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Raye – Rachel Agatha Keen

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Last Updated on 1 April 2024 by Erotica Pleasure

Rachel Agatha Keen, known professionally as Raye, is an English actress, singer, songwriter and composer. Her debut studio album, My 21st Century Blues (2023) was released independently to critical and commercial success, and won Album of the Year at the 2024 BRIT Awards. Among five other awards for which she was a recipient, RAYE broke the record for most wins and nominations received at the ceremony in a single year.

Before her breakthrough as solo artist, she wrote songs for other acts, namely BeyoncéLittle MixRihannaDavid GuettaJohn Legend and Ellie Goulding. She rose to prominence after her guest appearances on the commercially successful 2016 singles “By Your Side” by Jonas Blue and “You Don’t Know Me” by Jax Jones, as well as her 2020 single “Secrets” (with Regard) and “Bed” (with David Guetta and Joel Corry) the following year. She gained media attention following her departure from Polydor Records in the latter year, after the label allegedly refused to release her debut album.

Her 2022 single “Escapism” (featuring 070 Shake) achieved virality on TikTok before becoming her first song to peak atop the UK Singles Chart. Furthermore, it reached the top ten in over 22 countries, and became her first entry on the US Billboard Hot 100. It preceded the release of her debut studio album My 21st Century Blues (2023), which earned Album of the Year nomination at the 2023 Mercury Prize. That same year, “Prada” (with Cassö and D-Block Europe) topped charts across Europe and, along with “Escapism”, earned a nomination for Brit Award for Song of the Year; the latter of which won the award.

In 2019, she was given a BMI Film & TV Award for her “groundbreaking artistry, creative vision and impact on the future of music.” She has over ten million certified sales in the United Kingdom. She has also won a Brits Billion Award—becoming one of its first recipients—as well as an Ivor Novello AwardMOBO Award, 6 Brit Awards— becoming the first female recipient to win Songwriter of the Year and a Global Award. In summary, she has been nominated for eleven Brit Awards, one BET Award, three Popjustice £20 Music Prize, three Ivor Novello Awards, four Global Awards, and three AIM Independent Music Awards.

Other Name: Rachel Keen
Years active: 2014–present
Born Age: October 24, 1997, 26 years old and 5 months, Tooting, London, England
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Eye Color: Black
Height: 5 ft 8 in – 1.73 m
Measurements: 38-26-36 in – 97-66-91 cm
Bra size: 33B US – 75C EU
Genre: R&B
Intruments: Vocals, piano

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Early life

Rachel Agatha Keen was born to a GhanaianSwiss mother who is a mental health worker and an English father from Yorkshire. Raye’s middle name is the first name of her grandmother. As a child, she sang gospel songs in a church where her father was the musical director and her mother sang in the choir.

Later, she moved to Croydon, where she studied at Coulsdon Church of England Primary School and Woodcote High School and at age 14 attended BRIT School, before dropping out after two years due to feeling “confined… despite learning an extensive amount.” Keen spent most of her teenage years learning how to write songs professionally in studio sessions at the weekends. RAYE’s younger sister, Abby Lynn Keen, is also a singer-songwriter, professionally known as Absolutely.

Career

2014–2018: Welcome to the Winter, breakthrough and EPs

In December 2014, at the age of 17, Raye released her debut extended play Welcome to the Winter. Raye released the singles “Flowers” and “Alien” in February and April 2015, respectively, the latter featuring London-based rapper Avelino.
In August 2016, RAYE released her second EP, Second. The extended play was preceded by promotional singles “Distraction” and “Ambition”, the latter featuring rapper Stormzy. “I, U, Us” was released as the lead single from the EP in October 2016. A video was released which was directed by British singer Charli XCX. A live performance video for the song “Shhh” was released in November 2016. Raye was featured on Jonas Blue‘s single “By Your Side“. It was released in October 2016 and peaked at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart. She also featured on Jax Jones‘ single “You Don’t Know Me” in December 2016. The song, co-written by Raye herself, peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart and has been certified double Platinum by the BPI.

In February 2017, Raye performed her first headline concert at XOYO in Shoreditch. Raye was featured alongside Starrah on the track “Dreamer” from Charli XCX’s mixtape Number 1 Angel, which was released in March 2017. Stand-alone singles, “The Line” and “Sober (Stripped)” were released in May and August, respectively. In November, Raye released “Decline” (featuring Mr Eazi), which peaked at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart and has been certified Platinum.

In February 2018, Raye released the single titled “Cigarette” (with Mabel and Stefflon Don). The song peaked at number 41 on the UK Singles Chart and has been certified Silver by the BPI. In March 2018, Raye collaborated with Kojo Funds and released “Check” which peaked at number 26 in the UK and is certified Gold. Both “Decline” and “Cigarette” would appear on Raye’s third extended play, titled Side Tape, which was released in May 2018. A video for promotional single “Confidence” (with Maleek Berry and Nana Rogues), was also released that month. Later in 2018, Raye released the stand-alone single titled, “Friends”, which peaked at number 66 in the UK. In September 2018, Raye supported Halsey on the European leg of the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour. In October 2018, Raye embarked on her own headlining tour, visiting a number of cities around the UK and Ireland.

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2019–2020: Euphoric Sad Songs

In February 2019, Raye was featured on the song “Tipsy” by Odunsi. In April 2019, it was announced Raye would support Khalid on his Free Spirit World Tour in Autumn 2019, alongside Mabel. Raye collaborated with David Guetta on the single “Stay (Don’t Go Away)“, which was released in May 2019 and peaked at number 41 on the UK Singles Chart. Raye was revealed to be a co-writer on the track “Bigger” by American singer Beyoncé, which was featured on the soundtrack album The Lion King: The Gift, released in July 2019. In August 2019, Raye released the single “Love Me Again“, whilst a remix of the song with Jess Glynne was later released. The single later peaked at number 55 on the UK Singles Chart and has been certified Silver. Another Guetta collaboration, “Make It to Heaven“, was released in November 2019 along with producer Morten. Follow up promotional singles “Please Don’t Touch” and “All of My Love”, the latter featuring rapper Young Adz, were released in December 2019 and February 2020, respectively.

Tequila” was released as a single in collaboration with DJs Jax Jones and Martin Solveig in February 2020. The song peaked at number 21 on the UK Singles Chart as well as peaking inside the top 20 in Ireland and Scotland. The track received a Gold certification in the UK. A collaboration with DJ Regard titled “Secrets” was released in April 2020. The song peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart and topped the UK Dance Chart. The song also reached the top ten in Ireland and Scotland as well as on the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs chart. “Secrets” charted in numerous countries such as the Netherlands, France, and Germany, making it Raye’s first chart appearance as a lead artist. In July 2020, Raye released the single “Natalie Don’t“.

In November 2020, Raye released her first mini-album, Euphoric Sad Songs, featuring previous releases “Love Me Again”, “Please Don’t Touch”, “Secrets”, and “Natalie Don’t” plus additional new singles “Love of Your Life” and the album’s fifth official single, “Regardless” (with Rudimental). The latter single peaked inside the top 40 in the United Kingdom as well on the US Dance/Electronic Songs chart. The project is centered around the theme of the “seven stages of grief” with Raye stating that she wrote the album during each stage of grief with the creative process helping heal her broken heart.

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2021–present: Departure from Polydor, My 21st Century Blues and international recognition

A collaborative single, “Bed” with Joel Corry and David Guetta, was released in February 2021. The song peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Raye’s highest charting single as a lead artist on the chart at the time. In June 2021, Raye released the single “Call On Me”, which was intended to serve as the lead single for her debut studio album. Raye co-wrote and co-produced the song “Let Them Know” by Mabel, which was also released the same month.

Later that month, Raye revealed that her record label, Polydor Records, had been withholding her debut album for several years. The statement received support from fellow artists including Charli XCXMNEK, and Rina Sawayama. Raye later went on a hiatus following the statements and in July 2021, she announced that she had parted ways with Polydor to work as an independent artist. Raye closed the year performing her Euphoric Sad Show headline UK and Ireland tour.

In June 2022, Raye released the single “Hard Out Here”, her first release as an independent artist. The second single, “Black Mascara”, was released in August 2022 and was followed by a dual single release, “Escapism” (featuring 070 Shake), and “The Thrill is Gone” in October 2022. All singles would come together to form Raye’s debut studio album, My 21st Century Blues, which was released in February 2023. The album peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart, behind Shania Twain‘s Queen of Me. In support of the album, Raye embarked on a mini tour entitled The Story So Far, which marked her first headlining shows in Europe and North America. This was followed by the My 21st Century Blues Tour, which commenced in February 2023. By December 2022, following the track going viral on multiple streaming platforms, “Escapism” ascended into the top ten of the UK Singles Chart, later peaking at number one in the first week of 2023, marking Raye’s highest charting single and first chart-topper in the country. In the United States, “Escapism” became Raye’s first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 22. The track also charted internationally, becoming Raye’s best-charting single of her career to date in various territories.

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In January 2023, Raye opened for Lewis Capaldi‘s Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent Tour in the UK and Ireland. In February 2023, Raye made her U.S. network television debut performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Raye supported Kali Uchis‘ Red Moon in Venus Tour, which took place from April to May in North America, and SZA on the second leg of her SOS Tour in June. That same month, she performed at the Glastonbury Festival 2023. In October 2023, Raye released My 21st Century Symphony, a live interpretation of songs from her debut album recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall alongside the Heritage Orchestra and the Flames Collective, a 30-piece gospel choir.

In March 2024, Raye performed a medley of a few of her hits at the BRIT Awards, where she won six out of seven nominations including Artist of the Year, breaking the record for most awards awarded to an artist in one night in the history of the BRIT Awards. She was one of the songwriters on the song “Riiverdance”, contained on Beyoncé‘s country music-inspired album Cowboy Carter (2024).

Artistry

Raye grew up listening to R&B and neo soul artists such as Jill ScottFrank Ocean and Lauryn Hill, and indie rock bands like Tame Impala and Bombay Bicycle Club. She has also expressed admiration for BeyoncéLady GagaElla Fitzgerald and Nina Simone.

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Personal_life

Raye identifies herself as a Christian and credits her faith for helping her to overcome her personal struggles. In an interview for Rolling Stone UK, Raye revealed that she had dealt with struggles with body dysmorphiaaddictioneating disorder, and anxiety. In a separate interview for the BBC, Raye revealed she had been sexually assaulted by a record producer earlier in her career.

Rachel Agatha Keen Facts

Originally, Rachel is from London, United Kingdom.

Rachel had relocated to Croydon in the past.

It was her father who guided her through her music career.

She released her debut EP titled Welcome to the Winter on December 11, 2014.

In 2018, she was nominated for a Brit Award with Jax Jones for the single You Don’t Know Me.

On November 20, 2020, she came out with her debut mini-album titled Euphoric Sad Songs which included the singles Love Me Again, Secrets, Natalie Don’t, Love of Your Life, and Regardless.

She parted ways with Polydor Records in July 2021.

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