Blackpool singer-songwriter Rae Morris is tipped for the top
- Credit: not Archant
22-year-old releases her debut album
As a young girl Rachel Morris would hide at the back when her dance teacher wanted people to perform in a show. But there are no signs of stagefright now as the 22-year-old from Blackpool releases her first album and prepares for a big year.
Rachel, who performs under the name Rae Morris, has received rave reviews already – she has been called “one of the most relevant, exciting new artists to come out of the UK” – and was selected for the BBC’s Sound of 2015 list, which showcases the music industry’s brightest rising stars.
She has performed at some the biggest festivals in the country and has appeared with a host of established names but it’s all a far cry from anything she could have hoped to achieve when she was a shy pupil at Blackpool’s Stanley Park Primary School.
‘I didn’t really like performing,’ she said. ‘I did dancing when I was younger but whenever they asked me to do a show I would shy away. There was always music at home though, my brother and I had piano lessons when we were young and at family get-togethers there would always be sing-alongs and my dad can do an amazing rendition of The Boys Are Back in Town.
‘His dad Raymond was an engineer and carpenter but he has also a tenor who sang in local music festivals. I never met him but he’s the reason I perform as Rae, I thought it would be a nice tribute to him.’
After studying at St George’s High School Rachel took A-levels in music and music technology at Cardinal Newman College in Preston where her nerves about performing began to evaporate.
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She said: ‘In my first year at college I joined a band but I still hadn’t written a song. It wasn’t until my second year of college that I wrote a song I felt changed everything. I met another singer songwriter called Karina Francis, from Blackpool. I saw her on the Jools Holland show and went to her gigs and seeing someone from Blackpool doing so well made me think I could do it.
‘I started to play a lot of gigs, and to go to a lot of open mic nights and I sang regularly at the Stanley Park café. People became aware of what I was doing.
‘When I finished college I looked at universities and I got a place at Leeds College of Music but I wasn’t keen on the idea of leaving home and around that time I got offered some record deals so I was in the amazing position of being able to choose. Turning down uni and signing a record deal was an incredible moment for me.’
That was three years ago and since then performances at the Leeds and Reading festivals have been punctuated by praise from critics who have lauded her as the successor to Kate Bush.
‘People have drawn their own comparisons but Kate Bush is a massive inspiration for me. I am not too closely influenced by her but seeing a female do so much and creating so much and having a whole new life now, was a real inspiration,’ Rachel said.
‘It’s not about fleeting success for me, I want to be a career artist. It’s taken three years and I’m delighted with the album and so proud of it. I’m doing things I never thought I’d be able to do and I want to make as much music as possible. It’s about making a mark.’
Unguarded by Rae Morris is out now on Atlantic Records.