Yamagata became the vocalist for the Chicago group Bumpus and spent six years touring, writing and recording with the band before leaving in 2001 to begin a solo career. In September 2002, she obtained a two-record deal with Arista's Private Music and her self-titled EP produced by Malcolm Burn, Rachael Yamagata EP was released in October. Her first full-length album, Happenstance, followed in 2004. The album was produced by John Alagia at Compass Point Studios. Yamagata toured with Mandy Moore and contributed a song to Moore's 2007 album, Wild Hope.
In May 2008, Yamagata released a three-song EP, Loose Ends. Her second full-length album Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart was released in October 2008. Billboard characterized the album as much darker and sadder in tone than its predecessor. That month, her two-song live acoustic video performance appeared on LiveDaily Sessions and featured the songs Faster and Sunday Afternoon. In April 2009, Yamagata p
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