After playing her first ever headline UK show at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen last April, Ray BLK returned this week to grace her homegrown fans once more. This time taking to the stage at Bush Hall, it quickly became clear that the South-London artist has indeed captivated a huge following. And with less than eight songs available online, this is a true testament to the R&B singer’s instant appeal and unique talent.
Oozing confidence, poise and female empowerment, Ray’s performance was characterized by immense self-assurance and conviction. Carefully selecting a mixture of covers, old favourites and unheard tracks from her soon to be released EP, Ray masterfully commanded her audience. A few songs into her set, she performed Talk To Me, which borrows from Alicia Key’s You Don’t Know My Name. Singing, “I’m hoping that you see the DM I sent you on twitter// Dropping you my number please don’t throw it in the litter// Even changed my pic so that you could see my figure// If you get to know me you’ll see that my heart is bigger”, Ray exhibited her playful and intricate lyricism.
Placing themes of love and heartache within a truly modern landscape, Ray’s style of R&B is fresh and engaging. Calling out for a partner’s love and attention in 50/50, whilst also acknowledging the need to realise when a relationship is no longer worth pining for, Ray exposed her emotional strength. Always promoting the notion of independence and female self-love, Ray exclaimed during one of her songs, “I deserve best because I’m an empress.” Echoing through the crowd, this poignant statement perfectly encapsulated the artist stood in front of us.
Mid-set, host Kojey Radical took to the stage for his own performance. Employing powerful spoken word, he stressed the necessity of artists such as Ray who represent their generation, crying out for musicians to create sounds which capture the feelings and needs of Britain’s youth. Always speaking frankly and honestly, Ray is really the perfect example, proving that young British artists are successfully breaking the underground music scene with their creativity, passion and perseverance.
BLK’s latest single ‘Chill Out’ (Feat. SG Lewis) was released on 29th September – well worth a listen.
Words: Arnaz Marker
Photography: Vicky Grout