Raelle grew up in southeast London, where she and her sisters frequently felt isolated and singled out as the only Black family in their neighbourhood. They took solace in making music together. At home, she was surrounded by Motown classics, played the piano, and trained as a classical singer. Hearing Amy Winehouse’s album ‘Frank’ as an adolescent sparked a creative awakening, and she became captivated with jazz and soul’s freedom of expression and emotiveness. Finding vibes between poetry and melody drive her songwriting process for lyrics and instrumentals to play off each other to tell a story.
Her debut single, ‘Close To You,’ is a jazz ballad about the renewing power of love. ‘Close to You’ her rich, smooth soprano conjures the intimacy of singing to a lover with achingly poignant turns of voice over twinkling synths and a stripped-down bassline. A saxophone solo crests over soft vocal harmonies before Raelle’s bittersweet lyrics “You took my heart and gave me back diamonds and gold/Performed your alchemy and turned my carcass into a brand new soul.” - Christine Hannigan
Raelle finds singing, particularly soul, a natural way of sharing with others. In a supposedly connected world based on superficial images, soul enables deeper emotional bonding between people with common experiences, and creates a bridge to share those experiences with people from different backgrounds in the musical spirit of Roy Ayers, Etta James, and Nina Simone.
What was the inspiration behind your new single ‘Wait for you’?
When I started making the beat, I really wanted it to be a feel good song, a song that makes me want to sing along to. I used to go to these late night jam sessions before lockdown, where musicicans would come together with no set music or instructions and just vibe with each other and end up making a sick sound. So I think that freestyle element definitely inspired this sound. With the lyrics and melody and the harmonies, I grew up listening to a lot of gospel music and love the harmonies, so I tried to emulate that in my work.
What is ‘wait for you’ about?
Wait for you is about knowing that you have a person who you care about, finding that person that changes your perspective on life, and brings your mind into a new light, someone that vibes on the same energy as you do, so there isn’t really anything that you wouldn’t do for them. The song follows like a call and response style, so I am kind of calling out for that person and telling them how I feel towards them, and then they respond to me with the rap verse at the end.
How would you describe your sound/ music to someone who may not know it yet?
I would say my sound fits into the soul/funk/neo-soul category, but I like to incorporate different styles such as electro sounds, RnB sounds and Jazz sounds in some of my songs. Its like a cross between Tom Misch, Lianne la havas with a sprinkle of Erykah Badu
When did you first become interested in music?
I have always been interested in music from around 4 when I was given a solo in my church nativity play! I just loved the sensation of singing and being able to perform and become something completely different for those 3 minutes. I carried on by taking classical singing lessons for around 8 years, which was fun but classical music wasn’t my fit, and then in the past couple years I just started making music of my own and have been doing it ever since.
Who/ What inspires you as an artist?
I just want to make music to primarily makes me happy, makes other people happy and feel something, to be able to connect with people. I often feel alone in certain situations because I have a hard time talking about my feelings with people, so music is a way for me to open up and work through those emotions. Amy winehouse and Nina simone are my top 2 favourite artist I love how raw they are with their emotions, it almost feels like I have lived through what they are going through when they tell their stories. But more recently I am obsessed with Lianne la havas, shes so original and unapologetically herself! Which is cool.
What else have you got planned for this year?
This year is busy for me I have a string of releases and music videos set to come out this year as well as my debut EP which I am super excited about so stay tuned for more.