It’s fair to say that Raye put in the work (and more).
Starting out in the music business at the age of 14, she spent a decade writing chart-topping songs for some of the world’s hottest names (think Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding, John Legend, Little Mix, etc.), released a dance hit, You do not know me, with DJ Jax Jones, and also landed a contract with the Polydor music label at age 17. Seriously impressive. And a dream come true for any artist, especially one still so young.
But the laser-focused star’s dreams vanished into thin air as she found herself without a platform to do the one thing she originally intended to do: set her free. own music on her own terms. Additionally, while being pigeonholed into a genre she couldn’t move into and sidelined as a performer on other artists’ songs, the former BRIT School student was forced to blaze her own trail. a path through difficulties she did not expect.
Things came to a head last year when Raye, real name Rachel Keen, was pressed for her album release. “I’ve been on a 4 ALBUM RECORD DEAL since 2014!!! And I haven’t been allowed to release an album. ALL I CARE FOR IS THE MUSIC. I’m sick of being sleepy and I’m sick of being in pain, it’s none of my business, it’s so personal,” Raye wrote in an impassioned post. Tweeter.
A few weeks later, she parted ways with her record label, announcing that she was a newly independent artist while speaking openly about the rampant misogyny, long hours and exploitation she had suffered so far in the music industry. In response, his record label released the following statement: “Polydor and Raye have reached an amicable and mutual decision to part ways. Raye is an incredible artist and we have enjoyed working with her over the years, achieving great things together. We wish him all the best for the future.
More than a year later, the tide has finally turned for the South London-born singer.
Raye, now 25, recently released two amazing new songs, Escape and The thrill is gonewhich, if anything, promises fans a diverse catalog of trip-hop, soul and blues-inspired tracks from his highly anticipated debut studio album, My 21st century blues. The wait for the album will no doubt be worth it, with themes of grief, loneliness, inequality and power in the face of adversity, all of which take center stage and indeed resonate with listeners of all ages at home.
Here, an empowered Raye speaks exclusively to CHARM about gender inequality in the industry, the backlash from music professionals about his fight to get songwriters paid fairly, and how taking power back into his hands shaped his new album.
your scrapbook My 21st century blues it’s a long time coming! How do you feel about finally releasing your own music?