FOR many, the roads around Hylands Park Estate this weekend will come to a standstill, but for festival goers heading to V, standing still just isn’t an option!
With some of the music industry’s most recognisable artists including festival headliners Pink and Jay-Z, to Craig David, Stormzy and Rudimental descending on Chelmsford, V is where the party’s at!
Brit R&B singer-songwriter Raye also makes a welcome return to the Essex music festival. “I’ve been upgraded to MTV stage this year which I am so bloody excited about,” she says.
South-Londoner Raye (real name Rachel Keen) has released two huge EPs to rave reviews, monstrous single I, U, Us and huge collaborations with the likes of Jonas Blue on their recent hit ‘By Your Side’ and Jax Jones on the monster smash hit ‘You Don’t Know Me’ which reached No.3 on the Official UK Singles Chart and has to date gone Platinum in the UK alone.
She credits Charli XCX with whom she teamed up with on I, U, Us as ‘probably the favourite artist she’s worked with.’ “I love Charli XCX she’s one of my best friends in the industry.”
Raye’s love of music has been influenced by her family. “My grandad and my dad both write music, not professionally but they are very good. I grew up watching and listening to them and decided at a very young age that I wanted to be a singer and a writer. I started writing songs with my dad and we had a little mic and an interface to record stuff down. I have songs from when I was 10 singing about bullies in the playground and silly stuff. I used to write songs every day after school.”
She attended The BRIT School aged just 14, renowned for its famous former students such as Adele, Jessie J and the late Amy Winehouse, all of whom have championed the industry with their musical talent, constant chart presence and astounding success.
“It was amazing, I had so much fun at The BRIT School. It’s super competitive and very different to normal school. You get to wear your own clothes, express yourself and spend most of your time in your strand which for me was music. I don’t regret a single day at that place I learned so much about myself.”
Her songwriting talents flourished. “When I was at The BRIT School I was doing recording sessions after school and on Saturday and Sundays. My first ever session was with Eg White [Adele, Florence & The Machine], which is mad.”
Itching to get started properly, she left The BRIT School at the age of 16. More songwriting sessions followed, and while a career as a successful songwriter beckoned, RAYE knew she wanted to be an artist in her own right. She also knew she could offer up a different type of popstar to the ones she could see being successful.
“I definitely always knew I wanted to be an artist. It’s been a bit of a battle, more because of how you’re supposed to look as an artist; skinny and conforming to how other pop stars are meant to be.
“I kind of wear what I feel like, you know comfort is a big thing for me hahah, but I’d describe my style as bright, baggy and a bit boyish.”
Raye describes her music as ‘a fusion of electro beats, pop melodies and R&B-tinged vocal deliveries.’
“I love R&B music and those kinds of beats. I’ve been influenced by so many people: Alicia Keys, Nelly Furtado, Drake , Nina Simone , Beyoncé, Rihanna, Natasha Bedingfield, Jill Scott., the list goes on….. and I love so many random genres of music and vibes.”
However, her steady shift in sound and a move towards something more pop is all part of her masterplan. “I want to be a massive pop artist and I’ve always wanted to start in the right place so that’s with the music I love. I’ve always wanted to do it in my own way, on my own terms. It sounds stupid but I want to be as big as I can be,” she says. “I want to be massive. I’m 19 and I’m just starting so let’s go.”
So what can people expect when they see Raye perform at V?
“A lot of jumping around. Come for a good time. I’m up on stage having the time of my life, performing is my favourite thing. So yeah expect to have a ‘lil’ party as long as your up for it!”
Raye is appearing on the V Festival ’s MTV stage.
For more information and the official line-up of artists visit: www.vfestival.com
For more information and news on Raye see her twitter account: @RAYE