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An interview with 'Raye' after supporting Jess Glynne's UK tour

by Ellie Gregory. Published Tue 22 Nov 2016 09:41

At the age of 19, RAYE has been a top competitor in the music industry for two years now, and in this short space of time has accomplished so much.

Born in South London, RAYE grew up in a musical family, with her father and grandfather both being in bands.

RAYE’s manager, Will Harper, discovered her at a young age when she began writing her own music.

Since then, RAYE’s work has paid off.

Among some of the world renowned artists that RAYE has worked alongside is Jonas Blue.

Known for their hit single ‘Perfect Strangers’, Jonas Blue invited RAYE to feature on their latest track ‘By Your Side’.

Talking to RAYE last night clearly showed her passion, determination and enthusiasm to work her way to the top…

Q & A with RAYE

PurpleRevolver: So, Raye, how did you start out?

RAYE: I met my manager, Will, five years ago. I started doing singing sessions on weekends, and I was at Brit—it’s a music school—and my sessions starting picking up more from there. We did a song called ‘Hotbox’ when I was 15, which I performed tonight, and that took really well! It’s so tough now because it’s so easy to make music

PR: You released your debut EP just two years ago, and your second one this year. Did you expect to come so far so quickly?

RAYE: No, well, you know when you want to achieve something, you want to put everything you have in it. It’s been a long time of playing support shows and really fighting an audience, and having to get better, and having to please a label. But, I couldn't be happier with how everything had turned out.

PR: How were you inspired? By maybe an artist or a family member?

RAYE: I was always in a musical family. My dad tried to be in a band when he was younger. It just kind of came naturally, as I started writing really rubbish songs when I was, like, 11. I’ve learnt to play keys from a really young age.

PR: Have you got any favourite artists then?

RAYE: When it comes to music, I love all genres and walks. But I am inspired by female voices, with that tone and that story, like Nina Simone, and Ella Fitzgerald and Lauren Hill and Amy Winehouse. The grit, it’s such a story and a message.

PR: Is this what you hope to come out in your songs?

RAYE: I want to say something, and usually my music is kind of like me venting, or it makes me feel really powerful making a song. Especially with this last EP that we put out, it was so honest and it was inspired by what was going on in my life— it was kind of a release for me. It was really nice for me, it felt really good.

PR: If you weren't a professional singer now, what would you have liked to have been?

RAYE: A writer, a song writer, but at the same time doing artist projects, and writing for other artists.

PR: So you have recently featured on a single with Jonas Blue, By Your Side. How did this come about?

RAYE: It was mental how it happened. So, my dad’s friend is an Uber driver, and Jonas was in his cab. And my dad’s friend was like to Jonas, “You need to hear this girl. She’s called Raye, and she's great.” And he ended up playing him [Jonas] some songs. And anyway, word of mouth came around, and my name was brought up again [to Jonas], and he was like, “Yeah, I want Raye on this song.”

PR: And you have recently released a song called ‘I, U, Us’, which the video for it was in fact directed by Charli XCX. What was your experience like?

RAYE: Yeah, we wrote it together, and we had so much fun. It was really nice to be supported by someone who has been in my shoes before. Charli was at it for five years before it worked for her, and that kind of persistence, that drive and that hunger was so inspiring. She was like, “Come round to mine and we can practise in the mirror with our hairbrushes!” She did her job so well, and it was such an experience, as I’ve made a really good friend out of it.

PR: As you are just 19 years old, what advice would you give to youths who want to go into this career or education?

RAYE: I think whatever you choose to do in life, you have to give it 110% because there will always be competition, and there will always be ten other people who can do it better. So, you always have to be striving for that extra mile. And, I think of going into terms of music, writing or anything creative, you have to be wanting to do it day and night. And also finding that thing that is slightly different to the next person. Finding what you really are.

PR: As you are supporting Jess Glynne on her lengthy UK tour, how has this been an experience for you?

RAYE: Well, my pack falling off me before whilst I was on stage…I’ve got to know how to deal with that. And being in the moment there and then running off to get it sorted was definitely the right thing to do, to get it fixed and come back on. I just want to know everything that could go wrong and how to deal with it, so this is perfect.

PR: Where would you like to be in three years time?

RAYE: If I have my way, like the biggest thing ever. But I am just going to keep on working and see what happens. I don't want to limit myself in any area. I want to push myself and challenge myself. You know, I’m 19, I’ve made it this far and I don't know what could be in my way if I work hard and put all my time in, I’ll see where I end up.

PR: And lastly, have you got any plans for the next year?

RAYE: Yes, we are going to put out a song next month. And we are looking to be putting out my first single in January/February!


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