After the massive, slow-burning success of Corinne Bailey Rae in 2006, there is no denying the singer’s influence on the current crop of British chanteuses. As the recipient of GRAMMY nominations for “Best New Artist,” “Song of the Year,” “Record of the Year” and “Album of the Year,” she blazed a musical trail in America that has been well-traveled by several of her contemporaries: Amy Winehouse (2008), Adele (2009) and Estelle (2009), in particular.
Four years later, with international sales hovering above four million, Corinne Bailey Rae has returned to the music scene with her sophomore project, The Sea. In support of the album, Corinne will begin her North American Tour in Los Angeles, California, on April 6, 2010. [The complete tour schedule has been appended at the end of this feature.]
Upon the release of The Sea, Corinne Bailey Rae managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on her recording experience at Limefield Studios, her classical music background and her love of “the blues.”
On your sophomore project, not only did you write all the songs, but you also co-produced all of the music. What compelled you to take complete ownership of the songwriting process?
For as long as I can remember, that had been my experience of writing music. My first experience of writing songs with other people was writing for the debut album. But before that, I had always written songs on my own for my band, and just sort of around the house and for my own enjoyment.
So, with this record, I really wanted to sort of get back to that. I learned a lot from working with other people and developed through that experience. So, this time, I really wanted to write on my own, because I wanted this music to be about self-expression. And I think no one can express what you’re trying to say better than yourself.
When you compare the songs from your first album against your second, is there a certain facet of your songwriting style that you think you have really improved?
I think the songs on this record are more honest and I think they’re freer. I think I’ve been less conscious of what other people are going to think of them. So that is one of the important things, I think, in being an artist. It just remains what you want to say and how you want to say it, rather than thinking of how other people will respond to it. I think that’s definitely something that I feel I have learned. I feel like that’s brought me a lot of freedom, and helped me to do this project in a way that was sort of looser, more open.