Interview – Nicole Rayy

Nicole Rayy has much to celebrate these days with the release of her single and video for “Sad Song” and in this interview, we learn about all she has accomplished in this past year as well as another side of “the rocker who loves to dance around all crazy on the stage.”

Canadian country artists are hitting the ground running in 2021 and Nicole Rayy is in it to win it. Although, 2020 was a marathon for her as well and she accomplished so much. Rayy has amassed over 800K Spotify streams to date, her recent single “Broken Boys” has garnered over 340K Spotify streams and 35.7K YouTube views; she has a social footprint of over 26K followers and

Rayy’s cover of “Best Shot” received over 5.6K impressions on TikTok. She’s been a regular at Stories, Songs & Six Strings hosted by In the Country with Dave Woods, as well as hosting many live streams of her own. 2020 had her releasing her album All Woman (a stunning collection of songs that traverse borders and {at times} genres), garnering a CMA Ontario nomination in the Female Artist of the Year category and performing at the Awards Show.

Also in 2020, Nicole Rayy did a lot to help empower female artists. She created her online platform, All Woman Music, to give more opportunity for females in music to perform and that included her other live streams (The Women of Country and #GirlTalkSessions). Rayy also created an all-female festival called HarmoniaFest. Her album’s title track “All Woman” an empowered feminist anthem, led Rayy to a collaboration video featuring ten rising female artists in Canadian country music. Simply … WOW!

On February 26, Rayy released her newest single “Sad Song” to all digital platforms and on March 10, the video for it was released. I caught up with Nic via email, much to my delight, about “Sad Song” and much more. Check out our questions and her answers. She has some very thought-provoking answers.

Let’s do a quick few questions about your single “Sad Song” …

In a previous Canadian Beats feature, I described it as “losing someone you love sucks, but having a special song to help get you through the pain can be just what you need.” With that being said, your vocals are phenomenal and I can feel all the feels as I listen to it.

It’s a really tough time for artists right now. Usually, when recording in a studio together, you can feed off each other’s energy and good vibes; make the necessary changes that come along with that. Were you able to get into a studio to record “Sad Song” or was it done remotely? How did personally feel when all was said and done?

I was lucky I was able to record Sad Song last year right before the first lockdown. I was happy to work with Brian Howes once again on the recording of this song. I did have the opportunity to record my vocals for this song a little differently than most songs I’ve recorded. Typically, when artists are recording their vocals, they sing sections of the song at a time. For example, verse one. You would record verse one over and over until you like it and then you would move on to another section of the song. For “Sad Song,” Brian felt we could better capture the emotion of the song by singing it all the way through several times. I love the way the emotions rise as you listen further into the song. I don’t think we would have been able to capture the emotion in this way had we recorded the vocals in the usual manner.

Can you tell us how this song came about and what it means to you?

This is a song I was very fortunate to have pitched to me. It is one I think most everyone can relate to. We all love a good sad song, I know I do, when we are sad because it understands us and makes us feel less alone. Sometimes we just like listening to a sad song because we need a good cry. This song embodies that feeling. It explains why there is no better medicine when we are sad than a sad song.

Who wrote “Sad Song” and who produced it?

Some incredibly talented people, Emma Lee, Karen Kosowski and Jordan Depaul, wrote it. I think they wrote an amazing song, which is why it resonated with me the first time I heard it and I know it will resonate with so many others. Brian Howes and Jason Van Peoderooyen, who I have worked with on my last several singles, produced it.

What do you hope listeners will take away from this single?

It’s relate-ability. The best part about music for me is that it unites us; it is a universal language. Everyone can feel understood when they are listening to a song that speaks to something they have gone through. This song describes that feeling so well. It is the ultimate explanation of why we all love sad songs. I always want my singles to impact people’s lives, even if it is just in some tiny way. I think songs that are honest, that people can relate to, have the most impact and I know people will relate to this song.

Download or stream “Sad Song” here.

Onto the video … I love it! It’s so poignant and we see you in a very different light. You show more vulnerability than ever before and that in itself is so inspiring.

Tell us a bit about the concept for “Sad Song.” What inspired you?

I wanted to capture visually how this song makes me feel when I listen to it. When I hear “Sad Song,” I picture the rain and a vinyl record spinning and this imagery was the main inspiration behind the video.

A lot of the scenes in the video focus on the activities we do when we are sad, like watching a movie, drinking wine, eating snacks. All of that part of the filming was really fun as I got to sit around in my sweats eating junk food. But I of course also wanted to have rain in this video, because the song talks about rain and it depicts the feeling of sadness so well.

Where was the video shot and who produced it?

This video was shot at my mom and dad’s house. They have a beautiful home and it made the perfect backdrop for this video. I was happy to work with Tim Deegan and Leah Daniels once again on this music video; they did a fantastic job as always!

What was the most special highlight for you in making this video and what did you discover about yourself during this creative process, especially with all that’s going on with this pandemic?

I think the biggest takeaway is that even if your vision for a project is very big you can make it work with what you’ve got. Especially during these times, it has been more difficult to create in the same way, so you have to think outside the box on how to make your vision come to life. I wanted a big dramatic rain scene for this video, but of course, it is hard to rely on the weather to cooperate on filming day. So, to create the scene I had to stand outside in plus one-degree (Celsius) weather while someone shot cold water on me from a garden hose – ha-ha. It was well worth being chilly though seeing how the video turned out!

What have you learned in the making of “Sad Song” that you’ll be able to hold onto for future projects?

I am excited to share another side to my voice as an artist with this song. I was able to dig into a more emotional and softer side to my voice when recording “Sad Song” and I am looking forward to sharing that with my fans. I think sometimes as artists there can be pressure to define yourself completely by one genre, but as artists, we are always changing and growing and have different sides of our voice that add up to making us uniquely us. I’ve learned I don’t want to be afraid to share any of those sides; I want my fans to know the softer emotional side of me along with the rocker who loves to dance around all crazy on the stage.

Watch the video for “Sad Song” here.

Let’s end on a personal note; a quick little end of 2020 and start of 2021 Q&A …

What important takeaways have you come out of 2020 and going into 2021 with?

I’ve learned that you can never wait for opportunity. I used to think that if you worked really hard and earned it that eventually opportunities would show up, but that isn’t always the case. I have stopped waiting for opportunities and starting creating them for myself.

This mindset change has led me to some of my most meaningful career highlights. One of my favourites happened last year when I created my all-female drive-in festival, HarmoniaFest. I put my whole heart and soul into that project. I was determined to create an experience that gave more opportunity to women. Being able to pull it off and stand side by side on that stage with some incredible women was a moment I will never forget.

On a more personal note, I learned that it is okay to take more time for me. Being self-employed it can be hard to take breaks because you feel like you need to be constantly working on your business. But I am learning to not feel guilty when I need to take a break away from work. It is so important for mental health to take time for self-care.

In your personal life, what are your Top 3 “for me alone” things to do or things to try to make your Top 3 this year?

I am definitely working towards some more me time in my life. My favourite things to do for me alone are working out and taking a bath. I find it is so important for my mental health to move my body every day, and also to counteract the soreness I get from working out I love making time for a nice hot bath. One more thing I am working on for me this year is self-affirmation. I am trying to make time each day to stop and talk to myself and affirm the positive things I want for myself and my life.

What are the biggest goals you hope to accomplish in 2021?

I have a few goals I am working towards in 2021. I am working to release more music! It has obviously been more difficult to record due to the pandemic but I have plans in the works to record more new music with Brian Howes this year and work towards a new EP. Other than working on new music I am also working on more performance opportunities for women. I will be continuing my live streaming show “All Woman Music” this year. Fans can tune in once a month on my Facebook page to enjoy live original music from all-female lineups. In 2020, I also put on an all-female drive-in festival called HarmoniaFest and I am currently working on plans for another in 2021.

What advice do you want to give female artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

I think the biggest advice I could give to emerging female artists is stay true to you. Take time to figure out whom you are and what you want to say as an artist. It has always been important to me that during the creation of my music that I am as honest and as real as possible. But with the social media world live in it can be so easy to get distracted by what others are doing. We can feel we have to alter our path or our creativity because of what other artists are doing. I’ve learned you have to block that out and focus on what you are doing as an artist. Being uniquely you is your superpower, so use it!

And, last but not least, what message would you like to offer out to your fans and followers to help get them through these trying times?

Empowerment! I am a big advocate for women’s empowerment of course, but I want to spread empowerment to all. In the social media world, we live in it is so easy to compare ourselves to others 24/7. Especially right now with so much time been spent at home alone scrolling through our phones. I am guilty of doing it, but I finally stopped feeling guilty about loving and caring for myself and starting working on blocking out what other people are doing. It’s an on-going process of course, but it’s a journey we all deserve to take. I want everyone to feel their strongest, more confident selves. I hope everyone can take some time for themselves right now and do things that make them feel worthy and empowered.

It’s my belief that Nicole Rayy is an artist on the rise. As many of you know, she has been on my radar for the past few years, and with the 2020 she’s had and the 2021 she’s going to have, she should be 100% on your radar.

We, at Canadianbeats.ca, thank you Nic so much for taking the time for this interview. We wish you much success with “Sad Song,” in helping to empower other females and all your future endeavours. It looks like 2021 will be a “no holds barred” year for you and I can’t wait to see what this year brings your way.

Connect with Nicole Rayy:
Website
Facebook
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