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Music

RAYE: Tiny Desk Concert

todayApril 12, 2023

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RAYE performs a Tiny Desk concert.
RAYE performs a Tiny Desk concert.

“I’m a songwriter for a living, okay. I usually have all the words but I’m genuinely speechless.” RAYE told the audience at her Tiny Desk. “All I’ve wanted is to be seen and respected as a musician.”

The South London-bred singer-songwriter had finally made her way to NPR headquarters, her signature cherry-hued pin curls full of bounce and a radiant smile spread across her face. It was a long time coming, and in a re-arranged set of songs from her stunning debut album tailored to the Tiny Desk, RAYE exuded the confidence and abilities of a veteran vocal powerhouse.

In the game for over a decade, RAYE’s debut album was 7 years in the making after being stuck in a major label deal that had her confined to recording mainstream pop and electronic records, and penning hits for other artists instead of executing her own creative vision. Now independent, she released the genre-busting My 21st Century Blues this year, an impressive and raw album that touches on some of the artist’s most vulnerable life experiences. Over the course of her Tiny Desk, RAYE’s musicianship shines as she displays a melange of jazz scats, gospel and blues inflections. Closing out her set with “Buss It Down.,” she recruits the audience for some call and response action only after giving us a brief vocal lesson, ’cause that’s just how particular she is. If this Tiny Desk concert is your introduction to RAYE, prepare to be enraptured.

SET LIST

  • “Worth It.” 
  • “Five Star Hotels.”
  • “Mary Jane.”
  • “Buss It Down.”

MUSICIANS

  • RAYE: vocals
  • Matthew Brooks: drums
  • Liv Thompson: bass
  • Briana Washington: keys
  • Paul Murray: guitar
  • Michael Cordone: trumpet
  • Greg DeAngelis: trombone
  • DeSean Jones: saxophone 

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producers: Bobby Carter, Ashley Pointer
  • Director/Editor: Maia Stern
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen 
  • Videographers: Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Sofia Seidel, Alanté Serene
  • Audio Assistant: Neil Tevault
  • Production Assistant: Jill Britton
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Joshua Bryant, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Pilar Galván
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Written by: Ashley Pointer

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