Today we have a Spotlight – Nicole Rayy – Round 2. Our first time chatting with Nicole we were introduced to her music and learned a little about who she is. This time around we dive a little deeper and get to know more about Nicole and just what drives her. Check out the convo now.
So, last we talked was back in October 2020, so while not much has changed in the world, how are you doing, and how have you grown since then?
I’ve been doing well since we last spoke thank you. I am continuing to build on my support and opportunities for female artists. I have also been doing a lot of writing since our last interview and I am getting ready to record some new music.
Last we spoke ‘Broken Boys” had just dropped, and wow has it exploded in just a few short months. The song is deeply personal but with a universal message, what has the general reception been like?
Amazing! I am blown away by the response to this song. It is now my most-streamed single with over 390k streams on Spotify! More importantly than that, I have received many personal messages from people telling me how this song has connected with them. I hope everyone who can relate to this song takes away from it the importance of putting themselves first. We can’t fix broken people for them and we can’t help people who don’t want our help. I want those listening to remember it isn’t always their responsibility to fix the people they care about and that caring for yourself is important.
Your latest single “Sad Song” just dropped, and the music video comes out shortly. What can you tell us fans about the meaning behind it?
It is one I think most everyone can relate to. We all love a good sad song when we are sad. 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.
Your EP that I got to know you through “All Woman”, was just magical. What was it like writing it?
Thank you so much! All Woman is such a special project to me! It includes 6 songs, 3 of which I recorded with producer Doug Romanow and 3 which I recorded with Brian Howes and Jason Van Poederooyen. I started work on this project over three years ago now while I was working with my manager Janice Starodub.
Janice sadly became sick with breast cancer and lost her battle on New Year’s Eve 2017. After this loss, I was lost and it was difficult to carry on with the project without her. I’m grateful to my new manager Jordyn Elliott who found me at a time when I needed guidance. It was a joy to continue this project with her by my side. Now that the album is complete and released, I am so happy to have an album that really encompasses where I’ve been and where I’m going as an artist.
The writing and recording for two of the songs “Unfinished and “All Woman” were a pretty cool experience. I recorded these songs in BC with Brian Howes and Jason Van Poederooyen. I flew out and we wrote, along with Nolan Sipe, and recorded two songs in two days! The experience pushed me outside my comfort zone in the best way. I didn’t have time to overthink how I wanted to sing the song, I just went in the booth and put my emotions out there.
Follow up, is there anything you would have done differently now that you have had time to sit on it?
Absolutely not. I mean when you sit back and look at your album after it has been released it is so easy to pick things apart, but I have always believed there is no point in dwelling on it. I made the best album that I could and from here I just go up and make even better music.
Personally, I think ‘Unfinished’ was my standout track, what can you tell us about that song specifically, and what was your favorite song off the EP?
I call Unfinished my real-life love story song. It is inspired by the relationship I have with my boyfriend, Damon. We initially met and started dating when we were 18 years old. We were together a little over a year before we went our separate ways. Despite being apart for several years I always had this feeling that our story was unfinished. After 4 years we found our way back into each other’s lives and we are now writing the rest of our story together.
It is hard for me to pick one favourite from the EP, they are all special songs to me for different reasons
You are an incredibly selfless person. No matter how much work you have on your plate; you always take time to raise and support other women in the industry. Where does that come from?
Well, thank you! This industry does a very good job of making us feel isolated or that everyone else is our competitor instead of our ally, especially for women. It has had me fooled before. And I got to this place where I was sick of that feeling. There are so many female artists who inspire me, who I love and I wanted to be part of a community with these artists, not a competition. So, I realized that started with me, I had to extend an olive branch and let others know that I was here to support them. I found so many women felt the same way, and it’s so much more productive and positive for all of us to support each other than compete. I truly believe when one of us succeeds we all do.
All Woman music is an online show you started in 2020 and have done about a dozen of those shows now into 2021. How do those work? Do you reach out to artists, them to you, etc?
Both! I try my best to keep up with when artists have a new release coming out so I can have them on the show to promote it that month. But I am also always open to recommendations for ladies reaching out to me themselves! Babes, if you are reading this and you want to be on the show please send me a message.
I have seen several of the shows. There is something wonderful in watching how comfortable you all are just basking in each other’s energy. What is the main takeaway that you hope people leave with from these shows?
Thank you! I want people to know it’s genuine. We are all there to support each other and cheer each other on because we love to. I also always hope people take away some new artists or music that they love. I know some people attend the show because they are aware of one or two of the artists on the lineup but I always hope they leave loving all five and go support the artists after the show is over.
What is the plan for HarmoniaFest moving forward in 2021?
I can’t reveal any specific plans yet, but I can tell you I am working on having another HarmoniaFest in 2021 and you can expect another amazing all-female lineup!
Spending more time at home than usual, how are your dog and your partner dealing with the new normal?
We have good days and bad. Damon and I have both taken this time to learn new skills and keep ourselves busy. It’s been nice being able to spend more time together. Sometimes I think we both miss me traveling for work, ha-ha. Noko, my dog, is a very social dog, he loves when we have parties at our house, so I think he is tired of the new normal and is ready to get back to seeing other people and playing with his dog friends.
After years of doing these interviews, and now a second one with me, what is one thing you wish that people knew about you that do not get brought up?
Well, it has been a pleasure doing both interviews with you. I appreciate it when someone has done their research on me and asks great questions. Not just for me personally, but sometimes I wish there was more talk about the many hats that independent artists wear. This industry is tough, but when you don’t have an entire team behind you it can be exhausting trying to cover every aspect of this job.
Not only do you have to be creative and work hard on your music but you also have to learn the business side of the industry to promote the music you make. I am lucky to work with some amazing ladies who help me get the job done, but I also wear many many many hats and have taught myself so much in order to keep my career going. There is no manual to being an artist or a one size fits all plan, so there is a lot to figure out as you go as an artist. I give a round of applause to all independent artists out who are working their butts off.
What are your coping mechanisms that are helping you stay healthy and happy during Covid? And you cannot cheat and say music!
Movement! I have always been a big fan and believer in working out. It’s a big help for my mood. I recommend some form of movement to anyone struggling with their mental health right now. I am definitely relying on it even more during this time. A daily workout and walks with my dog is what I need to feel sane.
Lastly as our favorite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard this Covid season. What are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
YES! I have a lot! Too many to single one out as my favourite. If you’re reading this I would love for you to head over to my Instagram page (Link below). Click on the “All Woman” highlight. You can find a whole bunch of amazing female-owned small businesses I love along with some discount codes for shopping.
Spotlight – Nicole Rayy – Round 2 is in the books! Big shout out to Nicole for spending the time with us. Who knows maybe we will get a round 3 sometime
Check out the new release Sad Song out now!
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