Raye: "You have to be the best, work hard and give yourself the best opportunity"

RnB/Hip Hop | Sunday 20th November 2016 | Annalisa

This week we were blessed with the presence of a lady who is set to become one of the biggest artists to come out of the UK in years.

Does it feel like a whirlwind for you?

Yes it does, like a massive whirlwind. Especially because, two years ago, I was still in school and now I’m just making music, working hard and loving every moment of it.

Would you say that writing is more challenging than exciting, or more exciting than challenging?

I think it’s a mixture of both. It’s healthy to feel challenged and I love being busy ad having loads of things to do at once. This whole process is new for me but I just feel revved up, I’m excited.

I understand you come from a musical background, what was it like growing up?

I’ve always been around music. My parents were always playing music or my dad would be playing the piano in the living room and I went to church. I grew up in church where my dad used to play keys and sing and I think growing up around that, it just becomes a bit instilled in you and that was what I naturally gravitated towards when I got a bit older. I was like “Dad, I want to learn piano”

So you play instruments as well?

I play keys and I produce my own stuff. I did a bit of production on my first EP but that was when it was four chords and really simple RnB drum beats and now I’m working with a guy and he just makes the most ridiculous bits of music so I’m just “Yeah, you do your thing.. I’ve got my pen!”

Is that’s how you learn?

Yeah I’m so hungry to just be able to do everything.

So you started writing songs when you were 10. What inspires you to write? What’s your mojo for writing?

I have voice notes on my phone and I’ll be on a train and I’ll come up with a bit of melody or I’ll write a poem on a tube, just sucking in inspiration from everywhere.

I mean, we live in London and there’s just so much to see, especially on public transport! It’s always really interesting to make up stories about the people sitting opposite me on the tube. Most of my songs are really personal. Even for the healthiness of being a good writer, I think you should never limit where you get inspiration from.

You went to Brit school, what did you take away from that?

Brit is a kind of creative hub where loads of really talented people are thrown together in a class and it's quite amazing. You’re learning so much from the people around you and the history of the school, and the people who went there.

For me I think it taught me that this is what you want and you have to be the best, work hard and give yourself the best opportunity. Being in a class with lots of talented people made me want to work 10 times harder and that’s what I think I did.

How do you feel about being compared to people like Rihanna?

I think it’s amazing! Who wouldn’t want to be compared to someone really good!

One day people will compare new artists to Raye...


So you’re signed to Polydor, how did that come about?

That’s been about a year now. I think I did a show where I was supporting someone. Lots of label people came and then got in contact off the back of Welcome to the Winter EP.

Speaking of Welcome to the Winter, what was the inspiration behind making that EP?

For me, that was when I left school and everyone was really comfortable in school and I was going around on my own, writing songs and learning about what an extreme a decision I’d made to just leave school, and put everything into music. And I was young and people will belittle you because you’re young and a girl. You know, it’s a cold world out there.

Speaking of heat, Hotbox, that song got you a lot of attention, what space were you in when you wrote that?

Hotbox I did when I was 15. When I was a Brit therei t was a party thing where everyone was getting really high and I was just like oh my gosh! And I just needed to write a song about it.

Do you feel like there’s any additional pressure for quality material?

Yes but not from anyone else. Most pressure comes from me. My label are really suportive about that. We could be coming out with any old pop music, but for me it’s so much more than that. I want it to be from me. I don’t want it to sound manufactured, I want it to sound like a progression and have my stamp on it.

'Need Me', from the Welcome to the winter EP, that was the song that kind of drew me in, tell me the creativity history of that track?

That was me painting a picture of me wanting to be with someone but clearly it wasn’t meant to happen but why and then at the same time, me just wanting to make sure that they knew I was still there. It’s quite a sad tune. It’s why I did 'Bet You Wish'. That was my song against that, saying you know what, I am a bit powerful, I don’t need you. Need me came out first, then bet you wish came out after.

You’ve got the second EP out now, Distraction, walk me through the creative history behind that track?

That song is pretty self explanatory. I wanted to distract myself from someone so I started thinking about other things you know, “I want to get a tattoo, Oh mum might kill me” then back to him then.

The current single 'Ambition' features Stormzy, how did you get him on track?

That was through good word. He hit my up through Twitter and off the back of that we’ve been in the studio a couple of times. He’s singing on it which is so cool!

'I You Us', is co-written by Charlie XCX! How did that come about?

Charlie and I in the studio was just a coincidence and really cool. We connected really well and it’s was just really good vibes. She really resonated with the song I think. I texted her afterwards to see if she’d be up for directed the video and she was like “Yeah, let’s do it!" So she directed the video. It felt really real. She is such an inspiration and such a hard worker. I learnt so much from her in the process.

You’ve got some live dates coming up...

20th October but it’s actually  sold out! We’ve got a few more coming up and you can follow me on Twitter for the latest dates.