Corinne Bailey Rae © KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Corinne Bailey Rae

PHOTOS

Earlier this year, when British songstress Corinne Bailey Rae released her debut album, Billboard wrote “a debut recording as fine as this one deserves immediate attention.” And the world has listened. Bailey Rae became the fourth female act in history to have her first album debut at number one on the British charts, it’s reached the Top 20 in the United States and her song “Put Your Records On” is assured a position on critic and fan lists of top songs of the year.

Corinne Bailey Rae studied classical violin as a child in Leeds, England, but her love for Led Zeppelin soon got in the way. By the time she was 15, Bailey Rae formed an indie rock band named Helen. After that band ended, she went to Leeds University and began working at a local jazz club, where she refined her singing skills. She worked with several musicians on their CDs and finally recorded one of her own. “It’s a little bit of everything,” she said. “It’s chilled out, acoustic, kooky, atmospheric and soulful. I’d also be tempted to say it comes from a very organic place, but that would sound pretentious, so I won’t.”

Critics find this neo-soul singer-songwriter’s self-titled debut anything but pretentious. The Los Angeles Times writes that Bailey Ray is “blending pop-R&B, jazz, trip-hop and vintage disco flavors into sophisticated, sexy numbers with the lush tranquillity of Sade and the earthy polish of ’70s-era Stevie Wonder.”

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