Raye’s tears should be a wake-up call for the music industry | Characteristics
The distorting lens of social media is capable of grandiose deceptions. Example: Just seven days ago, Raye seemed to be on top of the world. Her song ‘Call On Me’ was streaming fresh, and his Instagram account saw 300,000 subscribers dealt with what was – within the confines of a global pandemic – a “life of luxury, in which glamor could mingle with creativity.”
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The past 48 hours, however, have seen Raye lift the veil. In a series of touching Twitter posts, she opened up about her struggles with the label, how she felt mistreated and mistreated, and that her creativity had been stifled.
She wrote: “I did everything they asked me, I changed genders, I worked 7 days a week, ask anyone in the music game, they know. I’m done being a polite pop star. I want to do my album now, please that’s all I want.
To get to the heart of the matter, Raye told fans: “I’ve been on a 4 album deal since 2014 !!! And were not allowed to release an album. ALL I CARE is music. I’m sick of falling asleep and sick of hurting about it, it’s not such a personal matter for me. –
I have been on a DEAL OF 4 ALBUM since 2014 !!! And were not allowed to release an album. ALL I CARE is music. I’m sick of falling asleep and sick of hurting about it, it’s no big deal to me, it’s so personal
– RAYE (@raye) June 29, 2021
– She then followed that up with an emotional IG Live, in which she spoke candidly about her sanity, her deep and lasting love of music, and her desperate hope of sharing a full-scale album project with fans. . Raye even performed a series of unreleased tracks, music that demonstrated her breadth and ability to make – as she repeatedly urged – “pure bangers!”
Everything is far from its beginnings. A flurry of stellar singles made Raye’s name – seriously, go back and listen to ‘Flowers’ or ‘Distraction’, or the Stormzy bolstered ‘Ambition’ – as she sought to mix the underground with a willingness to ” interact with the general public. Clash met her in 2017 and saw fit to label her “A new generation of pop star”.
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However, since then, progress has been sporadic. From the outside, it seems clear that the Polydor label was trying all kinds of tricks to get Raye a foothold in the charts. Jonas Blue and Jax Jones’ feature films took her to the charts, while diluting her origins. It didn’t seem to last, however. Just look at last year’s mini album “Euphoric Sad Songs”: the first single “Love Me Again” was remixed with Jess Glynne in the lead, but failed to land the Top 40; his song ‘Secrets’ climbed the charts, but in large part thanks to the involvement of TikTok’s famous Gaze.
Since 2016, Raye has released two Polydor EPs, a special EP for the French streaming platform Deezer, and two separate versions of ‘Euphoric Sad Songs’. Raye’s accusation that the label doesn’t know which box to put it in probably holds up – they’ve tried several times to break it on their terms.
But that’s his problem: they are their terms, not his. Raye’s abilities as a writer were never in question – she was even nominated for a BRIT Award at the start of the year, testimony of the intact capacities at its disposal. She even learned production herself during the lockdown – barely 2% of producers working in the music industry today are women. Yet she remains trapped in this purgatory position, where she earns too much money for the label to sever ties, but not enough for them to truly support her.
As Raye says, she is “tired of being asleep.” Yet it goes further than that. Raye’s story illustrates the reductive way in which female artists are treated by the industry as a whole. There are only a small number of boxes that the industry is willing to put them in – if an artist doesn’t fit easily into those boxes, then there’s a problem.
With his posts going viral, Raye opened a crucial conversation about how the industry works. Shura tweeted his support, but also took the time to point out that this is not just an independent versus major argument. She wrote: “It’s no secret that the majors suck, but absolutely not to say that independents are the answer. Independent labels are just as capable of sucking big. if you can afford to make an unlabeled record, do it. Not everyone (including me) can.
it’s no secret that the majors suck, but absolutely no to anyone who says independents are the answer. independent labels are just as capable of sucking big. if you can afford to make an unlabeled record, do it. not everyone (including me) can.
– shura (@shura) June 30, 2021
There is a lack of independence inherent in pop artists; the super-structures needed to create a pop artist – like in the Top 10 – require a huge team. But you also need a clear vision, which puts the artist’s desires at the center. Raye clearly feels like she is not being heard, that there is a mismatch between her hopes, dreams and ambitions, and the arc that her career – her art – has taken.
Re-establishing that connection with her fans, taking control of the narrative that surrounds her own life, must have been something that must have been revealing for her. As Raye says, “Sometimes we don’t speak out of fear, we stay silent. I’m really glad I spoke today. Regardless of the tmrw consequences, today you made me feel heard.
Raye’s tears should be a wake-up call for an industry that ignores these women at their peril.
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