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There must be something in the water down in South London, because it has been on a roll over the past year and a half producing some of the biggest names the UK music scene has to offer. But, amongst the pool of talent, RAYE is one who is really grabbing headlines. The singer-songwriter from Croydon has captured the hearts of many in a short period of time with a slew of singles that have elevated her to the status of a young star.

Her brooding mix of deep, yet soulful electronica, along with  a keen ear for a perfect pop hook, has seen her tracks receive airplay on BBC Radio and millions of listens on Soundcloud and recent singles, ‘Distraction’ and ‘Ambition’ have showcased a further development in her already burgeoning talent.

With an EP, ‘Back 2 The Winter’ on the way, there are exciting times ahead for the 18-year-old sensation. We sat down with her to talk about her upcoming project, influences and which album she is currently bumping very heavy.

Where are you in this moment in time?
Writing songs, finishing music and writing with other artists too which is super fun.

How would you describe your music?
It’s like Pop with a Hip Hop and R&B vibe. As the music and style I feel is always evolving it’s hard to be specific.

Were you doing anything before you decided to make music?
Lying in a cot ha-ha, this has been my plan for a long while.

Who were your musical influences growing up?
Jill Scott! Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Drake and Rhi Rhi.

There have been some positive reviews towards both ‘Ambition’ and ‘Distraction’, did you expect such a reaction?
Not really, I didn’t expect to get playlisted at all let alone B-list on 1xtra which means ‘Distraction’ is getting spun a couple of times a day! Madness.

What can we expect from Back 2 the Winter?
New vibes, quite aggressive in places but very honest.

Is there anyone else you have collaborated with who will appear on the EP?
The big bro Stormz on ‘Ambition’ which will be on the EP! That’s the only collaboration on there.

Who would you love to collaborate with most?
Ooh ooh umm I’d say James Blake, Drake and most definitely Jill Scott.

What do you think of the UK music scene at the moment?
I mean there’s always so much going on be it radio or underground, I’m really loving everything going on at the moment. Very into the Grime scene. Skepta’s new album is giving me life right now ha-ha.

You’ve worked with a lot of notable faces and your career is still only just beginning, how would you describe your musical journey so far?
It’s been crazy, a roller coaster ride. You’re up and down all the time. Things go right and things go wrong but you just have to focus and really push yourself while working really hard. I love being busy so I definitely keep myself so, like being in the studio past midnight every other night. Just going as HAM as I can, but it’s been incredible! The people I get to meet and work with on a daily basis are just so inspiring and encouraging. I’ve got big dreams and I’m just giving myself the best shot I can.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
We’re going to be putting out a lot more music this year, a video or two as well as performing a couple of shows. Essentially launching the “Raye” project…that sounds mad cheesy ha-ha.

Who would you say influences you most in the way you live your life or make music?
I guess lots of different things. Not specific to people, but things like listening to the radio makes me really motivated and excited to just live for music. That’s the aim, you know, to be on that thing all the damn time.

I’m going to give you a couple of scenarios. Could you name what song you would play in each scenario? First is, you’re dealing with a bad break up.
DeJ Loaf’s ‘Try Me’.

Second, you’re trying to turn up at a party.
Tory Lanez’s ‘Diego’.

Third, you’re just trying to chill and lay back.
Jill Scott – the entire album ‘Who is Jill Scott’.

Finally, what would you most want to be remembered for?
Being a sick performer and putting on a really good show.

Photos by Dhamirah Coombes
Styling by Isabella Steven
Words by Yemi Abiade

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