‘I still struggle with confidence’: An interview with Rae Morris (11/09/14)

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I caught up with Rae Morris before the start of her latest UK tour. We discussed her recent collaborations with Bombay Bicycle Club and Clean Bandit, and the release of her debut album at the beginning of 2015.

You’ve got a UK headline tour starting tonight and then going on to support George Ezra. How excited are you for that?

I’m really excited, particularly excited about this UK tour because I’ve done some festivals over the summer but haven’t been on a proper tour since maybe May so it’s nice to do that again and being able to play with my band again.

The George Ezra tour is exciting as I’m friends with George and I can’t wait to hang out with him.

And that’s international isn’t it?

Yeah we’re doing the UK in October and then I’m going to go with him on my own to Europe for a month.

I heard the UK one is sold out?

I think it has. The whole thing! He’s a popular guy!

You’ve done a lot of festivals this summer, do you have a particular favourite?

Yeah I think that one that was my favourite was Kendal Calling. I’m from up North and Kendal Calling was actually the first proper festival I ever played and the gig this this year was so good; a full tent and everyone had really high energy.

Over the last year we’ve seen you work with Bombay Bicycle Club, Clean Bandit and had Fryars feature on your single ‘Cold’. What’s it like working with all these musicians?

It’s great, I feel really lucky actually. I never considered that I’d be the type of artist that would collaborate. I don’t think you know that it’s possible or that people would want to work with you but then when these opportunities come along its really exciting. You’ve just got to then go with it and take every opportunity and appreciate it. Working with Bombay Bicycle Club has been an incredible experience and I’ve got some friends out of it and they’ve taught me a lot as well in terms of live performance.

Do you get nervous before you go out on stage anymore?

Yeah, always! Everytime. I don’t think I know of a gig where I’ve not been nervous before.

Your new EP ‘Closer’ comes out next month – can you tell us a bit about that?

‘Closer’ is the lead single that will be on the EP. I ended up recording quite a lot of tracks for the album so I’ve been putting a few of them on EPs to release them as well. There’s a song called ‘My God’ which is one I recorded for the album but is was going spare and then there’s a remix and then a piano and vocal version of the Clean Bandit song (‘Up Again’). So it’s a bit of a mix of things but hopefully people will like it!

How did you first get into music and songwriting?

Well I was 17 and at college and was doing music because that’s what I loved to do – playing piano. Then I realised that I could actually write songs as well and it saved me a bit because I wasn’t enjoying music at college as I wasn’t very good at the classical side of it. So I started writing songs, gigging and playing open mic nights and just trying to play a much as possible. That was it really, just went on from there, playing gigs which I’m still doing the now!

Do you have a favourite track to perform live?

It’s weird because when they are your own songs you enjoy playing them but I feel bad saying I love one of my own songs. But there’s a song called ‘For You’ which I think is actually my favourite.

Which bands/solo artists are you really loving right now?

I’ve got some of my favourite artists on this tour. A guy playing with us tonight, called Sivu – he’s amazing. Then we’ve got Paul Thomas Saunders who is also incredible, his album came out already this year and that’s been one of my favourite albums of 2014. And then a guy called The Half Earth is also supporting. They’re all really cool, up and coming musicians.

What is happening in the future for Rae Morris?

Before now I’ve tried to look to the future but plans change so quickly so there’s not really much point in doing that. The album is out in January and I just want to gig and tour and go to America hopefully! I’d loved to just play as many shows as possible and then just keep making albums. That’s my goal; to make the next record straight away.

In regards to your debut album, has it been something that’s happened quite quickly or has it been a long time coming?

It has been a long time coming. I started writing it when I was 17. It’s taking just over 3 years to get to this point. Although it has taken a long time, I’ve been lucky because I needed that time to learn and be in the studio and learn the best way to go about everything. I feel ready now to release it.

If you could give any advice to aspiring young musicians, what would it be?

Oh wow! I’d say that everything is possible and you should never be put off by things like not being confident. I still struggle with confidence and it’s something everyone has to deal with in their own way. Also just say yes to as many opportunities as possible. Don’t turn things down as it might not look very good and it might turn into an amazing opportunity.

Rae Morris’s new EP ‘Closer’ is out on the 22nd October via Atlantic Records.

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