“I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either,” the sharp-shooting Annie Oakley once said. An example of early feminism, the quote struck a deep chord with singer-songwriter Rachel Lorin. “What’s interesting is the only reason that I even was interested in using that quote was it wasn’t even about her. It’s such a cheesy, empowering thing to say─but the way that I interpret it is: I’m not afraid to love more, but I’m also not afraid to walk away from somewhere I don’t belong and I’m not being treated right. I’ve been in enough horrible relationships to finally respect myself enough. That’s what inspired me to use that quote in the song.”
Lorin’s new track “Shoot a Man,” premiering today (June 3), veers into the dusty country and western scene, melting together an irresistible pop hook with the sensibilities of classic country. “We decided to go back to our southern roots,” she tells American Songwriter. “I was always fascinated with western pop and people like Orville Peck. I thought I would love to put my own spin on it. It’s more to empower other women and inspire them to have a backbone against any man that treats you wrong.”
So sing me your love song, cowboy / That makes all the girls want you, sings Lorin. Cause I sleep with one eye open / And a gun under my pillow, too.
In playing a character, slipping into Oakley’s cowgirl boots with ease, Lorin summons all the power she possibly can—gazing down the barrel of a gun, metaphorically speaking. The accompanying music video (set to drop later this month), directed by Ryan Sadler, borrows the look and style of western films and even the previous technique of shooting on real, actual film, rather than on digital. “Ryan has been doing 99 percent of the videos I’ve been putting out because I just think he is absolutely brilliant,” says Lorin. “I’m usually involved in the editing process, unless I’m not in LA to work with him on it. I send my notes of what I want to see more and less of. We think the same way, so it’s great.”
So put your hands up / It’s a stick up / Just keep your feelings to yourself and no one gets hurt, she kicks up dust on the chorus. My mama told me / He ain’t a keeper / I ain’t afraid to love a man but I ain’t afraid to shoot one either.
Originally from Atlanta, Lorin grew up loving the work of Raquel Welch, known for her roles in Bandolero!, 100 Rifles, and Hannie Caulder, among many others. “When I was a brunette, I was compared to her a lot, look wise,” says Lorin. Her fascination with western films, also including True Grit, feeds the video’s rich, cinematic aesthetics. “I got to ride horses, too. I used to be a professional rider, and it was actually really cool to add to the budget. We found an amazing place, and we rented four gorgeous horses for the video. I was so happy. Out of all the music videos I’ve done, I think it was the most fun I’ve had, as far as acting goes. I got to kind of experience a whole spectrum of what I could do.”
“Shoot a Man” comes on the heels of piano ballad, “Goodbye,” written three weeks after her dad died in late 2019. “I didn’t know what to do with myself. My mom was unrecognizable. I was just on the couch in depression mode,” reflects Lorin. Her and her mom packed a bag and headed to Las Vegas, so they could escape life for a bit. Lorin began scrawling down some lyrics, and soon the song emerged. “I thought, what better way to honor him than to write something for him truly from my heart.”
A few months following her father’s death, the world went into lockdown, compounding Lorin’s emotional traumas and need for healing. “It was brutal. There’s no easy answer. Once you lose a parent, your whole life changes, especially with how close I was to my dad. I adored him. I was devastated. My mom was devastated. It was the worst day of my life. I was pretty much in denial about his death until I would say about September or November of last year. Trying to cope through Covid without him and just not having him around anymore was really difficult. But I definitely felt his presence and still do. I know a lot of people don’t believe in that, but I certainly do. It makes it easier for me to cope. Weird things keep happening.
“My boyfriend and I were on a trip to Aruba and everything reminded me of him. It was driving me nuts at some points. I would just get teared up all the time. I want to think of him,” she continues. “I want to remember him every day, all day. But oh my gosh, you know, sometimes emotionally, it’s really hard to deal with. He was my whole life and biggest supporter. He was just the epitome of strength and grace.”
Looking ahead, Lorin eyes a string of single releases for the time being─each stylistically different than the last. “I know I’ve confused certain people because I’ve been all over the map in my career and trying to find myself,” she says. “But I feel like I found where I fit the best.”