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EDITORIAL : Article : DJ Rae: Feminine, fierce and a force to be reckoned with....  

  DJ Rae: Feminine, fierce and a force to be reckoned with.... : *
Submitted by Shejay
(September 09, 2011)

Defected's leading lady, DJ, singer & songwriter Rae is sassy, sexy and serious about music. In a rare moment of downtime, Rae spoke to Shejay about her busy DJing schedule, what inspires her musically and what we can expect to her from her in the coming months....

So tell us how long you've been singing and writing songs for? Take us through your history with that ....
I've been singing my whole life pretty much. The first thing I remember is stealing my Dad's records and going into my room and playing them full blast with the hairbrush singing along to stuff like the Supremes 'Baby Love'.... Then I carried on singing at school in the choir, and then went to drama school on the weekends....

Fast forward to your grown up singing career - what is your songwriting process - I presume you write all the lyrics and top line as well?
Usually it's either a collaboration from scratch where we work together to put the whole thing in motion, or sometimes it can be a basic track that I'll get a vibe from and write the melody, top line and lyrics for. Creative input is really important for me, I'm not really one for getting a full track track that's already finished and going 'there's a little bit of sprinkle over it', I like to get involved in the whole process.

Do you find it's difficult finding inspiration sometimes - do you ever get blocks when writing?
Touch wood no, if I get my head in the right space, I can usually come up with something. I also play a lot with different genres; You can probably tell that I don't stick to one thing. I started with 'Can't Stop' which is quite soulful but I like to chop it around a bit and experiment. That's what I've always done so I stay fresh and it keeps me inspired by delving into different realms and different styles.

Who would you say are your main musical influences?
There's so many....When I started, I was drawn to the more soulful vocals like Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield - that was the start for me, I used to try to mimic that soulful sound but then later on growing up I was really into Tori Amos and Skunk Anansie so I tried to get those freaky, almost rock elements in as well. So you can probably tell if you listen to some of the stuff I've written I'm really inspired by all of those sounds and still continue to be now. I keep abreast of all different genres and people coming through. The more recent ones like obviously Amy Winehouse needs a mention, she was a real unique talent who affected anyone who had a musical ear....

What else do you have in the pipeline as far as upcoming releases.....
My next single is pretty exciting because it's going to be my first solo single 'Another day' Obviously I've collaborated with so many people but always had this hunger to do my own thing. The mix that's popping at the moment is the Talk & Ridney mix. We worked together on this mix to make it a real big room belter....and I did a cheeky test of it on the weekend and it's working really well.

Do you produce as well?
Yeah but I haven't had a chance to work on my own tracks as much as I would like to because I've been so busy gigging and writing and getting my album ready. That's where I'm at right now, the next phase is getting the productions and remixes out there which is really exciting.

With such a busy DJing schedule, I imagine it must be a lot of work but equally inspiring and exciting to want to lock yourself down in the studio when you come back buzzing from a gig. Are you getting a lot of ideas down at the moment in down time?

I've got my studio at home, so I'm pretty much in there day and night. I have Sunday day of rest when I come back from gigs and then Monday - Thursday in the studio. I have loads of energy and ideas right now so I feel like it's best to be constantly at it and getting them down.

You just got back from Ibiza - what would you say has been this summer's biggest anthem on the island?
There's been one tune that's a no fail belter of the tune - 'The Trumpeter' - which is on Defected. It goes off and it's a refreshing spin on a slightly quirky trumpet track. The Chocolate Puma mix really does it for me, that's really going off right now.

What non-house music are you listening to at the moment?
So many things, I go with what I'm feeling. I might wake up in the morning and whack Daniel Merriweather on have a little sing along. Other stuff that comes on my playlist a lot is Sia, Jamiroquai and then some quirky bits like the other day i just really wanted to pull out Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album out.

How would you describe your personal style - fashion-wise?
Feminine, a little bit sexy with a bit of an edge.

What can we expect see you in while DJing?
I tend to jump around quite a lot so it's important to be comfortable, having flexibility but also stay sexy as well. I'm known to DJ in ridiculously high heels which looks impossible but somehow I do it. My style is always quite feminine with some edginess thrown in.

Who are some of your favourite fashion designers?
I'm not a total freak about designers but I always really liked Antonio Berardi, I think he has some really complementary cuts. Also Alexander McQueen, but then always mixing in a bit of high street since it takes a lot of inspiration from the high street. Mix and match -- since female fashion changes all the time, that's the best way to to do it.

Where can we find you topping up your wardrobe?
For pure convenience, you'd probably find me somewhere like Westfield or Oxford Street where I can find a lot of stuff in one place.... I'm not one to go from shop to shop. And also Brick Lane, you can get some really great stuff in the markets from up and coming designers.

What's the last book you read?
I always go for biographies and auto-biographies. My books need to be real. I don't go for fiction at all. I think I have enough fictional stuff with my songwriting. I make up stories so I like to read about factual things. I like to read about artist's lives. The last one I read was about Kurt Cobain, I also have Elton John's on the shelf that I'm dipping in and out of. I like to read about all kinds of crazy artists.

What would be your job in another life?
I always thought I would be a psychiatrist. I am so into the human mind and I'm a bit of a psychoanalyst with people, I just naturally do it. The criminal side of things really interest me, I've read a lot of books in that vein. I'd probably be totally insane now if I followed that path or still studying but that's something that's always interested me.

One woman who inspires you living or dead......
The one woman I look to very often and never get bored of, whose music is absolutely magical for me is Dusty Springfield. An absolutely beautiful voice that takes me to another place and such a beautiful persona to be remembered.

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