Raye is a UK recording artist from London and was briefly educated at the renowned BRIT school in Croydon. In her career, she has been a supporting act for various artists such as Years & Years in 2015 and on Rita Ora’s 2018 tour. She has many recognisable hits, for example her 2016 collaboration with Jonas Blue. Now, Raye has performed on her own headline tour in various locations across the UK in places like Birmingham, London and Leeds.
The Raye concert was at The Wardrobe in Leeds, with Kara Marni as a supporting act. Marni’s set was incredibly energetic with songs from her recent EP, Love Just Aint Enough. Her music is heavily influenced with early 2000s R&B music which was perfect for dancing to in the mosh pit and had the effect of hyping up the audience for Raye, the main act. Marni made an effort to talk about her work in between songs and the honour she felt to be performing for the audience and that really set the interpersonal tone for the rest of the performances of the night.
After Marni’s energetic set, Raye began hers and it was impossible to brace yourself for the incredible hour long performance. With huge pulsing bright lights illuminating her name, Raye first performed her song ‘Crew’, backed by an impressive band and closed with an award worthy drum solo. With just her first song, the audience was instilled with excitement and enthusiasm. In addition to her well known songs, such as ‘Cigarette’ and ‘The Line’, Raye performed some of her earlier work such as ‘Alien’. Listening to a mixture of past and present works allowed us to see the consistency in quality of songwriting and therefore her extraordinary musical talents.
In addition to this, she spoke about how her previous performances didn’t attract huge audiences as the one on the night and how she was grateful for the progression in her music career. By letting the audience know this, we could understand her journey as an emerging artist and this added to that personal overall tone of the evening.
The most poignant part of the whole evening was how Raye opened up to the audience about the topic of sexual assault and her personal experiences. This was particularly moving as she informed us her family was present but she was determined to share her experience and sing about it. From her emotive song it was truly inspiring and is indicative of the power of music as an emotional outlet for painful experiences and trauma
Raye gave her audience an animated and immersive musical experience. The boundary between audience and performer was quite non-existent. We were truly invited to relate to her on a personal level in her sharing her experiences and listening to her message of solidarity and support for victims of assault. Both Marni and Raye are artists that deserve more attention.
I would highly recommend Raye’s EP Side Tape, especially for a pre drinks playlist.
By Domonique Lemonius