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Rae Morris: Clarity, Tour Identity And The Unique Loveliness Of 'Unguarded'

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 Written by Milly McMahon

Singing with wisdom and maturity about her complex understanding of self, discovered through real life and loves, Rae Morris reflects a unique loveliness.

Her melancholy, melodic songs are penned in order to establish a deeper bond with people. She peers into the camera throughout her music videos and communicates directly with her audiences on stage. Her lyrics poetically weave together memories, poignant moments and personal thoughts like a sketchbook long kept secret and disclosed only for the sake of her art.

Her debut album, ‘Unguarded’, was released earlier this year and recounts the tumultuous tides of teenage life and her growth from a girl to a woman. It is indicative of an artist who has lived and loved long enough to understand that each moment gives rise to an opportunity to create.

Morris chats enthusiastically while recording material off the back of her album in a London studio, quick to apologise for any minor offence she might have caused and eager to talk down any ideas of being an established artist.

She is more content with the idea of normality and the one thing that resonates most significantly is how special the honesty and emotion in her music feels. Making connections, from one human being to another, allows the world to turn on its axis so it may start each day with a brighter beginning than before.

Does touring alter your feelings of identity or confidence?

You have to have a completely different mindset when you're on tour. After the festival season it was quite a difficult thing to get back into touring and doing the headline shows. We had been backwards and forwards so much with the festivals. You really do become part of a group and you are just one individual in a team of people. Your identity changes and you become part of a bigger picture with this mission that you are on to complete this run of things. It's an interesting concept but it takes a few days to get your head around it.

You’ve played support to Tom Odell and George Ezra in the past, how did those experiences shape your own approach to performing live?

Those tours were very interesting because the audiences were very different on the George Ezra tour to my own. The audiences that come to my shows are a much younger crowd, so those experiences are great because you get put in front of people who might not have known your music or been exposed to you. Those support slots shape your confidence and allow you the tools to capture people and win them over, but it’s less about being yourself and more about reaching your audiences.

Do you engage with feedback from fans directly? What has been the most moving communication you have had from someone with regards to the music?

Recently quite a few things have stood out to me. The Coppafeel campaign took me by surprise because I didn’t realise the impact something like that would have upon people. I was reading the YouTube comments on the video. There were so many people who said: ‘I found a lump in my boob and went to check it out because of this video and now I’m being treated because it was early stage.’ The platform we have as an artist is important.

You spent three months in LA working on the album with Ariel Rechtshaid. Why did you decide to trust and work with him over any other producer?

I'd been working with a lot of people before him and I had an idea of the level that I wanted the album to progress to. All the songs were there. We didn’t actually write anything together, it was just the production. When I met him I just knew instantly he was the right person to do it. I think it felt right to be in LA to just get away from where I’m from and reflect and look back and be able to have a bit of distance in order to have clarity.

Did the two of you establish a relationship before you hit the studio or was your understanding of each other something that developed more as you worked together?

I went out there originally just to meet him for a week and that was our first meeting and then I came home to London and then went back out again, so I had met him previously. I was there for so long that we actually had a couple of weeks before we got into the studio pre-production and were just hanging out. It’s a strange thing, I didn’t really know him that well and to be in such an intense environment with someone you don’t know is quite a bizarre experience. We got on so well so naturally and now he’s a very important person to me.

Of all the tracks on the album, which one do you think reveals your truest character and which one represents your talents at their finest?

Morne Fortuné is the one that I’m most proud of. I feel able to say that song represents exactly who I am. It reveals my true character. I did most of the programming for that, for the first time using Logic and producing most of the sounds and Ariel finished it. That was a big deal for me, to have my first go at doing production. It's about my family and feeling very fortunate. I feel the most proud of that track.

Now you are developing production skills do you think you would like to experiment with that a bit more independently?

Definitely, I think I would like to try that a lot more. I'm writing more at the computer and thinking about the production before it happens. But then I am not sure how good at it I am so I think I’ll try not to spend too much time on that. I have some very talented friends who are very good at production so I think it’s best to leave it to them. But I will keep trying.

I read in an interview previously you are a big Jon Hopkins fan. Has he reached out to you yet?

I've never met him but I would so love to. I’m hoping that one day I might just bump into him. I might just confess my undying love.

Are you keen to provide guest vocals to an electronic track in the future?

It's obviously got to be right. I’ve done a few collaborations with people in the past and they’ve all had to feel very natural and come about the right situation. It's very important to not just sing something because it’s there and it’s an opportunity. It has to be an emotional connection. It has to be something that you enjoy with someone you respect. That’s been one of the coolest things I could ask to be part of because I never thought I would get to appear on a track like that. I’m open to anything if I really feel it.

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