Interview | Introducing… Rae Morris

Rae Morris is a 19-year-old musician from Blackpool (UK), and team FFS reckon she’ll be next to hit UK’s ‘big things’. With Rae’s genius voice, she combines powerful lyrics with sublime, simple piano melodies to create a unique musical style. I was lucky enough to chat to Rae moments before her set at Defector’s Weld, as part of Communion’s Bushstock festival.

Hello, please introduce yourself to yourself and your music to the uninitiated.

“It’s very simple, just me and the piano both recording wise and when I play live. I just write my own songs, and write about real honest things. One of the only ways to describe my music is that it’s always very raw. I take real emotions and just try to put them across into a song I guess”.

How did you start playing music?

“From a really early age I think. I grew up with it: all my friends and family were hugely into music, and then I started piano lessons when I was about 4. I played really, really bad classical piano for years, and I hated it, but then about 2 years ago I wrote my first song which meant I was able to start performing, and that was definitely something I’d always dreamt of doing. It worked out alright in the end”.

Tell us about your latest single/EP.

“Yeah, sure. So I recorded an EP, ‘For You’, a little while ago which I’ve been selling on tour and at all my gigs. I kind’ve didn’t want to put it straight onto iTunes, because I think nowadays, people can be quick to judge something without seeing it. So I just sell it at my gigs while I’m building up a fan base. It’s three songs which I recorded with Charlie Fink from Noah and the Whale, and that part alone was awesome.”

What was your best ever gig?

“Okay, well the best gig for me so far would be the one at the Blackpool Empress Ballroom with Bombay Bicycle Club earlier this year. I supported them on tour, and obviously Ally Pally [Alexandra Palace], Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Royal Albert Hall were all incredible gigs too, but because it was Blackpool, and my hometown, it was the most moving gig for sure. The next day, we drove down to London and I just cried the whole way to London, I was an emotional wreck to be honest”.

What’s the worst thing about being a musician?

“What, the worst thing? Oh… I dunno, there isn’t a bad thing. Hmmmm, maybe the fact that you get a bit smelly when you’re on tour! Or no, actually the lack of sleep isn’t great, for me anyway. I’m a massive sleeper, it’s not like I lie in or anything, I just need a lot of sleep or else I get cranky, as I’m sure loads of people do. I still sleep a lot though, my brother does all the driving so I just sleep in the car. But yeah, other than that, everything about it is amazing.”

What inspires you?

I really love female singer-songwriters, they were the influences that really got me into writing those first songs. You know, people like Fiest, Cat Power, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, all the classics I suppose. My dad is a massive Steely Dan fan, so I grew up hating Steely Dan and then turned to love them. Oh, and Coldplay, I’m a big Coldplay fan; i’m going to see them in Manchester later this month, they’re meant to be amazing live. I try and read too, like I always have a book in my bag, and I always want to be that cool person that reads books, but I kind of find that I’ll read half a book and get bored, and then just stop…”

If you won a billion pounds what would you do with it?

“Wow, okay, so I’d definitely put some in a bank, cause I’m quite sensible like that. And then I might buy my Mum and Dad a farm house, cause they’ve always wanted a farm house. And then…. um…. I’d probably buy some more books to try and read! Haha”.

Out of your songs: which is your favourite and why?

“Ah, I dunno, cause it’s taken me two years to believe that any of them are actually any good. But to perform, I really like playing a song called ‘For You’, which is the title track of the EP. That song just came very naturally, and it kind of just comes out on stage, so that would probably be my favourite.”

What are you plans for the future? Do you still want to be playing music?

“Oh my god yes, well, I hope so anyway. I don’t really know what to do if I’m not playing music in the future to be honest. We’ve got plans for the album, but at the moment we’re still polishing all the details of where and when to record it and things like that. But, If I’m doing what I’m doing now in 5 years time, I’ll be happy. I know that sounds cheesy by the way, but I really will be happy.”

Finally, we’re always looking to expand our musical horizons. Do you have any recommendations of bands or artists we should be looking out for?

“Well I don’t know whether you know him or how big he is at the moment, but I can’t stop listening to Paul Thomas Saunders. We share the same label, so I’ve been given his EP here and there which I love. Also love the new Regina Spektor album which is ace, but that’s not exactly ‘new music’. I saw Bears Den earlier today to, and they were great”.

 

After that, I left Rae to play what was honestly a beautiful set to a jam-packed room of avid listeners. That was the only time all day that the room went pretty much silent, and I think that tells us something about Rae’s music. For the rest of the day, wherever we went it seemed Rae’s name was the one to keep popping up in conversation… so watch this space.

Rae plays a number of dates later this month, including a series of Festival spots throughout the summer. If you’re not familiar with her music (and you really ought to be), then here is a little taster from here recent session with ‘Watch Listen Tell’, “Day One”:

 

Words: Ellie Rumbold

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