Rae Morris: ‘This is the most relaxed I’ve ever felt onstage’

Rae Morris

Rae Morris - Credit: Archant

Rae Morris performs at Islington Assembly Hall on Thursday (September 28)

Rae Morris’ musical career started at the age of 17 in a Blackpool fish ‘n’ chip shop.

A label A&R guy contacted her over MySpace before going to one of her gigs and offered her a deal that evening.

Eight years later, she’s gearing up to release her second album.

“I was much more relaxed about making a second record than the first one,” she says. “I was just delighted to be in the studio again and felt like the time was right to just go crazy and really put everything into it.”

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Her first, Unguarded, which came out in 2015, was listed in the BBC Sound of 2015 poll and produced primarily with Ariel Rechtshid (Adele, HAIM, Vampire Weekend, Brandon Flowers).

“In the early days, I was pretty tied to my love for the piano. It held me back at times because I’d be wary of starting a song in any other way. The beauty of modern music software and technology too means you can do literally anything you want to do. Realising that was such a good feeling.”

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While the piano love will never wane – it will always be a “wholesome feeling” – her music has blossomed with the electronic edge and so has her performance on stage.

“I feel very different when I’m moving around the stage now. It’s the most relaxed I’ve ever felt onstage. Since incorporating more movement into the show, I’m enjoying performing in a brand new way. It’s a different connection with the audience when you can be close to them and share sweat.”

The realisation of the freedom she has to move and create and take risks has made it into her song writing.

New single, Do It, is about daring herself to take the more exciting route over what she knows.

“’Do it’ was written as a kind of Part Two of the song ‘Cold’ that Fryars and I did together on my first record,” she says. “I was inspired by real life things that were going on; feelings and energies even in the studio always play a huge part in inspiring what comes out of the speakers.”

The video for the second single release this year (following Reborn) is a celebration of letting go. Filmed around New York, a relaxed Rae seems to be in her element, singing dancing and sailing around the city.

“It really was just as fun as it looks,” she says. “We had two days shooting, one in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan, my highlight being the fireworks and bizarre but amazing dance party at Coney Island! I hadn’t spent much time in New York City before this, so it was an amazing way to see loads of the city.”

Her first UK tour in a year and a half brings Rae to Islington Assembly Hall on Thursday September 28, and she’s happy to be back on stage.

“I’ve never had such a gap in touring before,” she says. “It’s been really restorative actually, spending a long period of time in one place. I feel really refreshed and ready to get going again. Touring has always been my favourite thing about being a musician. It’s tough at times, but there’s a rush that you can only get in a splitter van speeding down the motorway towards the next venue!”

She may now be used to dedicated fans around the world, but her roots and early development in Blackpool remain ever present in her approach.

“I guess open mic nights made me realise that it’s cool to be open and share your message no matter how advanced or embryonic it is.”

The new as yet unnamed album is due to drop early next year and, if Do It and Reborn are anything to go on, we won’t be disappointed.

“The album isn’t conceptual, but it’s a series of stories and moments in time. Its colours are vibrant and high contrast, blues, reds, pinks and purples.”

Rae Morris performs at Islington Assembly Hall at 7pm on Thursday September 28.


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