New York
The perfect popstar is RAYE, an 18-year-old South Londoner who's current CV includes two stellar EPs, a monstrous single in the shape of I, U, Us (co-written with Charli XCX), a writing credit on a future banger (Charli XCX's own After The Afterparty), a collaboration with Nas on the soundtrack to The Birth Of A Nation, features on huge tunes by the likes of Jonas Blue and Jax Jones, and a rib-rattling collaboration with UK rap ballbuster Stefflon Don on an off-the-cuff cover of Desiigner's Timmy Turner (RAYE also co-directed and edited the video). All this from someone who knows she has several absolute smashes up her immaculately designed sleeves (she's also got her own fashion label, don't you know) and is supporting Jess Glynne on her upcoming arena tour. “It sounds stupid but I want to be as big as I can be,” she states. “I want to be massive. I'm 18 and I'm just starting so let's go.”

In many ways RAYE's musicality was pre-determined. Her dad and grandad were both musical, the former playing keys in a band while both of them wrote songs. She'd also caught the song writing bug from an early age, with piano lessons helping her formulate songs as she moved into double digits. “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.” Headstrong and determined, it was around this same time that RAYE decided she wanted to go to the Brit School. Of course she got in, but even before that – at the age of just 14 – she'd landed herself a manager. Once ensconced in such a creative environment, her song writing 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 song writing 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.'
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