Southern Ontario-born Nicole Rayy has been a force in creating her own opportunities. With her incredible vocal prowess putting her on the country music radar in 2012 with the release of her debut EP “Only Everything,” it was her sophomore album, “Dig” solidified her as a force to be reckoned with within the Canadian country scene.
Soon after she found herself playing festivals like The Calgary Stampede, Trackside, Howl at the Moon – opening up for country music powerhouses like Aaron Pritchett and Brett Kissel.
Her 2020 EP “All Woman”, is a stunning collection of songs that traverse borders and (at times) genres. Produced by the famed Brian Howes (Mother Mother / Daughtry) – songs like “Unfinished” showcase her strength as a solo artist and her open take on country music. The title track “All Woman” an empowered feminist anthem, has led Rayy to a collaboration video featuring 10 rising female artists in Canadian country. It has also inspired Nicole to create an online platform, All Woman Music, to give more opportunity for females in music to perform. She has taken her passion for supporting female artists even further by creating a brand new all-female festival called HarmoniaFest.
She recently released a new single “Sad Song”, and we had the opportunity to chat with her about her creative process, career highlights, and what’s next.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single “Sad Song”?
Nicole: I am actually not a writer on this song but it was written by some incredibly talented people, Emma Lee, Karen Kosowski and Jordan Depaul. I think they wrote an amazing song, which is why is resonated with me the first time I heard it and I know it will resonate with so many others.
We all love a good sad song when we are sad because it understands us and makes us feel less alone. Sometimes we just like listening to a sad song because we need a good cry. This song embodies that feeling. It explains why there is no better medicine when we are sad than a sad song.
Kat: What do you hope fans take from the track?
Nicole: It’s relatability. The best part about music for me is that it unites us, it is a universal language. Everyone can feel understood when they are listening to a song that speaks to something they have gone through. This song describes that feeling so well. It is the ultimate explanation of why we all love sad songs. I always want my singles to impact people’s lives, even if it is just in some tiny way. I think songs that are honest that people can relate to have that most impact, and I know people will relate to this song.
Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?
Nicole: I think the hardest part sometimes is staying true to yourself and what you want to say as an artist. It has always been important to me that during the creation of my music that I am as honest and as real as possible. But with the social media world live in it can be so easy to get distracted by what others are doing. We can feel we have to alter our path or our creativity because of what other artists are doing. It can be very challenging to block that out, but I am learning more and more the importance of doing what I need to do for my mental health and my creative process and sometimes that means putting other people on mute. It doesn’t mean I don’t support others, because I am a giant supporter of my peers in this industry but I am learning to not feel guilty about focusing on what I need sometimes above all else.
Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?
Nicole: I’ve learned that you can never wait for opportunity. I used to think that if you worked really hard and earned it that eventually opportunities would show up, but that isn’t always the case. I have stopped waiting for opportunities and starting creating them for myself.
This mindset change has led me to some of my most meaningful career highlights. One of my favourites happened last year when I created my own all-female drive-in festival, HarmoniaFest. I put my whole heart and soul into that project, I was determined to create an experience that gave more opportunity to women. Being able to pull it off and stand side by side on that stage with some incredible women was a moment I will never forget.
Kat: What’s next?
Nicole: I am definitely looking to release more music in 2021! It has obviously been more difficult to record due to the pandemic but I have plans in the works to record more new music with my producer Brian Howes this year and work towards a new EP.
Other than working on new music I am also working on more performance opportunities for women. I will be continuing my livestreaming show “All Woman Music” this year. Fans can tune in once a month on my Facebook page to enjoy live original music from all female lineups. I am also currently working on plans for another HarmoniaFest in 2021.
For more on Nicole Rayy visit: https://nicolerayy.com