Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae
Born in the UK town of Leeds, Corinne Bailey Rae took an early interest in music through her childhood church. She also studied classical music as a youth, playing violin. However, it was a later move to a more demonstrative Baptist church that began to expand her musical horizons, and a gift of an electric guitar as a teenager led to a love of Led Zeppelin and even broader musical tastes. It also convinced her of her desire to become a professional singer.
She formed an all-girl rock band as a teen called Helen which gathered a local following and was signed to a small record deal. It unfortunately fell apart upon when the bass player became pregnant, and Helen was no more. Rae moved on to college at Leeds University where she studied English Literature while working nights at a jazz club. During this period she began songwriting in earnest and played clubs for the next several years, gathering a sizeable following for her acoustic, folky soul music. She also caught the attention of EMI Records, which signed her to a solo recording contract in 2005.
She released the EP Like A Star in Fall 2005, and it became an instant UK hit. A successful tour followed and, when her self-titled debut album was released in the UK in February, 2006, it amazingly debuted at #1, making Corinne Bailey Rae one of only a handful of women in history to attain such a feat.
Corinne Bailey Rae was released in the US four months later on Capitol Records. It was a big hit, staying in the upper portion of the charts for nearly a year, and establishing a strong fanbase for Rae. But just as she was preparing for her second album, tragedy struck, as her husband, Jason Rae, died of an apparent drug overdose. The loss devastated Rae, who took up the mantle of preparing her second album as a tribute to her deceased husband. The disc, The Sea, was released in January 2010 to positive reviews.
By Chris Rizik