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'It's exciting to see all the hard work I've been doing coming to fruition now'

The up and coming singer-songwriter Raye has landed her first major fashion campaign, but she's just getting started. She talks to Katie Wright

Rising star: London-born musician Raye
Rising star: London-born musician Raye
Raye

Last time I spoke to Raye we were soaring at 35,000 feet somewhere over Canada as part of a transatlantic trip on which the then relatively unknown singer-songwriter was commissioned to write a song about Seattle.

Fast forward two and half years and the London-born musician's career is soaring too.

After a string of solo hits and penning songs for the likes of Ellie Goulding and Little Mix, she co-wrote the first track on Beyonce's Lion King album The Gift and last month was named the first ever recipient of the BMI Impact Award which honours hotly-tipped talent.

All this and she's still only 22 years old. Does it feel like overnight success?

"It's really funny with the job that I do, because things take a long time to evolve and for people to understand or discover them," says Raye (full name Rachel Agatha Keen).

"It's really exciting seeing all the hard work that I've been putting in coming to fruition now. It's definitely tough, but it feels great to be receiving that recognition."

She describes the BMI award as "such a special moment" but wrote on Instagram that "moments like this make the dark days worth it" - so is all not as rosy as it may seem from the outside?

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"This is something that I always try and talk about, because life is really up and down," she admits.

"Some days I'm on top of the world, and others I'm literally underneath the floor.

"And this job is really, really tough, you know, in it's ugliest state, where girls are being pitted against each other and compared."

Things are getting better, however - other up and coming artists like Stefflon Don, Mabel and Jorja Smith have been very supportive, Raye says.

"I posted some videos of me crying on Instagram when I was going through a really tough time and all these girls reached out and said, 'Are you OK? I'm here if you need a friend.'

"I was so blown away by all that. I thought, this is actually women supporting women."

Speaking of famous feminists, working with global megastar Beyonce must have been a career highlight?

"Definitely one of them," Raye agrees. "It's something that almost made me be like, 'OK, now I've achieved this, I kind of want to go into my shell and focus on my own career a little bit more'. That was a bucket list moment."

Alongside music, Raye has just landed her first major fashion campaign, showcasing Flannels autumn/winter collection alongside rapper AJ Tracey.

So, to mark the campaign launch, we sat down with the singer to chat all things fashion...

What was the Flannels shoot like?

"Shoot day was hilariously fun! We had loads of different backgrounds, and basically played dress up with fabulous designer clothes - what was not to love?"

Do you always feel confident in front of the camera?

"I used to not be but now I'm like woo hoo! Strut, strut, pose!

"You know, getting good in front of camera definitely takes time."

What's the one item of clothing that you wear more than anything else?

"A white shirt, like from TM Lewin or somewhere, a white men's shirt.

"I just find that it goes amazing with jeans, denim, black, white... then all you need is earrings and make-up."

If you could steal one person's wardrobe whose would you choose and why?

"Probably Madonna. I mean, I would say Naomi Campbell but none of the clothes would fit me! But Madonna, I feel like you'd have some of the most iconic pieces that she would have kept.

"I'm really enjoying the Hollywood glamour thing at the moment, I feel like she would have the most perfect clothes."

You're travelling a lot these days, do you still get time to go shopping?

"I definitely get time to go shopping. I don't shop all the time, but when I shop I'm a very all or nothing person, so if I'm shopping I'm SHOPPING, you know?

"All day out, best friend with me, we'll just go devour the shops..."

What are your other favourite designer brands?

"I love Prada, I'm a huge fan. It's very elegant and they always deliver. I love vintage Chanel jewellery. I love the gold necklaces and earrings that they have.

"I love Manolo Blahniks, ever since I started watching Sex and the City I'm so obsessed - I've actually become a bit of a shoe fanatic."

Would you like to design your own fashion collection one day?

"I definitely could in the future, but I would need to understand fashion the way I understand music. It's something that I'm working on learning about, doing my research into the history of it, and understanding that I've got a good few years of learning (ahead)."

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