RAYE has probably written music of your favorite songs. The British singer-songwriter made history for winning six awards at the 2024 BRIT Awards in March 2024, and we feel the recognition has been long overdue!

Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about RAYE. 

Where Is RAYE From?

RAYE, whose real name is Rachel Keen, was born in South London on October 24, 1997. The 26-year-old attended one of the most prestigious performing arts schools in England called The BRIT School in Croydon, where notable alum include Adele and Amy Winehouse.

As for her family, her dad was a musical director at their local church while her mom sang in the gospel choir.

When speaking about her background, RAYE shared that her family put her onto many different genres.  “As a Ghanaian-Swiss Brit, I grew up with so many different cultures. Gospel, soul, jazz, and R&B were what I felt connected to as an artist,” she told Vogue in March 2024.

When Did RAYE First Release Music?

Rachel’s breakthrough in the music world first came in 2014 when she dropped her debut EP Welcome to the Winter. At just 16 years old, the singer began to gain some traction and ultimately signed to a record label that same year.

However, it wouldn’t be until 2016 when RAYE would release her next piece of music. The award winning singer released her second EP along with the single “Distraction and Ambition,” featuring popular Grime artist Stormzy.

RAYE has also written for many A-list artists like Beyoncé, Little Mix, John Legend, Ellie Goulding, and more.

Why Did RAYE Leave Her Record Label?

Even though RAYE signed a four-album deal with her record label, Polydor, the singer alleged that they had been withholding her music. When Rachel first signed with the label, she had her first R&B album “pretty much ready to go,” she shared with Vogue.

To her surprise, the company allegedly told her that R&B wouldn’t sell in the UK. Instead, RAYE was asked to write dance music. Despite her best interests, she agreed, “I was so young, so hungry, so grateful for the opportunity, I had to find a way to make this work,” she told the publication.

After years of writing music she didn’t feel connected to, RAYE decided to make a change. On June 29, 2021, the singer shared to Twitter the unfair treatment she was experiencing by the label.

She wrote, “Imagine this pain. I have been signed to a major label since 2014…and I have had albums on albums of music sat in folders collecting dust, songs I am now giving away to A list artists because I am still awaiting confirmation that I am good enough to release an album.”

During the same interview with the news outlet, RAYE shared that she felt she had “nothing to lose.” Her gamble played off as she was released from her contract two weeks later.

Following a two year hiatus, RAYE released her debut album My 21st Century Blues in 2023, which landed her six BRIT awards.

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