‘My baby’s thriving’ – Raye on making Mercury Prize shortlist for first time

Raye has been shortlisted for a Mercury award alongside Fred Again.. and Arctic Monkeys (Ian West/PA)
Raye has been shortlisted for a Mercury award alongside Fred Again.. and Arctic Monkeys (Ian West/PA) Raye has been shortlisted for a Mercury award alongside Fred Again.. and Arctic Monkeys (Ian West/PA)

Raye said she is “really loving” that she has made the Mercury Prize shortlist for the first time with her debut album.

The singer-songwriter, who has worked with Stormzy and Beyonce, was shortlisted for the award alongside Fred Again.. and Arctic Monkeys.

At the red carpet at the Langham Hotel, London, Raye told the PA news agency: “I’m very much processing. Still.

“I’m just proud, my baby’s been recognised and I mean, she’s my first baby. She’s thriving, she’s being heard, so yeah, really lovely.”

ARIAS 2023
ARIAS 2023 Olivia Dean’s debut album Messy made the shortlist (Ian West/PA)

The 25-year-old said she “screamed” when she found out about her nomination and added that “persistence to keep going” is important for success in the music industry.

My 21st Century Blues, which is her debut album, was released in February and follows her contributing to the music of Rihanna, David Guetta, John Legend and Ellie Goulding.

When asked who she wants to collaborate with in the future, Raye said: “Some on my lists are Quincy Jones (who) is one I would love to work with him. That’s a dream… and Hans Zimmer is on there, would love to create something with him.

“Yeah, those two to name a few. Al Green is another… I just want to be in the presence of greatness.”

Rapper and singer Shygirl, who has worked with Lady Gaga and Bjork, reflected on how she still feels “impostor syndrome” following her album Nymph making the shortlist.

She said: “I’m a huge appreciator of music, I’ve been listening to it a lot longer than I’ve been making it.

“I want it to be accessible so I have the credentials to be here and that’s what I set out to do with this record and it was nice to actually see it come full circle.

“You sit down, you make a record and you’re like, is it good? Like you still ask your friends, I still show every single one of my friends.

“I want validation a little bit, and then just see how at my core (if) I am happy.”

Among the acts in the running for prize is London-born singer Jessie Ware with her 2022 album That! Feels Good!, which peaked in the UK albums chart at number three.

Speaking about when she was told about being shortlisted, Ware told PA: “I was in dance rehearsals for the shows this summer.

“I was in a kind of church and the angels shined on me and that gave me a Mercury nom… It felt good.”

Singer-songwriter Olivia Dean, whose debut album Messy made the list, said she had returned home to have nap after a trip to the sauna for her best friend’s birthday when she received the news.

She told PA: “My manager FaceTimed me and I wasn’t going to answer as I was so tired and she said, ‘I can’t get the words out of mouth but you’ve been nominated for a Mercury.’

“I just burst into tears. I was just completely overwhelmed, surprised.”

Dean added: “I have not thought about winning at all. I feel like it is such a big achievement for me to even be nominated.”

Dean also said the nod was another “crazy thing” to happen to her following Sir Elton John naming her as one of the acts to look out for in the future when he was at Glastonbury for the end of his UK tour.

She added: “That was unreal and I got the chance to meet him (Sir Elton) at Glastonbury and I just said, ‘Thank you so much for just saying my name, that just elevates my whole album release, experience’. And he really didn’t have to be so kind.”