How many times have you been at a gig or festival and dreamt about being the act performing on stage?
For most of us it is a pipe dream but for singer Raye it became a reality.
“I went to Wild Life festival last year and loved the atmosphere so much,” she says.
“When they reached out to me and asked if I would perform this year I jumped at the chance.
“It will be a little surreal to go from being in the crowd to being on the stage in just a year but I am so excited.”
Born Rachel Keen the British singer and songwriter has had a great year.
In 2016 she featured on Jonas Blue’s single ‘By Your Side’ and Jax Jones’ ‘You Don’t Know Me’.
She also came third in BBC Music’s Sound of 2017 behind Ray BLC and Uckfield’s Rag’n’Bone Man.
“It was amazing to be featured,” she enthuses.
“I grew up listening and watching the BBC so to be recognized by an institution like that it is just fantastic.
“When I had been told I had made the long list then the short list I couldn’t believe it and then to come third it is all very exciting for me.”
Her EP ‘Second’ came out in October 2016 and the singer has been working on her debut album.
“I don’t feel the pressure with the album as I think the BBC sound list has provided me with a platform which I want to use,” she explains.
“I just see it as a really good way to get my name out there and it is great to have a station like BBC Radio One say they will play your songs no matter what, it really gives you a boost.”
With her previous songs taking on a synth, R&B, dance vibe she says that with the album she may go more mainstream pop.
“But I will be pushing the boundaries as well,” she adds.
“I want to see what people think. I won’t put something out until people want to hear it, but all the singles are done and dusted and ready to be released.”
Last year the lead single from the EP was ‘I, U, US’ the video of which was directed by singer Charli XCX.
“The collaborations with Charli and Jax Jones came through hard work and being in the right place at the right time,” she says.
“I met Charli at a writing camp. We were put in the same group on the first day and just hit it off really. We exchanged numbers and worked on some songs together including I, U, Us which she co-wrote.
“And with Jax we are on the same label and I wrote a song for him and didn’t think it was right for me as it was very house but the more I heard it the more I wanted to be part of it so he got me on there as a featured artist which was cool.”
The London-born singer admits that getting her big break into the music industry has taken a long time as she had been writing ‘pretty rubbish songs’ since she was about eight or nine.
“When I was about 13 or 14 I would play festivals on the weekends or do gigs after school and found I loved performing and getting out there,” she recalls.
“But when I turned 16 I really started to focus on my career.”
Growing up she was influenced by a range of strong female singers including Lauryn Hill, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone.
“I loved listening to Nelly Furtado and Natasha Bedingfield,” she adds.
“They just had a way of writing that I really admired and a way of telling stories that I really want to incorporate into my own song writing.”
Raye’s summer festival calendar is packed full of gigs starting on June 4 at the Mighty Hoopla in London, Parklife in Manchester, Longitude in Dublin, Lovebox, V Festival ending with Victorious Festival in Southsea over the August bank holiday weekend.
“I am so excited for the summer,” she smiles.
“I think I worked it out and I have a festival pretty much every weekend.
“I hope I will be able to stay a bit and see other acts and explore but sometimes you just get in perform and head off again.”
With how much her life has changed in just a year this singer is surely destined for bigger and better things.
Alongside Raye other acts due to appear over the weekend include Fatboy Slim, Jess Glynne, Dizzee Rascal, Stormzy, George Ezra, Clean Bandit, Chaka Kahn, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Giggs, Wiley and Eric Prydz.
Wild Life festival takes place on June 9 and 10 at Brighton City Airport.
For ticket information visit, www.wildlifefestival.com
Raye is also on the line up for Victorious Festival alongside Stereophonics, Rita Ora, Olly Murs, Elbow, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Madness. It takes place in Southsea on August 25, 26, 27. For information, visit www.victoriousfestival.co.uk
For more on Raye, visit www.raye-music.com
This first featured in the June edition of etc Magazine pick up your copy now.