Rae Morris is Reborn on album number two, Someone Out There

Rae Morris
Rae Morris
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If you're going to come back with a whole new sound for your second album after a period of personal reinvention, calling your comeback single Reborn is a pretty clear statement of intent.

Rae Morris' debut album Unguarded was a collection of classy, often downbeat pop songs that hit the top 10 on its release in 2015.

By contrast, album number two, Someone Out There, released last month, is a much more in your face affair, loaded with gloriously catchy songs.

The Guide spoke with the singer-songwriter shortly after its release and found an artist obviously energised by the new direction.

'It’s been a crazy month. It’s been wonderful and I feel like I’ve been given a new lease of life with the album being out there. It feels like the beginning of a journey now.'

As she did with her debut, Rae worked closely with Benjamin Garrett, also known as the art-pop act FrYars. But did she conciously look to change her sound?

'It all began with a lot of conversations as I re-entered the songwriting process. On the road, i’d got quite used to performing the songs from Unguarded and you get so wrapped in those songs in that era and that time, I wanted to write songs that were more reflective of where I was.
'Those songs on the first album were songs that I’d been writing since I was 17. I think a lot of people have the same thing, you move forward, but the songs still exist as they were when they were written, so you have to honour them.

'But my tastes had changed, and I think the direction I went with for Someone Out There is a reflection of being in the studio and throwing everything at the wall and not holding back in any way at all and just being completely free.

'There was a point where we went, okay that’s a good direction, that feels really natural.'

Unguarded also covered the break-up of a previous relationship with someone who had also been something of a mentor to Rae. Someone Out There finds Rae writing about being single, and ultimately in a new relationship – with none other than FrYars.

'It’s nice to sing about something positive and I think this album generally is very positive and happy, and a reflection of a happy time

'It wasn’t like I saw trying to show anything off, particularly with [recent single] Do It, that was happening at the time and that felt really fun and interesting and exciting to give people a glimpse into a situation that was happening live.

'With today’s pop music, it feels important not to hold anything back, and that song has a kind of humorous element to it with it being kind of a part two of the song Cold [a duet with FrYars] from Unguarded. So I guess for people who dissect the lyrics and listen to it a little bit closer, there are references to that song from the first album.

'It’s a lot lighter than the first record, and I think that reflects my personality a bit more accurately. I don’t take myself seriously the whole time, and it was nice to be able to inject that into the music.

'I like to think of them as little snapshots into different sides to my personality and character and one day I’m on a night out and very single - that’s the scene in Atletico, then Reborn is reflective of feeling really strong and empowered and wanting to make a complete change.'

Elsewhere Rae was reported to have said she had written 100 songs for this album.

'It might have been a slight exaggeration, to be honest,' she giggles. 'There are definitely, I’d say, 10 songs that are still really relevant and good, and were quite hard to discard that I’d like to keep to one side and put out at some point in the next 18 months or so.

'With the way music is working right now, you don’t have to stick to the traditional way of releasing albums, even though that is my true love, and I absolutely love and respect the full record, but I think it’s totally exciting and cool to give fans music a bit more regularly, which might be something I do. But I have no official plans for those songs.'

Given the speed today's pop culture moves at, was she ever worried about leaving it more than three years between albums one and two?

'It felt like the perfect amount of time because I did a full year of touring Unguarded, with no creative process really – and I slightly regret not keeping that going, I struggled with being creative while on the road, it’s something I haven’t quite figured out how to get right yet.

'Then the whole of 2016 and 2017 were focused on making the record and I think I really needed that time and i wouldn’t have wanted to put anything out sooner.

'When we put Reborn out mid-2017, it felt like the perfect time. I felt ready.'

And those who saw Rae on her last tour might notice a change this time around.

'It is a little bit different,' she admits. 'That whole year of touring the first album was really useful and wonderful and I really got to grips with the idea of being on stage and being a performer rather than just a musician, that was one thing. 

'But my confidence has grown quite a lot and having material I want to move and dance to, I definitely move around the stage a lot more, and movement has become a bigger part of what I do. It’s really enjoyable for me, so I hope it adds an extra element for the audience too.'

The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Monday, March 19