Raye’s road to success: From school dropout to seven-time BRIT Award nominee – a look back at her journey to fame as she breaks records set by Robbie Williams, Craig David and Gorillaz

Born in Tooting to a Ghanaian-Swiss mother and English father, Raye began singing in 2014 and at 19 years old rose to fame by featuring on Jax Jones You Don’t Know Me which peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart.

Born as Rachel Keen, the budding artist moved to Croydon and started studying at Woodcote High School.

Shen grew up attending a church in Croydon, where her father was the musical director, and her mother sang in the choir.

Aged 14 Raye was accepted to attend the BRIT school where she stayed until she was 16. 

Shortly after she dropped out as she felt she was ‘confined despite learning an extensive amount.’

Born in Tooting to a Ghanaian-Swiss mother and English father, Raye began singing in 2014 and at 19 years old rose to fame by featuring on Jax Jones You Don’t Know Me

Born as Rachel Keen, the budding artist moved to Croydon and started studying at Woodcote High School before attending the BRIT School for two years

Born as Rachel Keen, the budding artist moved to Croydon and started studying at Woodcote High School before attending the BRIT School for two years

‘I did two years and learned an extensive amount… but nobody there liked pop music,’ she told the BBC. ‘It’s all cool, underground, indie artists. I felt confined.’

In 2017, she was shortlisted for the BBC Music Sound of… award and came in third place.

Then in 2018 she won at the ASCAP London Music Awards and was nominated for a BRIT award for her You Don’t Know Me single.

In June 2021, Raye revealed that her record label, Polydor Records, had been withholding her debut album for several years and she went on a hiatus.

She took to Twitter to tell her 50,000 followers at the time: ‘I have been on a 4 ALBUM RECORD DEAL since 2014. And haven’t been allowed to put out one album.’

A month later, the singer announced she had left Polydor Records and begun working as an independent artist.

After releasing her single Ice Cream Man in 2023, Raye shared her experience with being assaulted by a music producer who forced his hand between her legs when she was 17 years old.

Whilst performing on the Pyramid Stage last year at Glastonbury she paused between singing the song saying: ‘This next song is about sexual abuse, and rape, and sexual violence. And I know that’s heavy, okay. 

In 2017, she was shortlisted for the BBC Music Sound of… award and came in third place

In 2017, she was shortlisted for the BBC Music Sound of… award and came in third place

In June 2021, Raye revealed that her record label, Polydor Records, had been withholding her debut album for several years and she went on a hiatus

In June 2021, Raye revealed that her record label, Polydor Records, had been withholding her debut album for several years and she went on a hiatus

‘But I also know one in four men and women will experience that in their lifetime. So I know that I’m not alone when I sing this today.’

In an interview with Cosmopolitan last year, she said she still suffers from panic attacks and PTSD regularly.

‘When I think about the panic attacks, the PTSD…you realise that someone’s actions become your burden to carry, and there is nowhere you can put it other than a therapy session,’ she said.

‘Every girl I know in this industry has some sort of story to tell me. The studio is such a vulnerable space.

‘And if you say something, you create an enemy who will spread rumours or blacklist you – and you need those connections to open doors for yourself.

‘Even though the people decide very much what’s consumed on the outside, inside, the music industry is still very much a gatekept society.’

In January last year her single ‘Escapism’ went to UK number one and became a huge hit on social media platform TikTok.

In January last year her single 'Escapism' went to UK number one and became a huge hit on social media platform TikTok

In January last year her single ‘Escapism’ went to UK number one and became a huge hit on social media platform TikTok

And in February she later released her studio Album My 21st Century Blues which was written and produced by herself. The album was number one in the charts for over a week.

This year she has been nominated for seven BRIT awards, the most any artist has ever been nominated for.

Last year the singer wasn’t nominated for any BRITS and was a nominee for Best Dance Act in 2022.

Raye now shines as one of the brightest stars in today’s music scene, boasting seven top 20 singles, 33 million monthly listeners on Spotify, an Ivor Novello Award, multiple Brit Award nominations and a track record of writing for the industry’s biggest names.

Speaking about her BRIT nominations this year, she said the industry considered her ‘down and out’.

‘It’s a miracle, it’s deep. Year and a half ago, as far as the industry was concerned, I was down and out and never in my wildest dreams would I feel like trying again and it would lead to seven BRIT nominations.

‘I’m a Brit kid, I went to the BRIT’s School and this was the goal. The ultimate goal was to find my way somehow to the Brit awards.

‘This is a whole different thing. It’s a joke. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.’

Raye is the most nominated British female in BRIT Awards history after receiving seven nominations on Wednesday.

The London-born singer broke records on Wednesday with seven nominations, the most received by any female artist, following the release of her long-awaited debut album, My 21st Century Blues. 

This year’s BRIT Awards will be live on ITV on March 2 at 8pm. 

        BRIT AWARDS 2024 – THE                          NOMINATIONS IN FULL  

SONG OF THE YEAR 

Calvin Harris – Miracle

Casso x RAYE – Prada

Central Cee – Let Go

Dave – Sprinter

Dua Lipa – Dance the Night

Ed Sheeran – Eyes Closed

J Hus – Who Told You

Kenya Grace – Strangers

Lewis Capaldi – Wish You The Best

Pink Pantheress – Boy’s a Liar

RAYE – Escapism

Rudimental – Dancing is Healing

Stormzy – Firebae

Switch Disco – React

Venebee – Messy in Heaven

BEST NEW ARTIST 

Mahalia

Olivia Dean

Pinkpantheress

RAYE

Yuseff Dayes

ARTIST OF THE YEAR  

Arlo Parks

Central Cee

Dave

Dua Lipa

Fred Again… 

J Hus

Jessie Ware

Little Simz

Olivia Dean

RAYE  

GROUP OF THE YEAR  

Blur

Chase & Status

Headie One and K-Trap

Jungle

Young Fathers

INTERNATIONAL GROUP OF THE YEAR  

Blink 182

Boygenius

Foo fighters

Gabriels

Paramore

DANCE ACT  

Barry Can’t Swim

Becky Hill

Calvin Harris

Fred Again… 

Romy
 R&B ACT 

Cleo Sol

Jorja smith

Mahalia

RAYE

Sault

ALTERNATIVE ROCK  

Blur

Bring Me The Horizon

The Rolling Stones

Young Fathers

Yusseff Dayes

HIP HOP/GRIME/RAP ACT

CASSIEDEAD 

Central Cee

Dave

J Hus

Little Simz

POP ACT  

Calvin Harris 

Charli XCX

Dua Lipa

Olivia Dean

RAYE

INTERNATIONAL ARTIST  

Asake

Burna Boy

Caroline Polachek

CMAT

Kylie Minogue

Lana del Rey

Miley Cyrus

Olivia Rodrigo

SZA

Taylor Swift

INTERNATIONAL SONG OF THE YEAR  

Billie Eilish – What Was I Made For

David Kushner – Daylight

Doja Cat – Paint The Town Red

Jazzy – Giving Me

Libianca – People 

Meghan Trainer – Made You Look

Miley Cyrus – Flowers  

Noah Kahan – Stick Season

Oliver Tree – Miss you

Olivia Rodrigo – Vampire

Peggy Gou – It Goes Like

Rema – Calm Down 

SZA – Kill Bill

Tate McRae – Greedy –

Tyla – Water

ALBUM OF THE YEAR  

Blur – the Ballad of Darren

J Hus – Beautiful

Little Simz – No Thank You

RAYE – My 21st Century Blues

Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy

BRIT RISING STAR  

Caity Baser 

Sekou Island 

The Last Dinner Party (Winner) 

 

 

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