Q&A

Raye

RAYE is reinventing pop music as we know it. With big arrangements, ethereal vocals and a whole lot of attitude, the 19-year-old South London girl is making pop R&B that’s stadium-ready. Raised in a Pentecostal Church where her father played keyboard, RAYE has been writing and singing since she was ten years old, as well as playing multiple instruments. First catching our attention with her Welcome to the Winter EP a few years back – it’s the raw emotion and sophisticated pop of her songs that makes her stand out in a sea of sameness.

Hi Raye, is there a certain feeling you want to create within people when they listen to your music? How do you feel while creating it?

For me it was about venting. Everything in there is so honest. It was healing and therapeutic. I, U, Us was based on a guy who hurt me and made me feel sad and low.

What gets me about that song is how it’s the opposite of how traditional songs about heartbreak go. It’s strong and empowering.

Yes, totally. When I hear it, I feel empowered – and I want other women to feel that when they listen to it. Like you hurt me, but I don’t care. I want to share personal, relatable stories like that.

Which three artists have impacted you and your sound the most?

Drake, Amy Winehouse and Jill Scott…but there’s so many others! This is too hard!!!

Dream collaboration?

I’d love to do something with Lana del Rey or M.I.A – something unexpected.

You have a unique style that feels very accessible at the same time – how important are style and the visual aspects of performance to you?

I’m at this point now where I’m gaining steam as an artist. And the label will be like…why don’t you wear this? But I want to be comfortable. I don’t want to show my skin.

If you look at Rihanna and how she is now – she earned everything she wears. It’s so much more interesting being who you really are. I hate skirts and dresses, so why would I wear them just because I’m an artist? I want to be truthful in my music and how I look. For a long time I felt it was my fault that I didn’t want to go along with it. I say to my label, if you aren’t into what I’m wearing – then drop me. I’m so clear on who I am as an artist.

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