Rae Morris on playing Glastonbury solo and proving herself as a female singer-songwriter

The 22-year-old is doing the festival rounds this summer

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The Independent Culture

Summer festival season is officially here, and has been for the last few weeks. Singer-songwriter Rae Morris appears to have signed herself up for all of them (Truck, Y Not, Festival No. 6, Bestival…) but says she’s most excited about Glastonbury.

“I was with Bombay Bicycle and Clean Bandit so I’m really excited to do my own set,” she says. “And I’m really looking forward to the Sunday night – my mum and dad are coming with us and my dad’s a huge Who fan.”

It’s been around five months since Morris’ 12 track debut Unguarded was released, over a year since she recorded the material with producer Ariel Rechtshaid, who worked on Brandon Flowers’ second solo LP.

“I think the more distance and time there is post-release the more comfortable I get with the songs,” she says. “When it first came out I couldn’t believe what had happened. Now I’ve got a better perspective I feel so lucky, and it’s so much more wonderful than I could have thought.”

Bands like Everything Everything and Clean Bandit have remixed her music (“it’s almost teasing, like ‘you could have done this!’”) and makes Morris contemplate a more electronic avenue for the future. Ultimately though, the piano is where she begins composing, and “goes from there”.

“It produces the most unique results,” she says. “I’ve tried a lot of different ways now and nothing beats that.”

Morris’ music videos are creative, quite dark and atmospheric – complementing the rare world weariness in her voice that is often absent from the work of many of her contemporaries. 

“The first two videos I started making, the producer definitely helped me to understand how to marry the music and the art together,” she says. “It blew me away that you can do that, to give people a visual to the audio. It’s a very creative process that’s good to be involved in.”

If she does feel any pressure as a young woman trying to carve her own identity in an industry that is consistently attempting to throw its female artists in one or two different boxes, she carries it well.

“I do recognise it, it’s very precedent in the industry. There are a few occasions where you think “I wonder why I’ve been compared to her… just because I’m another girl? There are things like that that make you feel like as a woman you’ve got to prove yourself a bit more.”

Speaking about the charts, she suggests they are more honest in their representation of what people enjoy listening to than what you might think.

“I never really put too much pressure on them – people want to have a good time, they want to dance,” she says. “But it’s great that now we have singer-songwriter charts as well. As long as we don’t put too much emphasis on it… I think it’s human to want to listen to music like that, to have a release.”

She’s currently touring with Tom Odell for his Forest Live gig, performing in woodland locations across the UK during the summer months and finishing in Rugeley on 12 July.

Keeping a journal has proven to be a good way to keep track of everything she gets up to, “since it all seems to blur into one”. So I ask her if she keeps a dream journal, something many artists say helps them with their songwriting. 

“A dream journal?” she repeats. “No. My dreams are pretty stressful so I tend to just forget about those.”

Rae Morris is performing at Truck Festival (17-18 July) and Y Not (31 July-2 August).