Interview: Rae Morris

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21 year old Rae Morris is one of the most exciting emerging singer-songwriters in the UK; backed by an emotive voice and natural song-writing ability, success is undoubtedly only a matter of time. She’s already been featured in the BBC Sound of 2015 Longlist even without an album to her name, on Spotify she’s had close to a million plays on her tracks ‘Closer’and ‘Grow’. As if that’s not enough, during her “incredible” 2014 she featured on a Clean Bandit track, ‘Up Again’ for which she wrote the melody and the lyrics and which was featured on their highly successful album New Eyes. She also added George Ezra to her ever growing list of indie music stalwarts but 2015 threatens to be her year with a debut album, Unguarded out on the 26th of January, and a headline UK tour. Understandably for Morris, it’s “such an exciting time”, at a young age she’s already staking a claim as one of the best female singer-songwriters currently working in the UK scene. If you haven’t had a chance to hear her latest track, ‘Under The Shadows’, make sure you do as soon as possible.

Unguarded is an album four years in the making, Morris began writing songs that will feature on the album when she was 17, although both professionally and personally she’s changed a lot since then. Her collaboration with Clean Bandit was a totally new and “really exciting” process, which she claims “opened my mind to new ways of writing songs”. Through these collaborations with different artists/producers she developed as a songwriter, “each new person you work with brings something new, and something you wouldn’t have thought of.” As a result of these new experiences and her own growth as a song writer she went from “recording piano pieces on an iPhone and having a basic combination of piano and vocals” to “writing more on my computer, using logic and developing songs in different ways. I think it’s just really exciting learning about electronic music and all the new technology that’s around, and I feel like everything I do is opening new doors music wise and I’m really excited about the potential of where I can take it. [For this new album] I started to think about the production more and develop the demo so that it had an idea, a direction for the sound as well. I think now-days it’s so easy to form a song so quickly and form what it is and what it’s going to be in the future straight away. So it’s different and exciting.”  Lyrics wise, Morris explains: “Human emotions are something I find really fascinating; it’s not necessarily just love, I think it’s the questioning process we all go through, and the thought processes we all go through. I guess just instinctive feelings and thoughts, that’s where I get most of my lyric ideas from.”

As the interview went on, Morris’s love and passion for music becomes abundantly clear. She describes how music was a constant in her house, records were always playing and in that atmosphere her love of music blossomed. Upon hearing these songs she recalls wondering “what are these songs? What even are they? And I started exploring them in my own way and then I got an iPod shuffle and just filled it. People like Bjork and Kate Bush have always been massive inspirations, and I kind of just fell in love with female artists.” Taking piano lessons from an early age helped to develop that love and her own musical ability, something she honed studying music and drama in Preston, and working with and supporting some of the biggest artists on the British music scene. Following the path of all the best singer-songwriters, Morris cut her teeth with relentless gigging in Preston, Blackpool and here in Lancaster at the Ring o’ Bells. “I remember just doing quite a few terrible open mic slots and lots of pub gigs, but I’m really thankful for those opportunities”, Morris explain. Since those early days, Morris’s gigs have grown bigger and bigger. In the past she’s supported Bombay Bicycle Club, Noah and the Whale and Tom Odell and is excited at the chance to headline her own tour. “The touring band formed really naturally and I really love working with all them, which is so important”, she remarks.

And in five years time, where would she want to be? “I want to have released a couple more albums. To be somewhere interesting; I really want to travel, to try living in some new places maybe somewhere cool like Berlin. Ultimately just being really creative and writing album, that’s always been my ultimate goal.”