I remember listening to Ralph Hardy’s NANG Selection music show and hearing this song where a female vocalist expressed just how this guy makes her want to cook him dinner and then do it on the sofa. This song was very honest and it was raw. It was a girl describing exactly how this guy was making her feel. No cliche’s. It was simple and straight to the point. From that point on I made sure to pay attention to the music of Ray Blk.
I first saw Ray Blk perform at a show for the release of ‘Impure’ by an artist named Renz and she brought life to her words. Ray’s mood switched with each song, demonstrating exactly how her lyrics made her feel and she had a great reception from the crowd. Ray Blk speaks to young women with her songs and it was evident that night with the ladies in the front row shouting her words back at her on stage. These songs struck a chord with them. They related to what Ray Blk was singing. Her songs are not generic. They’re personal and her core fanbase relate to what she’s describing.
When I heard she was going to her perform at her first headline show, I made sure I was present. Since the last time I saw her, Ray Blk has created a body of songs that have been replayed on my Soundclound app so many times. Her features with one of my favourite rappers from the UK, TE dness (‘Rubber Bands’ & ‘Beautiful Day To Die’) showed her ranged and the ability to shine in such a short amount of time.
So as I made my arrival to the Hoxton Bar in London, DJ Siobhan Bell was spinning crowd favourites while host Kojey Radical was shaking a leg on stage. Kojey is a great entertainer. His pressence demands your attention whether it be his dancing or his powerful spoken word. Tonight, he was keeping the crowd engaged and getting us ready to enjoy the performances.
I saw my friend in the crowd. He told me that he was looking forward to the support act, Tiana Major9. Now, this is someone I had never heard of but he assured me that I was in for a treat. He wasn’t wrong. Performing with her brother Melvin on the guitar, she sang songs that made me put my camera down. The combination of the chords and her voice made me turn to my friend smile. She was brilliant. Performing her song ‘Altitude’ showed her vocal range. Her use of slang reminded you that East London was in the building. I appreciate the young singers that keep their accent and don’t americanise thier voices. It shows pride. I was pleasantly surprised when she performed ‘Mas Que Nada’. This had me singing along as I love Bosa Nova. This was one of my favorites and I was happy that she did the song justice.
Now that the crowd was warmed up nicely, it was time for the main event. Ray Blk stepped on stage with a live band and jumped straight into one of her hits, ‘Talk To Me’. Another honest song where she describes the way she feels for a guy that doesn’t know her name. She daydreamed about vacations and intamacy with a person who has yet to talk to her. The crowd sang the chorus back to her. Once again, she had the ladies on her side. Smiling at each other whilst singing key lines in the song. A signal of recognition. They’ve also been through this before and could identify with the story behind the song.
With every song, Ray Blk gave her all. Her voice is strong and filled the room. She engaged with the crowd and at times, stopped singing and smiled. It seemed that she has been waiting for this moment. Realising that everyone in the room bought tickets and gave their time to watch her perform, she made her gratitude known. Stepping away from her own songs to perform hits like Sunshine Anderson’s ‘Heard It All Before’ and Wyclef’s ‘911’ which she spun into Rihanna’s ‘Man Down’, she kept the crowd entertained. Her energy on stage was dynamic. Making sure she kept moving and her vocals were clear. Special guest appearances from Avelino and Stormzy raised the levels even more. I often found myself remembering to take pictures as I was enjoying myself. That’s always a good feeling. The pictures that I take means more to me when I am in tune with what I’m capturing.
As a finale, Ray Blk performed a song that has brought her much attention. ‘50/50‘ has one of those choruses that you sing when there’s no one around at the top of your voice. A song that shows vulnerability. She wants the effort that she is putting into her relationship to be reciprocated. She doesn’t want to feel like she ‘just his bredrin’. The strength to admit what she wants in this song was cleary evident on stage. With the crowd standing with her, many singing every word. This had Ray Blk in high spirits and made her performance even more energetic. It was a great way to end the show. The crowd enjoyed every minute and Ray Blk left the stage with a big smile on her face. Her future is bright.