RAYE on her experience in the music industry: “Some people abuse their power and the effects of that can be crippling”

RAYE has opened up about her experience of abuse of power in the music industry, calling the effects “crippling”.

In a snippet of an upcoming interview with Louis Theroux, the singer delved into what it has taken to release her debut album, ‘My 21st Century Blues‘. The interview will be released on November 28.

“When you’re up and coming, when you have a dream and you cross paths with powerful people – some people abuse their power and the effects of that can be crippling,” she said.


As RAYE initially entered her music career, she said she was “so young and so hungry to make my dreams a reality.”

But in 2021, RAYE publically expressed her frustrations at her then-label, Polydor. “I have been on a 4 ALBUM RECORD DEAL since 2014!!!”, she wrote at the time. “And haven’t been allowed to put out one album.” As a result, the singer finally parted ways with the label, and released her debut record independently.

[embedded content]

“It wasn’t at all planned, it was more of a desperate cry to be free,” RAYE said. “It’s so deep, what I’d realised I’d actually been doing to myself as a person, to try and be the somebody that they wanted me to be. It’s so sad.

“At the end of the day it’s a business and I wasn’t selling what [the record label] wanted me to sell.”

RAYE also discussed her song ‘Ice Cream Man’, which she said was about “sexual abuse and rape and sexual violence” in a powerful speech at Glastonbury. The song’s lyrics include lines like: “I was seven, was 21, was 17, and was 11. It took a while to understand what my consent means, if I was ruthless, they’d be in the penitentiary.”


Speaking to Theroux, she said she’ll “completely break down” singing it, saying the song is “my way to be loud in a way that is safe”.

[embedded content]

The singer spoke to NME back in August about navigating the music industry and her journey to being shortlisted (and eventually nominated) for a Mercury Award.

“To be recognised for a body of work is something that I’ve really wanted for a really long time,” she told NME. “It really feels like it’s happening. It really feels like people have taken the time to dig into this album and I know that this shortlist will bring even more ears to people who have never heard it or heard of me.

She advised artists to “keep good people around you” in the music industry, saying: “It is a scary thing, I get it. It’s really important to find people you can trust and people who allow you to be the artist you want to be. That sounds obvious, but it’s actually not.

“When you’re an artist, you’re so vulnerable and susceptible to every opinion. Maybe it will effect how you feel about something you once loved, but you’ve just got to get that noise out and trust your instincts.”

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.