She told us to put our records on, so we did, and we chose her of course! It’s Corinne Bailey Rae spinning on the Artists in Focus turntable this week, and we cannot stop bopping along to her dreamy soulful tunes.

Slipknot to Soul!

But would you believe that the beginning of Bailey Rae was not always full of soulful delights?! Her first ever musical training saw Corinne try her hand at the classical violin, until she began singing at church. As part of a church vocal group, Corinne enjoyed singing covers of songs by Scottish rock band, Primal Scream, where the lyrics were fortunately changed so she didn’t offend church-goers!

Sticking to the rock inspired vibes, Bailey Rae formed an indie-rock group called Helen, who were almost a success! Inspired by bands like Illinois’ Veruca Salt, and in awe of seeing women with guitars who were “sexy, but feminist”, the band were approached by heavy metal record label Roadrunner Records, who also represented Slipknot. Unfortunately, Helen disbanded before the final signing. We do wonder what our Bailey Rae records would sound like had the stars aligned on this!

Solo Vibes

It was only when Corinne embarked on her solo journey that her music went down a more soulful road – and we are SO-ul glad it did. Her first single released was the gorgeous “Like A Star”, which moved the hearts of the nation and shot straight to the top spot in the UK, and into the top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100, spending a total of 71 weeks there between 2006 and 2008! Top that with a couple of Grammy nominations for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year and you’ll get an idea of how much the world loves this track. It’s quite the debut, hey?

And the second single was no disappointment either - “Put Your Records On” is without doubt Bailey Rae’s most popular release to date, with an astonishing 332 million Spotify streams! It topped the UK R&B chart on its release, and reached number 2 on the UK Singles chart too.

“Put Your Records On” makes an appearance in our Acoustic Grade 5 syllabus, and we love it! The song has an instantly recognisable acoustic guitar intro, before making way for the smooth and distinctive, delicate but strong vocals of Miss Corinne Bailey Rae. That unmistakable tone is surely what keeps the listeners coming back again and again.

Industry Accomplishment

In the years since, between releasing more fantastic albums, Bailey Rae has been involved in some incredible projects: a performance at the Grammy’s with two of music’s favourite John’s – Mayer and Legend – a special guest slot supporting one of our heroes Stevie Wonder, and performances with jazz giant Herbie Hancock. She also recorded a cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” for a huge film feature which has proven greatly popular.

Her contributions to the music industry are cherished, and certainly precious to us here at RSL. Whether it’s a relaxing afternoon in the sun, an evening with friends, a hopeful feeling or a soul that needs healing, it’s Corinne Bailey Rae’s records that we’ll be putting on.

Bailey Rae has joined a list of fantastic musicians who have been featured on our Artists in Focus blog including Prince, Etta James and Nirvana. Check them out!