How record-breaking Brit Award nominee Raye dramatically fought former record label
Posted by  badge Boss on Jan 25
Raye is breaking records – but it’s not been smooth sailing for the star (Picture: Rick Kern/WireImage)

Raye’s record label dropped her in 2021. Three years later, and she is breaking records. Here’s how it happened.

The Escapism hitmaker, 26, is recognisable for her gravelly Winehouse-reminiscent voice, and soulful songwriting, for which she’s been nominated for a remarkable seven .

That’s the most Brit nominations received by any artist in a single year in its almost five decade history – but she’s had an arduous journey to the top.

It’s hard to ignore Raye – real name Rachel Agatha Keen – once you’ve listened to any track from her debut album My 21st Century Blues, or if you’ve seen her perform.

But while is may seem Raye has only shot to fame recently, she’s been the genius behind some of the most beloved artists of the past decade.

The Brit School alumni signed to Polydor Records as a teenager, lending her vocals to top hits by David Guetta and Jax Jones and writing lyrics for Beyonce and Rihanna.

She was signed by record label Polydor Records in 2014 (Picture: Sarah Morris/WireImage)
But it was as an independent artist she struck gold (Picture: Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Despite her clear talent, Raye miraculously remained somewhat of an undiscovered gem – except, she was discovered, because she’d signed a four-album deal with Polydor back in 2014. And yet, no one had heard of her.

Ten years later, and it’s only now, since the genre-spanning musician left the label in 2021, that her talents were fully realised.

One question: Why?

Raye claimed in 2021 that Polydor Records prevented her from releasing an album, and three weeks later she was dropped.

In a series of posts to X, formerly Twitter, she wrote: ‘Imagine this pain. I have been signed to a major label since 2014… and I have had albums on albums of music sat in folders collecting dust, songs I am now giving away to A list artists because I am still awaiting confirmation that I am good enough to release an album.’

The Londoner said she had ‘done everything’ they asked her to do, including switching genres and working long weeks.

Raye has been nominated for seven Brit Awards (Picture: Frank Hoensch/Redferns)

‘I’m done being a polite pop star. I want to make my album now, please that is all I want,’ she said.

Less than a month later,she was dropped by the label and emerged as an independent artist.

Then came her critically acclaimed debut album My 21st Century Blues, which is now nominated for the coveted album of the year prize.

She also got two spots in the song of the year category for her viral hit, Escapism, featuring US rapper 070 Shake; and dance track, Prada, with Casso and D-Block Europe.

Raye is also nominated for artist of the year and best new artist as well as best pop act and best R&B act.

This comes after with an unforgettable nine-song set.

After opening the set with Oscar Winning Tears, what followed was an emotional ride.

‘The brilliant thing about being a writer, being a musician is that everything ugly in my life I get to turn into a song,’ she said.

That’s the most amount of nominations for any artist in a single year (Picture: Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Choking up, she reminisced on being eight-years-old, when all she ever wanted was to be a writer, musician, and singer.

‘And I haven’t had the simplest of journeys,’ she explained. ‘I was told that I would never have a fan base big enough for anyone to care about an album, and right now Glastonbury, in front of the Pyramid Stage, I’m performing my album. My debut album. My baby, and my first child.’

She continued to the engrossed crowd: ‘And you know what’s beautiful about this moment is that there’s a lot of stories that I held in silence, and I dealt with a lot of things alone.

‘I dealt with a lot of tough things. You know, that’s just the journey of life, right, and I’m going to bring the mood down just for a second.

Introducing her song Ice Cream Man, she said: ‘This next song is about sexual abuse, and rape, and sexual violence. And I know that’s heavy, okay. But I also know one in four men and women will experience that in their lifetime.

‘So I know that I’m not alone when I sing this today.’

Raye then explained how she sings this song because it makes her feel powerful.   

‘Powerful in a time where I was silent,’ she continued. ‘Powerful in a time I had no voice. A story I waited a long time to tell.’