Corinne Bailey Rae: Found At Sea

We have all found ourselves lost in a memory or the near distant future when we listen to Corinne Bailey Rae. She gives us a necessary breath of fresh air with her cool, sweet, rock-British-R&B-soul sound. After a two year break and dealing with the sudden death of her husband. She has come back giving […]

We have all found ourselves lost in a memory or the near distant future when we listen to Corinne Bailey Rae. She gives us a necessary breath of fresh air with her cool, sweet, rock-British-R&B-soul sound.

After a two year break and dealing with the sudden death of her husband. She has come back giving us the long awaited follow-up album to her self-titled debut. The Sea debuted January 26, in the states and was welcomed to enthusiastic ears and rave reviews. How would you describe your music?

Corinne Bailey Rae: I think it’s really up to the people to decide what they think the music is, what they think the music is about. I just feel that is my personal expression, I am trying to convey what I am thinking, what I am feeling. I say my music has emotion—my music has emotion. But, I really don’t know how to classify it. Would you consider yourself part of the continuing British invasion hitting the U.S.?

Corinne Bailey RaeI don’t really know, I think there has been a lot of British passage, come over here in recent years. I mean I feel lucky to be apart of that. I mean it’s great to be here in America in the first place in contemporary music. I don’t feel apart of that scene. I think a lot of those people are from London. London is a real different place than where I live—north of England (Leeds). I feel apart of my own thing, independent of what is happening in London, sort of independent from the mainstream. I think of myself as British, all of those things are The Sea is raw and seriously thought provoking album, how long did the album take?

Corinne Bailey Rae: I believe the album came about quickly. Obviously, I had a big break in the middle of it. I started writing the album in summer of 2007. I recorded three or four songs from November 2007 and the March 2008. And, then I started working on it a year later towards the end of 2008. It sort of didn’t take that long to write and record, because I hadn’t written in a long time. I felt like I had a lot of songs that couldn’t wait to come out. The way we recorded and produced it, it wasn’t time consuming, it kind of happened when people were available. People were hanging out in the studio–at Limefield studios. Except for having the break in the middle, I felt like the album came about quite quickly. The second go round; you stayed true to your roots and remained humble. Was it hard telling record companies “no” and remain who you are?

Corinne Bailey Rae: It wasn’t hard, but it was difficult, it was hard to negotiate, I guess. I didn’t want to across like I didn’t need the help at the same time I had a clear idea how I wanted it to sound. I started working with this producer, a really great friend and musician and I felt this is the way to do it. To be really free and not self-conscious and not having strangers around during the process. My experience gave me confidence to do it all on my own and the record label were supportive of it; they kind of left me to it–which was great! I really felt that with the record it was on me, whether it was going to do well or not do well. What inspired your album name The Sea?

Corinne Bailey Rae: I didn’t really think of the album title until I finished the album. I was thinking of what ties everything together. I felt like there was a lot of movement in the song, sometimes the songs were really full and layered. Sometimes I would retreat, when it was just me and the guitar. Sometimes the choruses are fast and the verses are slow, it has a lot of rhythm. The Sea was a really good metaphor describing the sound of the record and the layers. I felt like that was a great title for it and then there was quite a lot of warfare appearing in the songs. When you come the states do you feel at home?

Corinne Bailey Rae: I do actually and it’s really weird. I like it here! I didn’t know what I would think of it. I deliberately didn’t try to make music that I thought was American music. When that happened I was really surprised that the album did well, because at that particular time a lot of the music was mostly R&B. It was polished, perfect and virtuosic and improvising and runs. I just thought there is no way they will be in to what I am doing. I felt confident and it was more of me and not trying to be like a Beyonce, you have got these amazing singers. So, I was really surprised it did well here. No, I absolutely love it. I love New York, it’s an amazing city—it’s so vibrant and I think people arrive with certain expectations. It is an amazing place to be. It is amazing with so much going on, it’s good fun! I really like touring here and the people are friendly. I like that it is English speaking. I love playing here and it’s definitely a second home to me. Before you became the songstress you are, what dreams and ambitions did you have outside of music?

Corinne Bailey Rae: Uumm…I think it would be music. I was 15 when I first played in a band and I played in a pub, and have people come up to you didn’t know and tell you I really like your song–to me it was amazing! Make-up stuff in your bedroom and that just came out of your head, and being in front of eighty or ninety people. When I was 15 or 16 I knew this was what I wanted to know. Everybody I knew was in a band the aspiration was my friends. As, I got older obviously they have dropped out the band doing other things and getting other jobs. But, I still felt like music was what I really wanted to do. Music is really what I want to do, singing and really expressing myself and working with musicians. I just thought this was fun and I really like to do this and I thought of it as my life and writing songs for a living. What’s next for you?

Corinne Bailey Rae: I really enjoyed producing this album. It was my first experience in production. I learned a lot from hassling people from my first album; and asking questions, looking over the shoulder, getting a bit involved. I know how I want the album want to sound, which bass player, which drummer I want to use and how I want to build it up in layers. This great singer-songwriter John MacCallum, I really want to produce his album. I think that would be different. I really want to write music for a small independent film. I really would like to record a jazz record when I get a bit older and more experience, I’ll just enjoy it. I feel like there a lot of possibilities. I enjoy being around a lot of creative people. What is your favorite thing/attraction to visit when in you’re in the states?Corinne Bailey Rae: I guess I do, I really do like New York. I guess going into shop and record shops. It is such a huge place. I just feel, it is just exciting it is such a big place you can be anonymous and eccentric—and I like that. I feel like other places you have to bring yourself in because people might think you are trying to draw attention to yourself but, you are not, you are just trying to express yourself. I like that about New York. I see that you’re touring when do it start and end?Corinne Bailey Rae: The tour starts, I think on the seventh of April in Canada. And then it comes to a lot of major American cities and St. Lucia at the Jazz Festival. I will be over here for about seven weeks. Is there anything else you want to add to the interview?

Corinne Bailey Rae: Uummm…I am trying to think of it. I think we covered most of it in the interview and how this album was different. I really wanted this record to be about self-expression. I wanted not to think about what others expect and what I am trying to say and the album came about in a very natural way.  I think its important to do that, follow your heart and follow your instincts, instead of being someone who is a careerist and build on success. I really wanted to walk into the project with freedom and I have been able to do that.