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Five things to know about… Raye

On song: Brit-nominated Raye has written for the likes of Little Mix and John Legend

The lowdown on the 20-year-old singer-songwriter

1. She wrote her first song when she was eight.

‘I walked past a homeless person and then went home and wrote a song about it. I remember my dad helping me out with the chords on the piano. I’d like to write about more social issues now but you need to have your facts right first. But speaking about things that are on my mind is really important — I’ve written deep songs about personal experiences.’

2. She writes for people including Little Mix and John Legend.

‘I’ve written a song for [US singer] Madison Beer, which recently went top 20 in the States, which is great. Writing for other people is different to writing for myself. When I help other people, it’s often about their story and their journey while the songs I write for myself are very personal to me. I like linking up with someone and encouraging them to write from a real place and dig deep — it makes for good, honest music. And it varies: I wrote in the room with John Legend. With other people, you write to a brief and they’ll give you ideas about the sort of thing they want.’

3. She went to the BRIT performing arts school.

‘I heard about it when I was ten and I said, “Dad, I’ve just found out about this school on the internet and I have to go”. I knew I had to get to grade five on the piano to better my chances. It took me a couple of years because I could only play by ear to begin with but if you want something bad enough, you have to go and get it. My audition piece was a slowed-down version of Ella Fitzgerald’s Summertime.’

Collaboration: Raye with Jax Jones

4. You Don’t Know Me, her single with Jax Jones, was nominated for a Brit Award but didn’t win.

‘I had a very nice time [at the awards]. There was lots of free alcohol. I was with Ellie Goulding all night and we laughed our heads off. We’ve written together a lot. When you have a loss it motivates you to want to win more. Being acknowledged in the first place was crazy. It just means I’ll have to come back twice as hard next year. I won’t give up until I have one.’

5. She has loads of shoes.

‘I’ve had a partnership with Converse, which has been incredible. I had big posters up all over London. They send me the latest shoe. I’ve just had a declutter as I had 30 pairs piled up. I gave some to my sisters, who are the same shoe size, and took the rest to the local charity shop.’

Raye is on tour from tonight until November 8,