From the minute you hear the opening lines of Raye’s fresh out of the plastic new melody “Kindly Don’t Touch Me” — “One touch I’m an unfortunate casualty. One look in your eyes, I’m in” — your know you’re in for something else. While the tune might be perky, the verses in this track are crude and, on occasion, appalling. Through them, Raye needs to pass on the idea that owning your helplessness is a type of intensity.
Talking about the tune’s melody, the artist lets me know: “I feel right now, the sentence ‘Kindly don’t contact me in the event that you don’t mean it’ is so the sentence that I convey with me and I have been throughout the previous scarcely any months.”
Previously, Raye’s image of pop has felt feel better, however consistently with an edge (think “Decrease”, “Love Me Again”, and “Certainty”). Presently she seems, by all accounts, to be inclining somewhat into the darker side of things. “I’ve invested a great deal of energy composing swaying finger melodies and attempting to enable myself, which I love, and I love those tunes,” she says, “yet really the most dominant I can ever be is being solid at my least, my generally stripped and powerless.”
“The most dominant I can ever be is being solid at my least, my generally bare and vulnerable.”
Talking progressively about the message behind the tune, Raye explains: “I’m vulnerable, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I’m all or nothing. If we have a connection but you don’t want to act upon it, why make me suffer?”
The singer continues: “This 21st-century love mentality of being ice cold, everything’s a game, and there’s unwritten rules of love, I don’t have time for that and that’s really what the song is about.” I hear that.
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Listening to Raye speak with such clarity on these topics, it’s easy to forget that she’s just 22 years old. Growing up around music, she first learnt to sing in the church with her dad playing keys. She started attending the renowned BRIT school at 14 and released her first EP only a few years later. She came third on BBC’s Sound Of 2017 and since then has gone on the collaborate with music giants like Stormzy, Jonas Blue, and David Guetta.
“I fell in love with [performing] very young,” Raye tells me. “I was good at it and I enjoyed it thoroughly. When I have my sights set on something I’m very focused and determined.” While her musical education definitely helped shape the artist she is today, Raye tells me that London is “a massive part of who [she is] as a human being.” She says: “I do a lot of traveling and I think you can tell if someone is a Londoner. We have a way of communicating and a boldness similar to New York I like having that down to earth-ness in a lyric, I think that’s important. You’re getting a London girl’s perspective every time you hear a Raye song.”