Being Me: Rachael Leahcar

Australian singer-songwriter, Rachael Leahcar, was born with retinitis pigmentosa and at 25-years-old is legally blind. With only 5% of her vision left she makes a living as a full time musician.

Australian singer-songwriter, Rachael Leahcar, was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that at 25-years-old deems her legally blind. Attracting fame through The Voice, she makes a living as a full time musician. With 5% of her vision left, Rachael lives an independent life with her loyal guide dog, Ella, by her side.

Retinitis pigmentosa means Rachael has tunnel vision, short sightedness, night blindness and deteriorating vision. She only noticed her sight was getting worse when she was 15.

“It was more an annoyance than anything else,” she says, “a fear of missing out.”

“Music was a big comfort for me, especially in high school. There’s a lot of people who tell you what you can and can’t do and music was something I knew I could do well.”

Rachael Leahcar in a studio singing,
Rachael Leahcar became popular very quickly after appearing on 'The Voice: Australia;

Music has always played a massive part in her life and mum, Ingrid, recalls her singing from a young age.

“I knew her vision was going to go. If she kept busy with music and learnt to love music, that would be really good for her.”

In pursuing her passion, it was her success on season one of The Voice, Australia that catapulted her to fame in 2012, placing third in the popular singing competition having been mentored by Australian music superstar, Deltra Goodrem.

“I heard ‘blind auditions’ so I thought, oh this has got to be some sort of sign.”

In the auditions the judges, including Delta, Seal, Keith Urban and Joel Madden picked their contestants based purely on their voices, so when Rachael was asked if she wanted them to know she was legally blind, she turned them down. 

“I said no, I just want to be judged on my voice, just like everyone else.”

“I said no, I just want to be judged on my voice, just like everyone else.”

And her hard work paid off. Using only her voice, Rachael managed to turn all four judges around. She chose to work with Delta through the competition and ultimately signed a record contract with Universal Music Australia. 

“It was the busiest year of my life, performing with Delta, going to Italy and performing all over Australia.” 

Rachael Leahcar at the beach looking out at the horizon.
Rachael was born with Retinitis pigmentosa which affects her sight.

But perhaps most importantly for Rachael, it was the effect she was having on others through her performances. “It meant a lot to me that other people loved what I do too.” 

Independence has always been a motivator for Rachel and recently, Rachael moved out of her parent’s home into her own place. But her family is close by and helps when she needs. Her mum is her stylist, dad helps at her gigs and Luke, her brother helps with technical aspects. 

For dad, Greg, he especially loves helping out.

“I get to hear my daughter sing practically every day and it’s the best job in the world.”

Rachael Leahcar on stage with her dad helping set up.
Rachael gets all the support she needs from her family.

Rachael still has a strong connection with the Italian community, her Nonna leading the support.

“I’ll always remember the people that supported me first and that was the Italian community. So I’ll always support them by doing gigs. Italian was the second language I ever sang in.”

Music will always be part of Rachael’s life and she enjoys every part of it.

“Not only do I love the feeling I get on stage when I perform, but I also love how everyone connects. Music does that.”

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