Crow sang her first song (Faith Hill's "Breathe") at 18 months-old and first performed in public at age six as part of her school's talent show. Her parents brought her to Los Angeles in 2010 to support her dream of being a performer and she auditioned at age 13 for The X Factor in early 2011. After being chosen as a contestant out of over 150,000 people who auditioned for season 1 of The X Factor (USA), she wowed audiences with her powerful voice and bubbly personality and placed fifth in the competition for the season. A fan favorite and darling among the judges, L.A. Reid deemed her a "funky, feisty singer with soul" with Simon Cowell declaring that audiences would be "hearing a lot more about her."
Crow auditioned for season 1 of the US The X Factor in Los Angeles, California, in front of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Cheryl Cole, and L.A. Reid. She was the 1st person auditioning in front of the judges. She sang "Mercy" by Duffy and she made it all the way to the live shows. She made it to the top 5, but after the judges' votes were deadlocked, Crow was eliminated by the public. Immediately after the results were revealed, Crow collapsed onstage and cried hysterically. Nicole Scherzinger, the judge responsible for sending the vote to deadlock, was visibly upset by the result. When Steve Jones asked Scherzinger if she had anything to say, she shook her head and turned away, and she was booed by the audience for taking the vote to deadlock.
In June, 2012, Crow announced via Twitter that she would be releasing a five-song EP, featuring one song co-written by Crow herself. She later announced via her website that it would be released on June 26, 2012 and would be self-titled. The lead single is "Mean Girls," which Crow co-wrote with Toby Gad. Gad also produced the song. The four other songs are "Rock With You" featuring rapper Mann, "Lemonade," "My Kind of Wonderful" and "What A Song Can Do." She has also worked with producer Jonas Jeberg, who has worked with singers such as The Wanted.
In his review of 'Mean Girls', The Re-View complimented Crow's "intelligence and aspirations" and finished his article saying of the singer: "I don’t doubt that her vocal ability to out-diva some of the best singers will lead to even greater things in the future."
Rachel Crow appeared on a few Nickelodeon shows such as Fred: The Show, Figure It Out, and Big Time Rush, she even signed a deal with Nickelodeon for her own Musical-Comedy. She says “We are in the early stages now,” Crow tells The New York Post. “I want it to be definitely very ‘Rachel.’ Something that shows who I am and who I want to be.” says Crow in an interview with The New York Post. Rachel Crow said if she could have any guest star on her show it would be Eminem, she also said she has also always wanted to do a duet with him.
Crow had a recurring role as Starr on the Nickelodeon series Fred: The Show. Crow will be voicing the character Carla in the upcoming film Rio 2 which is set to be released in 2014.