Interview – Nicole Rayy

Our Nanci Dagg catches up with Nicole Rayy to chat about her video for “Feels Like Yesterday” and her upcoming annual all-female festival, HarmoniaFest

Ontario native and the biggest supporter of empowerment for female artists, Nicole Rayy has released her video for her chart-smashing single “Feels Like Yesterday.”

Rayy is also the one that gives female artists the opportunity to perform, whether it’s through her online platform, her All Women Music shows (back at The Moonshine Café) to creating her annual all-female festival called HarmoniaFest at Brooks Farm on Saturday, September 11 this year (have you bought your tickets yet? The link is below if you haven’t).

Rapidly growing her name in the country music industry, Nicole Rayy has amassed over a million catalogue streams to date, with her smash 2020 single “Broken Boys” racking in over 500K streams alone. She’s finding her music places across popular playlists like Spotify’s New Music Nashville and Live Country, as well as Amazon Music’s Breakthrough Country and Certified Country.

I caught up with Nic, via email, to chat about her video for “Feels Like Yesterday” released on September 8. And HarmoniaFest. I know you’ll really enjoy what Nic has to say.

Let’s chat with Nic about the video. I love everything about it … the hair, the make-up, the clothes, the references to the 1990s, all the nostalgia that comes from all of this and the pure joy to brings me. Rayy’s vocals remind me of Britney Spears in this video, especially Spears’s single “Baby One More Time.”

On the video, Rayy shares,

“This is the most fun I’ve ever had creating a music video! I wanted it to pay tribute to all the wonderful trends of my childhood, and Aj (Roadhouse Productions) really brought my vision to life. From lava lamps, to frosted tips to Britney Spears this video is a love letter to the dial-up generation. I hope you are ready to be transported back in time because it will definitely have you feeling like you’re living in the 1990s again.”

How did this video come together, including the concept, how you chose where to shoot it and what inspired you?

I knew I wanted the whole video to be a tribute to the amazing trends and fashions of the ’90s. As soon as I wrote the song, I imagined a big ’90s party as part of the music video. When I called up Aj from Roadhouse Productions we were both super excited and full of ideas we wanted to include. It was Aj’s idea to pay tribute to the music videos of the ’90s including our remake of Britney Spears’s “Baby One More Time.” I want people to feel pure nostalgia when they watch the video and what better way to achieve that than paying tribute to an iconic ’90s music video.

What was it like to work with Roadhouse Productions on the making of the video?

Amazing! This was my first time working with Roadhouse Productions and it was an absolute pleasure. Aj was so enthusiastic from start to finish on this project. Sometimes it can feel awkward working with a new videographer or photographer until you are comfortable with them, but Aj made me feel at ease the whole time. He is incredibly talented at what he does and I hope to work together on another project soon!

Can you tell us about what the song and video mean to you, or what you hope people take away from it?

As I am turning 30 soon this song is like a love letter to my childhood. I have been feeling very nostalgic lately and I really wanted to channel that into a fun song. I hope that whether you were born in the ’90s or living your teenage years then that this song takes you back in time to some fond memories in your life.

What can you tell us about the recording process behind the video? About the people in the video? How you found the props?

It was a fun set to be on! All of us got to enjoy all the throwback props, fashion, candy and games from our childhoods. It was honestly a genuine throwback party. I have amazing friends who volunteered their time to be in it. They are huge supporters of my music and are always there to give their support. I was even lucky to have my friends and fellow female country singers, Paige Rutledge and Maddie Corinne (both on this year’s HarmoniaFest lineup) in the video.

A lot of the props I bought from Amazon and the Dollar Store but I also got lucky that my mom had a lot of my ’90s items still in her basement, including mix CDs, Bop-It, my Pokémon cards and lava lamp.

By watching the video, it looks like all of you had a blast. Do you have any fun stories to tell us about in the making of “Feels Like Yesterday” and what was the most special highlight for you?

I think the most special part to me was how much my friends jumped in to be a part of this video. I wanted the ’90s feel to be just right which meant some wacky fashion choices and weird hairstyles and facial hair. The boys especially went over the top to make their looks perfect. My friend Steve actually frosted his tips for REAL! 😀 And yes, his hair is still like that to this day haha.

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

The biggest takeaway for me from this project is how important it is to trust my instincts and vision. I had a very clear vision for how I wanted to express this song visually and who I wanted to work with to make it happen. It’s easy to get caught up sometimes and worry about what you are “supposed to do” as an artist. But this project was so genuinely me and it felt really good to express that the way I wanted.

Reminiscing about our youth means different things to different people. Those memories could be great or bad. The video shows a fun side to your youth. How did personally feel when this video was finally put to bed?

Well, I am certainly lucky to have many fond and fun memories from my youth. I did have my challenges too growing up, but I wanted this video to be a celebration of the good times. Especially looking back on it now I am just really thankful for the things those of us growing up in the ’90s had. Like, not having cell phones and having to make a plan ahead and then go and meet our friends at the agreed upon spot. I think so many things like that really shaped me into the person I am today. I hope that those watching can reminisce on the positive and fun parts of their youth, too.

Stream or download “Feels Like Yesterday” here.

On a final note (and I think a great way to end this interview), tell us a bit about HarmoniaFest that is happening in a few days – on Saturday, September 8, to be exact.

HarmoniaFest is an all-female country music festival that I created last year to give more opportunities to women in country music. I am so excited to have another amazing lineup for HarmoniaFest this year including Mackenzie Leigh Meyer, Jessie T, Jessica Sole, Jess & Tay, Paige Rutledge and Maddie Corinne. I was nervous putting this festival together last year, but the fans showed up and we had such support so I knew I had to have HarmoniaFest return this year. I am so grateful for my partnership with Brooks Farms, the perfect setting for this event and I can’t wait for another day filled with female empowerment and girl power!

Tickets for Harmoniafest can be purchased here.

We, at Canadian Beats, thank you Nic so much for taking the time for this interview. You know how much you personally mean to me and these interviews are always our time to catch up, in a professional way. We wish you much success with “Feels Like Yesterday,” in helping to empower other female artists and all your future endeavours. It looks like 2021 has been a “no holds barred” year for you and I can’t wait to see what more the future brings your way.

Connect with Nicole Rayy:

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