Quick Chat With…Cilla Raie

I have to confess…CILLA RAIE has got to be one of my top three favourite singers right now. Her latest EP ‘Reconnected’ has definitely got me jumping out my seat, so it’s an absolute pleasure to catch up with the North Londoner to talk about her six-track set.

NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How is 2021 treating you so far?

CR: Thank you for having me. 2021 has been the best year for me so far career wise. I have been extremely busier than ever and so much has happened in a short space of time from having backing from Arts England/National Lottery which enabled me to release two singles ‘Motives’ and ‘Open for Love’ Ft Tiffany Evans. Including my debut EP ‘Reconnected’. I’ve now just gotten support from Help Musicians/MOBO to put together another project, so its been up and onwards from the start of the year.

NLM: You released your EP, ‘Reconnected back in August. What is the public perception on the project so far?

CR: Honestly the reception has been AMAZING! the EP reached number 2 on the UK R&B/Soul Albums chart on Itunes just behind Amy Winehouse’s album and before The Weekend’s album. Never ever in a million years did I think I could achieve that. We did something special for it and sent out gift packs to everyone who has supported. All the tastemakers at BBC 1xtra, BBC Radio London, MTV, Wonderland, Earmilk, Trace Urban etc all showed love. Most importantly I have an amazing fan base who are constantly streaming, sharing, posting, showing love. I feel blessed.

NLM: How would you describe the EP’s sound to potential fans?

CR: The sound of the EP is nostalgic late 90’s/early 2000’s era, I wanted to bring back that old school feel as far as the production went. That era of music was and still is one of my favourite eras so I wanted to bring that element back within UK R&B and just vibe out.

NLM: What inspired you to produce the EP?

CR: The EP was actually a long time in the making, I had taken a break for 2 years when I had my child in 2017, before this I was actually in the studio 24/7 making the new EP. I created a journey of events that happened before, during and after that period of time. I wanted to convey those series of events on ‘Reconnected’ hence why I named the EP this, as it represents being reconnected back to my passion of music, after being away for so long and loosing all hope. Once Arts England/National Lottery stepped in I knew it was the perfect time to put everything together as I has the freedom to do so.

NLM: What is/are your favourite single(s) from the EP and why?

CR: U & I ft Subten is my favourite song, at the moment on the EP. I am literally always changing my mind depending on the mood and season. But I love everything melodic about the song, the harmonies, the rhythmic changes, the switch up on Subtens verse. Again it’s another throwback feel track that makes you feel good.

NLM: What message would you like the listeners to take away from your EP?

CR: The message I want listeners to take away is that, no matter how disconnected you may feel at points in your life. Always remember everything is temporary and you can always ignite the flame back to your true self and your desires.

NLM: If you had to feature one mainstream artist on the EP, who would it be and why?

CR: One mainstream artist I really want to work with and who I have grown to love over this past year is Shenseea. I truly admire here and she is so versatile so I would have her on the EP to bring in her flavours. I love seeing female artists working together too and just breaking barriers. I worked with Tiffany so working with another female artist would be great and to crossover into another market too.

NLM: Do you have other project(s) for 2021?

CR: Now that I have just released my project in August, I am currently actively preparing for my 2022 EP. I have an amazing single that I’m planning the creative process for and it will most likely be out in Jan/Feb. So my main focus for the rest of the year is just completing this project and recording the rest of the songs.

NLM: How can potential fans find you?

CR: You can find me all over social media:
https://www.cillaraie.com
https://www.twitter.com/cillaraie
https://www.instagram.com/cillaraie
https://www.facebook.com/itscillaraie
https://www.youtube.com/cillaraietv

Finally, any special shout outs to those involved in the production of ‘Reconnected’?

CR: There’s so many people involved in this project that I would like to shoutout. All the producers Peddy Pro, XVR Blck who spent hours mixing and recording with me, Serk Lelabo, Walter Ego, Joey Dyer. The artists Subten and Tiffany Evans. Those involved with the singles from the EP and the EP itself, Liberty Music, Wardah, Now Listen, Exkluse Media, Supreme Runners, Kofi at Yellow Fish. The list goes on thank you all SO much for making this a dream come true.

Check Out Cilla Raie’s EP, ‘Reconnected’ right HERE

Song of the Day: HUDDS UP – Pharaoh Got1

Continuing the success of local shows and support from this hometown Huddersfield, PHARAOH GOT1 returns with a release paying homage to the people and the place he resides.

‘HUDDS UP’ is a long drive banger, that is versatile enough to be played in any setting, thanks to its instantly enticing hook and party-charged adlibs

Why not check out the boundary-pushing video below, brought together by the collaboration of Tonia Victoria and GRIT Multimedia.

J Appiah Finds Sanity After Chaos With Single, ‘Breathe’

With tastemaker sites such as Complex, Clash and Line of Best Fit all shouting about previous releases and picking up support across BBC 1Xtra and BBC Introducing, Hackney born singer songwriter J APPIAH returns with ‘Breathe’, out today (October 15th) via his own label 19fifty7.

Already staking out his corner of the industry as a highly sought-after vocalist working with the likes of Jess Glynne, Madonna, Michael Kiwanuka, Footsie and Stormzy, J Appiah continues on his genre-defying path, proving himself as a musician in his own right. Genre hopping, and constantly remaking himself artistically, all his work is the sense of an artist true to himself and his feelings. Melancholic and stoic in tone and inspired by an eclectic range of artists, from Bill Withers to Blur, Grime to Soul, Appiah’s music conveys to us what it is to feel alive and human in the world.

Eerie beautiful strings foreshadow the dark bass hook, ‘Breathe’ is minimalist – claustrophobic even – but driven along by its fierce tunnelling groove. J’s stacked vocals give the song much of its atmosphere, recalling the playful vocal production style of Kanye West’s work in its demonstration that the best instrument is the human voice. Lyrically, ‘Breathe’ outlines the struggle not to not fragment under the multitude of stresses that life brings. Through its slick writing and the raw emotiveness of J’s performance, ‘Breathe’ is Appiah pushing his singer/songwriter skillset.

Ever more timely at this stage in the pandemic, a track we can all find a connection too – a reminder to take a minute and Breathe. Check it out below…

Ray Alex Shares A Heavenly Blend Of Jazz And Soulful R&B With New Single, ‘Synchronise To Your Rhythm’

North London’s multi-instrumentalist RAY ALEX, explores themes of telepathy, lust and psychedelics in sensual single ‘Synchronise To Your Rhythm’.

Having been named in Audiomack’s ‘Best of Britain’ list two months running, and after collaborating with Julia Romana (Duckwrth/GLAM) and LA’s Sydney Jane, who has turned the heads of Disclosure and MJ Cole, Ray continues to push boundaries in UK R&B.

‘Synchronise To Your Rhythm’ details a sultry evening on a psychedelic journey with a lover in Rotterdam, drawing influences from the early 80s and early 90s funk with a modern, jazzy R&B feel. Ray Alex presents a hazy vignette packed with chopped up guitar samples, a neck-jarring beat and a chilling, wispy falsetto that unravels memories of a long distance spiritual connection magnetised by telepathic dreams, LSD and lust.

Ray’s smooth offering follows his previous single ‘Erased’ which received frequent airplay on Soho Radio and Amazing Radio and was featured on Clash Magazine, First World Records and Souletiquette playlists.

‘Synchronise To Your Rhythm’ is the second release from Ray’s self-produced EP, ‘Good To Me’, slated for release in November…but for now wrap your ears around this beauty…

Song of the Day: Wide Awake – Emily Molloy

A firm fixture in the indie music community of the West Coast, Canadian artist EMILY MOLLOY has created a rather raw, emotive-packed piece, coming in the shape of single, ‘Wide Awake’, taking from her latest EP, ‘Catastrophes.’

Written in under an hour, Molloy was emboldened by a break-up experienced by award-winning director Angie Nolan. Finding perspective through Nolan’s pain, Molloy packs each emotional punch with her raspy, full-bodied vox; each resolve in the lyrics a little more hurt than the last until she scales the note so hard in the bridge, you can feel in your soul the shattering of her heart. Molloy perfectly embodies a wailing wall of sorrow and sadness in one fell swoop.

After writing ‘Wide Awake’, I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wait…I’m not going through this myself, but Angie is,’” she recalls. “I realised I had written the song about her, and from her perspective, but that we can all relate.”

Enlisting recording engineer Eric Mosher at the Warehouse Studios in 2020, Molloy quickly realized that “Wide Awake” was the stand-out track on her latest EP. “This is my most vulnerable song recorded to date, and I knew I needed a video that would fully capture the story and emotion expressed. The song turned out more beautifully stunning in the studio than I could ever hoped for, and it screamed for its visual equal.”

Here’s your chance to check out the video for Emily’s emotive, guitar-led offering below…