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Ten minutes with Corinne Bailey Rae

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

I'd been told before my phone call with Corinne Bailey Rae that 10 minutes would be the total allotted time with her, as compared to 20 minutes with Phoenix or nearly a half-hour with Silversun Pickups. Indeed, 10 short minutes was all I got with the British singer-songwriter, who in 2006 soared to the top of the Adult Contemporary and Pop charts with her debut single "Put Your Records On," which eventually nabbed her Grammy nominations for Record and Song of the Year. An overnight success story, Rae was on the fast track to international stardom when tragedy struck - her husband and college sweetheart, Jason Rae, was found dead in a Leeds, England apartment in 2008. I respectfully honored a request to not ask any questions outside of the realm of music, but I will say, for those curious fans out there, that Rae sounded as if she'd bravely moved forward and is doing well these days. The release of her sophomore effort, The Sea, further proves that she's ready for new chapters in her career and in her life. It was during Oscar weekend that I spoke to this talented performer, and the combination of a poor connection with her ever-so-soft voice prevented a better interview, though it's a quick reminder of the nature of this business: you get what you get. That said, from a hotel room in Los Angeles to my desk phone in Seattle, here's what transpired when Corinne Bailey stepped into "The Music Lounge."

Albert Rodriguez: You performed at a pre-Oscar fashion show. Were there any celebs in the audience?

Corinne Bailey Rae: I think I saw a bunch of actors. I don't know; I didn't have my glasses on.

Rodriguez: Is this your first headlining tour stop in Seattle?

Rae: I have played in Seattle before, but in a small room of maybe 500 people.

Rodriguez: Didn't you play here with John Legend on your previous visit?

Rae: Yes, I played with John Legend, but I also played there on my own.

Rodriguez: How important is it for overseas artists to break through in the U.S.?

Rae: It's important to feel like what you do is getting outside of your own country. I felt that when I did my first album. I didn't really know what to expect at all. It was only when I was told, "Your album's going to come out in 16 countries" that I said, "Really?" I had no idea. I didn't really know how any of it worked. I hadn't really been involved in the music scene before, so I thought you just put out a single in England and promoted it there. But then you go to Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Holland and then to Canada, America, and Japan. I had no idea that's how it worked. So, it's important to feel like other people get it [the music] besides your countrymen. It's really nice to know that other people around the world are interested. I hadn't really traveled until the first album. I had been to Seattle before because I've got some friends from there.

Rodriguez: Do you remember being here or anything about the city?

Rae: Yeah! I went up the Space Needle, I went to Orcas Island, I went up in the mountains and saw deer, and I went to Lake Wenatchee. That was the first time I'd ever been to America.

Rodriguez: At your show, will you be performing songs from your first album as well as your second?

Rae: I will be. I still really like my first album and I want to include those songs, and then also play the new record. For people who know me from the first album, I want to play songs they know and are familiar with.

Rodriguez: Are there any places in the United States you've played that you didn't particularly like?

Rae: No, I've found that I like all the places. I wasn't sure what I'd think of Texas, but when I went there I had no idea how cool Austin is and the people were very friendly.

Rodriguez: Tell me about this upcoming show. Will you be playing with a full band, or is it acoustic?

Rae: It's gonna be a full band. The band are the people who played on the album, and the keyboard player is the guy I co-produced the record with.

Rodriguez: The U.K. is known for having lots of hot pop and rock stars. Do you have a favorite?

Rae: I think young Mick Jagger is so amazing. When he was 22, he had this gracious figure, cool hair, big eyes and big mouth. I just think he's a real interesting person.

Rodriguez: In 2010, what else besides the tour is going to happen?

Rae: We're doing this tour of the United States, and then we're going to play in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia for the first time - I've never been there before. I think we'll play in South Korea, as well, in a jazz festival. I'll be putting out more singles, and I'll be making more videos, which I really enjoy.

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