For British artist lyricist RAYE, it’s been hard over here. Following seven years of her previous name over and over denying her the valuable chance to deliver an introduction collection, the vocalist was exhausted. Presently, she’s taking care of us.
RAYE is recently free following a not-really clean separation with the record organization she was attached to for all intents and purposes her whole vocation — and 33% of her life. The split happened the previous summer after the craftsman said she was “done being a respectful pop star” and took to Twitter to share her experience:
“This song is just peeling back the first layer of the stories I’m really going to tell,” RAYE tells PAPER.
Through lines like “What (do) you know about hustling/ As a young girl in the dungeons” and “I’m about to have these grown men crying,” RAYE finally shares her story and the rage she has for an industry that sidelined and mistreated her for years. She’s ready to take the step from being a featured artist, or a songwriting credit to the lone voice on a project of her own.
“In the worst of times, I’ve felt like a rent-a-voice,” says the singer. “A voice, but a voice that no one really cares about.”
Today, the singer shares her new music video for the single “Hard Out Here,” depicting the early stages of an artistic metamorphosis. In the visual, the performer quite literally sheds previous versions of herself and claims her spot in the industry, unapologetically taking up space through bold choreography. Though the song is courageous and honest, it’s also incredibly vulnerable — and shining a light on her trauma hasn’t been easy.
“This entire cycle has been troublesome — engaging and elevating on the greatest days and truly terrifying and hard and intense on the most awful days,” RAYE says. “Yet, I simply feel like the craftsmen I’m enlivened by the most take a risk to bravely articulate their thoughts.”
RAYE names craftsmen like Lady Gaga and Billie Holiday as her motivations, yet her greatest inspiration all through this whole interaction has been Nina Simone, especially her statement: “It’s a craftsman’s obligation to mirror the times.”
“I felt like the music I was contributing wasn’t really mirroring those things,” says the vocalist.
However the track subtleties RAYE’s own story, the treatment she encountered is nothing new to ladies and other underestimated voices in the music business.
“I need ‘Hard Out Here’ to be a song of praise for anybody who feels smothered, who feels crushed down,” says the artist. “I trust that individuals can place themselves there and simply utilize this tune as fuel to remind yourself who the eff you are.”
Hard Out Here Out Now ❤️🚨🔪 pic.twitter.com/eIS8F6LhU2— RAYE (@raye) July 1, 2022