AT 18-years-old most people are enjoying their first legal drink, a night out, or stressing over A Level exams. For London-based Raye, however, she’s aiming high after touring with Raleigh Ritchie. She sat down with Nathan Salt to talk dream collaborations, writing music and her ambition to win an award at the next BRIT awards…
Proceedings at the Club Academy were running late when Quays News arrived. Doors were due to open within 10 minutes and Raye was only just starting her sound-check.
But for someone so young, she was not frazzled or stressed. Instead, her effervescent vocal and Izzy Bizu like locks almost made time stand still. Hitting a falsetto with ease in this preliminary check was enough evidence to say that the future couldn’t be brighter for Raye.
“It’s been fun exploring the different venues and crowds. London is home for me so that was a highlight but I love how I’ve been able to come out of my shell on this tour,” she said.
There are arguably few people more popular in the industry than Stormzy right now.
So for Raye to have such a big fan in him can only be of benefit to her. Their recent collaboration ‘Ambition‘ was released just under three weeks ago but has flown online.
She told us: “[Stormzy] is super cool, he’s a great guy. Some people you just click with and we are on a really similar wavelength.
“He’s been really supportive for me and my career so it was great to do that song with him.”
Support acts are a fascinating facet to any gig; they largely take to the stage as an unknown quantity amongst most in the crowd but leave with a number of new fans praising their talents.
But how does Raye pin-point her sound?
“My music definitely has an R’n’B vibe to it but it’s leaning towards pop,” she admitted.
“The new stuff for sure is more pop-based but I always like to have that R’n’B element.”
We’ve got lots of music ready, we nearly have an album ready for next year. I’ve been working with my label for a year and a half but we do have the EP coming out at the end of May.”
With the musical journey still very much in its infancy, Raye is yet to get the A-list experience with tour buses, groupies and awards all much further down the line.
So when her manager Will revealed that the journey in the car took three hours longer than anticipated due to bad traffic, there was apprehension that Raye may have been disgruntled before our chat.
“I like the long rides in the car,” she laughed.
“You can slob around and eat some crisps. We were listening to Drake’s new album on the ride up – he’s top bae.”
So as far as dream collaborations go it didn’t take much to guess that the ‘One Dance‘ vocalist was the dream target…
“[Drake] is the goal. That would be incredible. Can you imagine that?!”
Given Raye has two years remaining of her teenage status, she is going through the same things that all other teenagers across the country endure with love and relationships a distinct theme for the upcoming EP.
She said: “This EP is very honest, which I am in real life I think. ‘Ambition‘ is how I feel right now and I just want to be very successful.
“‘Distraction‘ is about an idiot who I was trying to ignore so I wrote a song about that.”
@RaleighRitchie we loved every moment !!! You are truly insane ! Thank you for having us ??????
— RAYE (@raye) April 29, 2016
What was most striking about Raye from the entire interview was her undeniable drive and determination to forge a successful career in the field she quite clearly loves.
Her confidence – not arrogance – is contagious and makes anyone she meets want to go further and be better.
So, with Samm Henshaw posed the same question when Quays News sat him down, does Raye have one eye on the end of year BRITs Critics’ Choice award?
“I’m going for that at the end of the year! I’ve been saying to my label what do I need to do to get that. That is the bees-knees that award.”
With her set just moments away there was just one final question to ask: how long before we see Raye and Drake working together…?
She joked: “Give me three years and we’ll get there!”
She’s got the right attitude. The right talent. The right team.
Raye, more than most around right now, is one to seriously watch…
By Nathan Salt