Island musician seeks online support to complete debut EP

Bainbridge Island native singer/songwriter Jaqui Rae Stewart is seeking financial donations on the fundraising website to complete the final mastering of her debut EP “Hope Was A Mountain.”  - Photo courtesy of Jaqui Rae Stewart
Bainbridge Island native singer/songwriter Jaqui Rae Stewart is seeking financial donations on the fundraising website to complete the final mastering of her debut EP “Hope Was A Mountain.”
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Jaqui Rae Stewart

Raine is coming to Bainbridge Island in a big way.

But don’t worry, there’s a silver lining to this story.

That’s because this Raine actually refers to the recording name of island native tunesmith Jaqui Rae Stewart who, after her recent graduation from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, is planning her return to the Pacific Northwest this August.

Her return home coincides with Stewart’s current efforts to raise enough money to complete mastering of her debut EP “Hope Was A Mountain.”

She has begun a campaign on the fundraising website Kickstarter ( and as of this writing has received over $1,000 from more than 20 interested contributors.

Stewart finished the actual recording of the album while working in Boston at a nonprofit studio.

“They focus on a lot of youth outreach and it seemed like the perfect fit for me as a job,” Stewart explained.

Originally only an intern, she quickly found herself employed for real and enjoying more than just a paycheck. The fringe benefits of the position included free use of the studio at night.

“It was a great situation,” she laughed.

The 2011 Bainbridge High School graduate and former Bainbridge Performing Arts castmember had originally released some music under the stage name Jacqui Gray, but moved away from those early works as she found her own style.

“I realized it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go,” Stewart explained of the old tunes. “What I really wanted to make music about is where I’m from. I chose the name Raine to have it more about a name or idea, rather than a person.”

Stewart said music has always been a passion in her life, but that she had not decided to actually pursue a career as a professional musician until her post-Bainbridge travels brought her to Boston, and a real recording studio.

The Kickstarter campaign has proven more successful than she had hoped in more ways than one, Steward said.

“As a medium it’s incredible because it is a campaign, it is a fundraiser, but it’s also marketing,” she explained. “Despite the fundraising, which is great and necessary, the people who are reaching out to me are amazing.”

Excited for her return home, Stewart said she has no intention of slowing down her musical output even if the online campaign supplies all of the funds necessary to complete and release her demo.

“Every time I go home it’s just like I’m filled with this feeling that it’s the right place to be,” she said. “I’m dead certain that I need to be in Seattle, it has an amazing scene and I get to be near Bainbridge.”

Stewart said that upon her return she intends to begin the process of forming a new band and performing at Seattle venues.

“I want to meet as many people, connect with as many people as I can,” she said. “And just play shows nonstop.”

Having spent some time now on the other side of the country, Stewart said she realizes how fortunate she was to have grown up on Bainbridge Island.

“I realize how rare a gem Bainbridge is. I really think that Bainbridge, as an arts community, enabled me to do what I’m doing.”

Stewart also expressed gratitude to BPA as well as the island teachers and schools which she said encouraged her to pursue her passion in music.

“I just hope Bainbridge, as a community, knows how much I value it,” she said.

Stewart’s online fundraiser will remain open for donations until Sunday, Aug. 3, with various pledge amounts receiving different gifts as thanks. A donation of $5 will earn for the donor an advanced download of Stewart’s single “The Stars” and a personal thank-you email.


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