London songstress Ray BLK caught our attention with her latest release, Havisham. We reviewed the sultry EP a while ago and this time we're back to get the scoop on just what makes the soulful singer tick. Check out the interview below.
CM: The EP is called Havisham, who herself is a very reclusive character, is her character any reflection of yours?
Ray BLK: Not at all, I love being around my friends and meeting new people. If there's a gathering with good people, I'm there!
CM: So what does the title mean to the story you wanted to tell through your music?
Ray: The story of the EP is that of a girl who falls in love, experiences heartbreak which fuels her decision to be cold towards men which is taken from Ms Havisham's story in Dickens' novel.
I feel like this story is so relatable to girls! Many of us growing up are told how men are no good by female family members and even by television. Then we meet someone, take the plunge and go through the same experience. I wanted to share that relatable story and hopefully teach that becoming the person who hurt you isn't how you heal, if anything it's more destructive.
CM: It may be a funny thing to notice, but it wasn't until after you dropped Havisham that you really released any images of yourself. Was this a conscious decision or did it just happen?
Ray: I wasn't really a regular user of Instagram and things like that because I didn't feel like there was much I wanted to share. But now I have to promote things which means I have to promote myself I suppose so I definitely post a lot more than I did before but I think it's more coincidental than pre planned.
CM: Sonically you’ve referenced some of the freshest names from the hip hop scene such as Selvsse and Dream Koala. When creating a song how does sound impact your direction?
Ray: The sound is everything! I used to write songs without beats and come up with a melody and everything and store it for when I found a beat that was cohesive but I realised how ultimately that didn't work because the beat of a song provides the foundation.
It's what gives you the feeling or emotion or vibe of a song and then the lyrics bring the imagery. I think sometimes people underestimate what the sound of a beat can do for a song. It either brings the words to life or kills it and nobody wants to even listen to what you're saying so it definitely impacts how I write.
CM: You’re graduating from university soon and have balanced making music and studying throughout. When did you decide you wanted to pursue music and how has the whole process been?
Ray: I've always enjoyed learning and education but from the day I started university I knew it wouldn't influence my career path in life and rather would be something I did to educate myself whilst trying to follow my dreams.
I had been slowly working on the EP for 2 years in the lead up to it's release, finding beats, writing the songs, finding a studio etc and then in my last term of final year put the project out. I think it was bad but good timing. Balancing both has been a struggle but I'm in a place now where once I'm finished I jump into the career I want whereas most of the time people graduate and spend maybe a year or so finding a graduate job, so in that respect I'm very lucky to have found my path and be in a position to commence it straight after Uni.
CM: Given that Havisham got such a strong reception, how are you planning your next steps? And are there any videos to look forward to? Can you give us a little exclusive info?
Ray: The videos are coming! And okay... The first one will be for an unreleased song called ‘Who Shot Ya’. Biggie Smalls is one of my favourite rappers, as he is most of ours and so it's somewhat an ode but the song is completely separate to the Biggie classic ‘Who Shot Ya' but some of the words and the old school hip hop feel is inspired by him.
It's really fun and I can't wait to release it! Throughout the year I hope to put out some videos from the EP and keep releasing music and doing live shows.
CM: Last question, and just a random one- what's your favourite film & why?
Pulp fiction because it is literally the dopest film ever created! It has everything a good film needs. Action, drama, blood, guns, sex and great acting. If you haven't seen it your life is yet to be complete! [Laughs]
If you haven’t already, go download Havisham and make sure you stay locked for more from Ray BLK!
Interview led by Ranako Daley (@NarkiP)