Bacharach Reflects on Life with Famous Father
Oct. 19, 2016
Student-athletes at the University of South Carolina hail from a variety of interesting environments, but few grew up with a background as interesting or unique as equestrian junior Raleigh Bacharach. If Bacharach’s last name rings a bell with music fans, there’s a reason; her father is world-famous musician Burt Bacharach.
Growing up with a five-time Grammy-winner and three-time Academy Award honoree as a parent could easily be the inspiration for a life in show business. However, it was actually her father, a longtime thoroughbred owner whose horses have competed in the Kentucky Derby, who started Raleigh down a path toward her career as a Gamecock equestrian.
“It was actually my dad,” Raleigh says when reflecting on the influence that spurred her love of horses. “He was really big into racehorses, and he loved to go the track. When he was younger, he started buying racehorses. He and my mom started taking horses off the track and bringing them into show jumping. So when I came into the world, I was immediately involved in show jumping.”
With a career spanning seven decades and counting and a list of collaborators that includes Dionne Warwick, Neil Diamond, Dusty Springfield, Cher and countless others, Bacharach casts a wide shadow in the entertainment industry. But for Raleigh, he’s still just “Dad.”
“He’s just my dad; there’s nothing different about it,” Raleigh says of their relationship, but that doesn’t mean having a world-class musician as a father doesn’t come with a few unique perks. “I’ve traveled the world since I was four or five; I can’t even remember all of the places I’ve been to. Going to sleep with him playing piano was also great, but really, he’s just so grounded. I don’t think I even realized he was so famous until I was older and I could watch his shows from backstage. But it’s been a great experience.”
Though he’s a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has penned over 70 Top 40 hits, Bacharach is just as passionate about his music as he’s ever been. Raleigh often draws inspiration from her father when she accompanies him on tour, including this past summer when they traveled throughout Europe, with stops in the United Kingdom, Monte Carlo and Iceland.
“He just keeps going,” Raleigh says. “He loves it, because he realizes that there are people out there whose lives have been changed by his music. It’s not about the fame for him; it’s just about touching people. It’s really incredible to see.”
Her father’s musical career has brought Raleigh into the orbit of many of music’s most renowned talents, including several visitors you might not expect.
“He worked with Dr. Dre one time, which was really fun. I was maybe 10 or 11, and we actually went into his studio,” Raleigh says of her favorite celebrity encounter. But it’s become old hat for world-class musicians to drop by when Raleigh is home from Columbia during vacations. “He’s worked with Sheryl Crow, Adele a lot when she was just starting her career, Elvis CostelloÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ they just come in and out. I don’t even bat an eye anymore!”
Maintaining a busy musical schedule hasn’t kept her father from playing a big role in Raleigh’s equestrian career however. Not only did he get her started in the sport; he also keeps close tabs on her career as a Gamecock. “He’s visited South Carolina a few times for our competitions, and all throughout my high school career, if I had a horse show close by, he would pop by and watch. He loves coming; he can pick a good jump from a bad jump for sure!”
With her collegiate career now at its midway point, Raleigh has begun to turn her eye toward life after the student-athlete experience. But don’t expect her to follow her father into show business; instead she plans to utilize her degree in public health while also staying close to the sport she loves.
“I don’t have any musical talent myself, which is unfortunate,” Raleigh says with a laugh. “I’d love to do outreach programs, and in the back of my mind, I know I want to work with horses. No matter what, I know horses will be in my life, no matter what I do.”
A member of South Carolina’s 2015 NCEA National Championship team, Bacharach leads the Gamecocks into their next home meet on Friday, Oct. 21, when they host New Mexico State. The meet starts at 2 p.m. at One Wood Farm, located at 1201 Syrup Mill Rd. in Blythewood.