Rae Morris: ‘I wish to be a nationwide treasure, however the issues I like are fairly bizarre’ | Pop and rock
Rae Morris’s home is so good it has introduced on an id disaster. “I discover myself on this fancy location home in Primrose Hill,” says the musician, scanning the mirrored partitions and mustard velvet upholstery that has made her dwelling a sought-after set for trend shoots and TV reveals. “And I’m like: what the fuck am I doing right here?!”
The chasm between Morris’s very odd childhood in Blackpool – her dad was a firefighter, her mom an NHS employee – and her charmed existence has been taking part in on the 29-year-old’s thoughts. She is about to launch her third album, [email protected], one other assortment of the idiosyncratic but deeply catchy confections which have made her a lauded determine on the outer limits of British pop. Combining piano balladry with quirky manufacturing, piercing Kate Bush-style vocals and incisive, introspective lyrics, Morris creates indelible, euphoric tunes.
The brand new album serves as an unashamedly “rose-tinted” view of the north as a “Mary Poppins-esque universe”, explains Morris. It’s an idea echoed within the music, which is peppered with “orchestral Disney-esque woodwind stuff”. You’ll be able to really feel the craving particularly keenly on Working Sneakers, a lush synthpop hymn to a pastoral idyll the place animals graze and “the web’s sluggish”. However Morris additionally misses much less tangible issues: the friendliness, the “practicality” and a sense of normality she will be able to’t appear to find in London, the place she lives with fellow musician and collaborator Benjamin Garrett (higher often known as Fryars) – satisfied her to maneuver to this ritzy neighbourhood was its proximity to Euston, the gateway to the north-west.
Final summer time, after [email protected] had been recorded – within the studio they put in of their basement – Morris and Garrett had a child. It’s a growth that has compounded Morris’s sense of displacement. She isn’t eager on the concept of her daughter having a fancy southern accent. “I feel she’ll sound like she’s from Primrose Hill, and I’ll simply should cope with it,” she sighs, jokingly fantasising about success drying up and her household being compelled to decamp to Blackpool.
It appears unlikely. That mentioned, the previous few years have been rocky for Morris professionally. [email protected] is her first launch since leaving Atlantic, the key label she signed with at 19 for a “bizarre” amount of cash. The music trade curiosity – primarily based on a handful of demos she’d uploaded to Myspace – “utterly blew my world away. Instantly there have been all these A&Rs coming right down to my gigs on the Mad Ferret in Preston, some shit open-mic night time.” Now, she needs she hadn’t accepted such an enormous advance, “as a result of for the following eight years I used to be having to show I used to be value it”. To place it brutally, she couldn’t: regardless of scoring a Prime 10 hit along with her 2015 debut Unguarded, in comparison with labelmates Ed Sheeran and Clear Bandit her numbers have been “pathetic”, she says.
After her second album, 2018’s critically acclaimed Somebody Out There (chart peak: No 20), she was dropped. She was upset, she admits, but in addition appears remarkably sanguine. “I’ve all the time needed to play large gigs and be a nationwide treasure-type,” she says, laughing at her personal chutzpah. “However the issues I really like are all the time a little bit bit bizarre.”
Morris says her experiences within the stomach of the pop machine weren’t precisely horrible – the truth is, after making most of her new album alone with Garrett, she signed with one other main, RCA. However being in that world from a younger age had an insidious impact on her sense of self. [email protected]’s gorgeously sweeping opening monitor, No Girl Is an Island, focuses on the creepy methods wherein feminine pop stars are moulded by older male executives. “Not in some other space of your life would somebody say: ‘You’ve obtained a extremely nice smile, you must put that on the market extra,’” she says. “There was plenty of: ‘I’m wondering when you put on a crop high whether or not that might assist?’” There was additionally the suggestion she be seen extra usually in public along with her celeb mates. “‘Perhaps you could possibly invite these well-known individuals you realize to this factor … ’” She cringes.
However it was a flattening of her character that Morris notably objected to. “You’re taking me for well mannered and delicate / However truly my life is completely wild,” she croons on No Girl Is An Island, a reference to the truth that she was considered as uninteresting just because she didn’t interact in any out-there onstage antics: “Simply because I’m not dancing round with little or no clothes doesn’t imply that I don’t have many layers to my character.”
If her earlier staff have been determined for some provocation, they might have been delighted to listen to new monitor Low Forehead, a “very horny banger”, she says. The music, written with Garrett, is a couple of lifetime of sexual experiences: moist thighs, faces “glistening” and an individual “tunnelling by means of my physique”.
Morris says the music isn’t straight-faced however it has a severe aspect. When she first discovered fame, Morris was in a relationship with fellow Blackpool singer-songwriter Karima Francis and she or he discovered it “actually annoying” that having a girlfriend meant interviewers appeared to view her sexuality as an acceptable topic for (strained) dialog. Low Forehead was a chance to “talk about my sexuality in a manner that was extra enjoyable and relaxed”. Though she appreciates the irony. “I do know now everyone’s simply going to ask me about it each single time.”
Writing a music together with your husband about your previous bed room exercise may sound a bit uncommon, however every part about Morris’s manner screams extraordinarily well-adjusted, down-to-earth and – sure – regular. Once I fear that I’m perspiring on her swanky built-in couch after a sweltering tube journey, she reveals me a big milk stain on one of many cushions that occurred whereas she was breastfeeding.
Dialog segues to different bodily fluids: we begin evaluating notes about bouts of norovirus unfold by our youngsters. Morris’s family outbreak occurred on a day of filming in her home. “[My daughter] was being sick, and I used to be being sick, and we needed to do a video shoot. We couldn’t cancel as a result of it was too late.” I gaze on the pink carpeted partitions and film the scene: even an inordinately cool Primrose Hill dwelling and glamorous profession isn’t sufficient, it appears, to insulate towards on a regular basis catastrophe.