From Boca to Big Time

Starbucks subsidiary has big plans brewing for Hilary McRae

Fortune again interceded when Frazin's friend Alan Mintz, the head honcho at Starbucks Music, dropped by his office on other business and Frazin opted to clue him in on his new discovery. Like the others, Mintz was mesmerized. He immediately offered McRae a contract with Hear Music and even agreed to release the album as-is, insisting only on remix and remastering, an unheard of proposition for an unknown artist. "They must have liked what they heard," McRae casually suggests. "They heard that genuineness, and they wanted to maybe keep that vibe because it was something special."

Even so, McRae admits she's startled by her instant acceptance. "I'm dumbfounded by it. When we were recording the album, we just figured that we'd pitch it to a record label and they would maybe take it as a demo, and maybe we'd record another record. We had no idea this would lead us to where we wanted to go. It's just really incredible."

With Berman's help, McRae and her band subsequently landed a series of high-profile gigs, including a tour through the Northeast, a week-long residency at the Living Room in New York, opening slots for Rundgren, Huey Lewis, and Earth Wind & Fire, and an upcoming headlining appearance at this year's SunFest.

Legally Blonde: McRae means business.
Clay Patrick McBride
Legally Blonde: McRae means business.


Hilary McRae performs on Friday, May 2, at 7:45 p.m. on the WaMu stage at SunFest, 525 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $29 for a one-day pass, $44 for a two-day pass, and $59 for all five days. Reserved seating from $8 to $150 depending on the performance. Call 800-SUNFEST (561-786-3378).

Given her rapid upward ascent, inevitably there are those who attribute her success to luck and happenstance rather than talent and tenacity. However, McRae takes the naysayers in stride. "I'm sure that people are going to have their own opinions but I worked hard to do this," McRae insists. "I've been playing music for 15 years, and I worked as hard as anyone else. I've heard the harder you work, the luckier you get. That's been my motto, so I worked hard and I happened to get lucky. I feel really blessed about that. But this has been my passion for a long time. I'm doing it because I love it."

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