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Corinne Bailey Rae Interview


Corinne found love again with producer Steve Brown


Reposted from The Sun (here) 

THERE was one aim for Corinne Bailey Rae when she was making her third album.

She says: “I wanted it to feel vibrant and full of life because that is how I feel at the moment. I wanted it to reflect the feeling of transformation, newness, adventure and a connection with what’s going on.”

The Heart Speaks In Whispers marks a new chapter for the 37-year-old singer, who is back after six years away.

She says cheerfully: “This is a real representation of all of the things that have happened to me.

“It is about rebirth and allowing your dreams to inform what is going on in your life.”

Bailey Rae’s previous album, 2010’s The Sea, was a dark and brave album written in the wake of the death of her husband, the musician Jason Rae.

The Heart Speaks In Whispers, on the other hand, is a record “full of hope” and charts her healing and unexpectedly finding love again with producer Steve Brown, an old friend who she married in 2013.

Bailey Rae says: “The album has taken a long time but I’m glad we took that time as it’s shaped up to be something I’m really proud of. I really believe in the message of the songs. And I enjoyed working with Steve.

“Because I know him so well I could be really honest and say what I thought was strong and which parts I had my doubts about. I could sculpt the album until it was right.

“And it was a huge surprise falling in love with Steve as we have been friends for a long time.

“It came like a dawn in the sense that, if you are ever up at that time of day, there is a light that is grey and then gradually there is this amazing golden light.

“It happens out of nowhere and that is how I felt about this love — that it came out of nowhere when it was needed. It’s been a miraculous thing to me.”

Bailey Rae had started work on The Heart Speaks In Whispers after she finished touring The Sea but, returning home after 18 months on the road, realised she still needed time to recuperate after the death of Rae, 31.

He accidentally overdosed in 2008 after experimenting with methadone. A verdict of death by misadventure was recorded after alcohol and the heroin substitute was found in his blood.

Bailey Rae says she wrote at home as her studio was being built and spent time with friends and family, regaining her confidence and starting to live again.

She explains: “My relationship with Steve helped me but I had to heal myself.

“There seems to be an idea that when you lose someone or a relationship breaks down that finding a new love will fix your broken heart. That will never work.

“You have to take your time and work at being happy again. It’s only then I could feel love.”

She adds: “Grief is something that can last a lifetime. The memory of a person can appear when you least expect it.

“I had to wait and knew that one day, things would be different and the pain would stop.”

Bailey Rae says that with her loss being so public, it actually made dealing with grief much easier. She explains: “I never had to tell anybody about it because they knew. There was a kindness and sensitivity from lots of people. And it all helped.”

It’s been a late night for Bailey Rae when we chat – she only got to her home in Leeds at 3am after performing on BBC’s Later . . . With Jools Holland and today she has a radio appearance to record, not that she’s complaining.

She says: “I love being back and all the work that goes with it — I feel very lucky. Every single part of my job interests me, including the interviews.

“And I loved being back at Jools. I was having my make-up done and there was a really loud noise, it sounded like a train. And we looked out of the window and it was Elton John arriving in a helicopter!

“I love Elton. I’ve met him a couple of times and he has been a really big supporter.” The Heart Speaks In Whispers was made at Bailey Rae’s own studio in Leeds and Capital Studio in Los Angeles, where she moved for seven months.

She says: “Living in LA was really important to me. This is a new life for me with new friends and new opportunities, I guess really getting to experience the fruits of my first record.

“I am introducing myself to people and they are like, ‘We know you and your music’.

“I got to work with people like Jim Gadson who has worked with Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers and, more recently, Lady Gaga. It was great to get him involved. It gave me more confidence.”

Gadson wasn’t the only famous name she got to work with in America. She also hooked up with R&B singer Valerie Simpson, who she befriended after meeting in New York a few years ago.

Bailey Rae says: “I got to know her through playing at Sugar Bar, where she runs this open mic night. A lot of people from the music scene pass through. Quincy Jones was even there one time, just enjoying the night.”

The two wrote the track Do You Ever Think Of Me? at Simpson’s house in New York.

Bailey Rae says: “It was inspired by the Curtis Mayfield song, The Makings Of You.

“Valerie is amazing. It was great to write like that with such an incredible person.”

On choosing her album title, The Heart Speaks In Whispers, Bailey Rae says: “It’s about listening to my inner voice. The lyrics just come without me thinking about them or writing them down.

“Instinct is really powerful and a really good way of working out what is right for you. That is really what the record is about.”

Album opener The Skies Will Break is a favourite for the songstress, as is Taken By Dreams, which has a live version in the works.

She says: “I’ve also been working on podcasts for the album, with different people talking about their dreams and subconscious. Nature and dreams have come to me lots of times, so I’m happy I have that song.”

A new side to Bailey Rae’s music in this third record is the use of her voice.

She explains: “I love singing and I wanted to use the vocals as an instrument more because, now I had my own studio, it meant that I could just sit there at two in the morning, with a microphone just going over things again and again.”

Horse Print Dress and Green Aphrodisiac are other standouts and show Bailey Rae at her funkiest — possibly influenced by one of her heroes, Prince?

She says: “I’ve been thinking about him a lot since he died. I just loved him and got to meet him many times.

“He was just really funny and self-effacing. One time we were playing in Abu Dhabi at the same time as him and we went to his after-show.

“Everyone was dancing and he invited us to watch the show. I said, ‘Oh, are you playing another gig now?’ and he said, ‘No, we are going back to my hotel room to watch the show we did’. So, after performing for two hours, he would watch it with the whole band for two hours.

“Even at that stage of his career, he was still trying to get better and make it perfect. Apparently James Brown and Michael Jackson did the same. I’m grateful for how generous he was to me.”

In July, Bailey Rae supports another idol, Stevie Wonder, at the only UK date of his Songs In The Key Of Life tour at London’s Hyde Park, and also Lionel Richie on his arena shows.

She says: “Stevie is so funny. And I can’t wait to tour with Lionel. I’m going to get to see him 15 times in a row — I want to really study that guy, he’s got something really special.

“I’m so excited to be back. A lot of things have happened but this album and being back on stage is good for me. I’ll carry on looking forward.”


  1. Eugene on June 9, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Hello Corinne, happy for you and Steve, and your life of touching others with your music….. it’s blessing me, “The Heart Speaks In Whispers”. Being a Hopeless Romantic, I need to improve my listening skills to my inner voice because recovery is not fun. LOL

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