S: What was the moment that made you take music seriously?
R.A.E: A year and a half ago, I grew tired of hearing the same sounds in music. I wanted to see if I could bring the 90s sound back with a modern twist and have wanted to do music since the age of 10 – I’m extremely shy – but if I don’t start now, I never will.
S: What are some of your musical inspirations?
R: My main inspirations are TLC (Left Eye), Da Brat and MC Lyte! I just love the whole aesthetic and relatable storytelling.
S: You’re quite the storyteller – talk about the making of “Damn Jermaine”?
R: I went to Notting Hill’s Academy of Music – worst experience ever – and we showcased music every Thursday. Hearing stories from friends and watching movies, made me write “Damn Jermaine”. I wrote it in 2017 and it’s a story about a guy who’s leading a girl on. The whole song is a confrontation.
S: The video is parallel to the song (“Damn Jermaine”) – talk about how you crafted the visuals?
R: Besides music I do acting and always thought I’d go into musical theatre. I want to showcase both and do something realistic. I needed to show the confrontation and – much like the 90s – have a raw video. I used what’s around me and showcased London in 90s style.
S: Were you ever apprehensive about how people would take to the R.A.E package?
R: I’ve always been a 90s fanatic – being a girl, dressing in unisex clothing and nobody looking at it as any different. I know in the beginning people thought I was different, but people are coming around. Naturally, I don’t really care so I always do me and hopefully others connect to my music!
S: How’s being an ‘indie’ artist treating you?
R: I definitely appreciate creative control and not having anyone change anything about my music. Labels contact me, but when you send them music, they’re like “Can you take this out?” and it’s like no, because that’s no longer my music. They always want to make you more marketable.
S: Who would R.A.E collab with?
R: I would love to do a collab with Lil Simz! I’m a massive fan of hers and she’s alternative too.
S: So you’re dropping in September – what’s the vibes for your upcoming EP?
R: I’ve got strictly rapping songs and strictly singing songs on the project. I’m showing versatility. We made the EP in 4 days and will put out a mixtape next year. The last EP was just an intro, I want to bring people into my world now that everything has upgraded.
S: Talk to me about being the winner of Glastonbury’s ‘Emerging Talent’ competition!
R: I always forget until someone mentions it – I forget I’m an artist sometimes! My manager applied for me and I had no clue, then I saw it in my email. It went from 1000s to 90 and then, from 90 to 8. We sent one more song and from there, I won – I didn’t think I would!
Look out for R.A.E’s second project, set to be released this September, and click here to stream “Summer Love”, her latest single.