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Raye is the superstar we ignored for too long

Honest, raw and underrated, she is finally having her moment

Raye is the superstar we ignored for too long Honest, raw and underrated, she is finally having her moment

Remember that viral song from TikTok a while back where a warm female voice with a distinctly British accent sings: "A little context if you care to listen, I find myself in a shit position. The man that I love sat me down last night and he told me that it's over, dumb decision. And I don't wanna feel how my heart is rippin'. In fact, I don't wanna feel, so I stick to sippin', and I'm out on the town with a simple mission, in my little black dress, and this shit is sittin'"? The song is called Escapism, released in October 2022, and if you haven't heard it, maybe you've been living under a rock for the past (almost) two years. But if you've caught wind of it and never delved deeper, we're about to introduce you to the artist behind it. Her name is Raye, she's 26 years old, and on March 2nd, she conquered the BRIT Awards, becoming known worldwide.

Raye's Story

The one who tells us of a story that ended painfully and of all the unhealthy ways she tried to drown her pain and her broken heart was born Rachel Agatha Keen in South London, specifically in Tooting, in 1997. Her debut album, My 21st Century Blues, saw the light in February 2023 and was released by the independent label Human Re Sources. This debut earned her a staggering 6 trophies at the UK music awards (British Album of the Year, Song of the Year for Escapism with 070 Shake, British Artist of the Year, Best R&B Act, Best New Artist, and Songwriter of the Year), simultaneously making her the artist with the most wins in the same edition since their foundation in 1977. Not many know that before pursuing a singing and songwriting career, she produced and wrote music for big names in contemporary pop like Beyoncé, Little Mix, Rihanna, David Guetta, John Legend, and Ellie Goulding. In fact, her passion for singing runs deep: as a child, she sang gospel in the church where her father was the musical director.

Why is She So Popular? Themes and Influences

Young, talented, with a powerful voice. These things alone should ensure Raye's success, but the list goes on. Among the themes she addresses in her songs, some are very close to today's young adults, giving us an idea of why the singer-songwriter is so beloved on TikTok. Raye often sings about her story and her relationship with addictions, with body dysmorphia and the altered perception of her body and appearance, about self-esteem and anxiety, about relationships with men but also about violence endured. Speaking about her debut album, she told Rolling Stone: "Some of these songs have helped me process. I had just been needing to hear my issues in a more beautiful form. Like 'body dysmorphia,' it sounds so ugly in my head, but when you put it into a song, it becomes a bit easier to digest, for me. Many of these stories are very balsamic, raw, and therapeutic." Adding that her influences range from R&B, neo-soul to indie rock, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, and Bombay Bicycle Club, perhaps the picture is clear. Raye is a contemporary artist who manages to take the best from the past and the present, pop but with depth. As if that's not enough, she's extremely relatable to most people her age and younger. And that explains it all.

Her Future

Now that Raye has finally taken the big step, moving from behind the scenes to the spotlight (and in the process making BRIT Awards history), the 26-year-old is unstoppable. As her first post-BRIT engagement, she'll be performing at the O2 Arena in London for one night only, a special event on March 15th, alongside the Heritage Orchestra and the Flames Collective. In April, Coachella, in May, South America, and in June, Europe. To have her in Italy, we'll have to wait a few more months: on July 14th, she'll be performing in Perugia as part of the Umbria Jazz Festival.