Interview by Tom Johnson
There’s something instantly bewitching about Rae Morris. Even before you hear that singing voice you’re intrigued. Rae is a twenty-year old from Blackpool who has already achieved a ridiculous amount considering she’s yet to release her debut album. There have been releases though; three EP’s of quiet, under-stated torch songs have seen her gain some notable support slots and seen the hype around her slowly build and build. And it’s on the live scene where she’s really made her name. Likened to Kate Bush and Feist, she has one of those voices that just seems to come from somewhere else.
A new EP, From Above, is released next week on Atlantic Records and a debut album is in the works, so we spoke to her about it all…
Hi Rae, how is 2013 treating you?
Hello there. 2013 has been pretty brilliant so far thank you. It’s been a very positive start to an exciting year I think…
There is a nice amount of hype building around your work. Has it been easy to deal with?
I think because it’s been quite a gradual journey, building a fan base over the past couple of years, it’s all felt really natural and lovely. Everything seems to have fit into place at the right time and nothing has been too overwhelming really. I feel really lucky that it’s happened this way; it makes me appreciate every little thing that happens as and when it does I guess!
Tell us a little bit about your From Above EP. How does it compare to the two EPs you’ve released previously?
Well I recorded From Above just before Christmas in a studio in London. It’s got two really new songs and two of the first tracks that I’ve ever written on it. It certainly feels like the next step up from my last EP in terms of production. Making EPs has been such a valuable learning process for me.
How is the debut album coming along?
I made a start on recording the album a few weeks ago. Even saying that makes me feel so strange. I genuinely never thought I’d get the chance to make a record with my name on the front of it! We spent a few days playing around with recording piano and vocals and getting the sound going. It feels such a relief to be in the mind set for it now and to have actually made a start.
What can you tell us about your writing process? How do you like to work?
I recently converted my shed at home in Blackpool into a little writing and studio type space so I absolutely love being at home and in there. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a perfect space for being creative whilst still feeling myself around family and normal life. Writing is a strange thing. Inspiration comes and goes and I still don’t really know how writing a song happens. I think that’s what I love about it though; the mystery of it all.
When did you first start writing songs? Can you remember the first song you ever wrote?
I used to write when i was younger, say from about 15 onwards, but i wasn’t actually ‘writing’ and I had no idea what I was actually doing. I would sit at the piano and just noodle around with melodies as a means of avoiding doing my piano practice. It was an effective method! The first proper song that means a lot to me is Wait a While. It’s actually on my new EP From Above. I was 17, so probably almost three years ago now. I don’t remember how I wrote it, but I remember feeling so compelled to do it and it being a really key moment.
Who were your musical heroes when growing up?
As a kid I guess musically my heroes were the people around me who played music. My Uncle Stevie has always played in bands and I definitely looked up to him – he was the one in the family who brought music to everything. My piano teacher Darren too – he was great. Other than that, I listened to pretty rubbish music until I was about 15 when I discovered PJ Harvey and people introduced the music of Feist and Dusty Springfield to me. My brother and I also used to buy sheet music books, so this is where I found my love for people like Coldplay and KT Tunstall.
What’s the plan for the Summer? Are you going to be playing the festival circuit?
I think I’ll definitely be around, playing a few little ones here and there, but this summer is all about making the record really! Which is incredibly exciting. I think next year’s festival season will be the one for me once the record is out!
How do you find the live side of things?
Live is what I love the most -it’s how I got into doing all of this. There’s no feeling I prefer more than playing to an audience of people no matter where or what the size that group of people happen to be. I actually feel really strange when I don’t have a lot of gigs booked in! I also love being on the road and travelling, meeting lots of new people.
Finally, which one song should we go and listen to right NOW?
Bjork – Unison. Definitely. I haven’t been able to stop listening to it for months now. It’s actually a little worrying…