraught her daughter was about the whole thing. Whoever runs the He Is We Facebook replied with something very superficial. A lot of smileys and no substance. At that point it hit me… I have lost my baby. The project had become about marketing, money and numbers. So I reacted.
Many will be upset at my honesty, but I hope that in the end people realize that I did what I felt was best. I am protecting the sanctity of the words that went into building this “brand” and this awesome fan base. Think what you will. You have every right to tell me I’m wrong or I’m out of my mind. I will have peace knowing I followed my heart.
Check out her now former bandmate Trevor Kelly’s response after the cut.