Rhodes received her first musical instrument, an acoustic guitar, as a gift from her mother, at age 11. At 14 she was performing original songs in school shows. She left school early at age 16, choosing to obtain a GED . From age 16 to 18, Rhodes began performing in "Open Mic Nights" at Caffè Lena in Saratoga, New York . During this period, Rhodes met Pat Tessitore, the owner of a recording studio, Cathedral Sound Studios in Rensselaer , and became a studio intern to learn recording techniques. Tessitore was impressed with Rhodes' voice and songwriting, and volunteered to record all of the songs she had written to that point.