Ray Blk Announced As Main Support On Emeli Sande UK Sold-Out Tour
Since performing at our Breakout in 2015, Ray BLK has gone on to win the BBC Sound of 2017 poll, making it far too early to know whether the south London singer/rapper will have the muted impact of previous winner Jack Garratt or achieve the whizz-bang ubiquity of Adele and Sam Smith.
Ray BLK, the 23-year-old from Catford- London came top of the BBC’s annual critics’ poll and has been trying to fathom what it all means since. “I was so, so shocked but I’m very excited. It’s very humbling, and rewarding too,” she tells me. “Every time people mention the past winners, it blows me away. These are really hugely successful people, so to say my name alongside theirs… honestly, it just confuses me.”
It’s hard to remember that stars such as Adele, Jessie J, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith weren’t so well-known at the point when they topped the BBC Sound of… list, a generally reliable annual survey meant to identify the success stories of the year to come. Even so, BLK still seems particularly fresh out of the box.
She’s the first winner who is still unsigned to a record label but says that’s through choice rather than lack of interest. “I do feel like I’m still at an early stage, so I want to keep growing and learn more about myself and what path I want to take,” she says. “The thing with signing a label deal is, people start to mould you. I think it’s important for me to mould myself into my own shape before I get to that point.”
She’s not exactly a DIY success operating out of her south London bedroom, however. She’s had a manager since mid-2015, has a publicist who set up this interview and speaks at several points about her “team”. But she’s still so new that I embarrass myself right from the off by mispronouncing her stage name.
At a time when there’s almost an embarrassment of Brit female R&B riches – see also Raye, Jorja Smith and Cosima – the ones who surge ahead will be those who offer not just empowerment soundbites but evidence that knowing your worth pays off.