Our final Rising Star comes from our old ally, the United Kingdom. Don’t let her cute, petite appearance fool you, Raphaella has a big voice that is overflowing with soul. I had the absolute pleasure of catching up with the young star via Skype recently, here’s what she had to say…
Raphaella: I was born to a Persian dad and English/Scottish mum. I was born in Somerset, in the countryside. I lived with my grandparents at first and they are big artists and super musical. I would always be listening to their amazing record collection. I started playing violin at six and piano at seven. I did a music degree in popular music and graduated about two years ago now. Then amazingly signed my publishing bill last April. I’ve just been working since then, really hard.
BE: There’s a little story in your bio about your first experience with feedback from a teacher when you were four. Tell us a bit about that story.
R: I’ve always been a bit of a geek and have always loved music since I could remember. I was so excited for school because I loved music. I was looking forward to my school report because I loved music. I couldn’t wait to show my parents and be like, “Look! I did really well!” And all it read was one line, “You can sing in tune.” I was like, “Oh…okay.” I was really disappointed but at the time, I didn’t know that most four-year olds can’t sing in tune.
BE: It’s only gotten better from there. I’ve been listening to your latest EP, Idiot. Tell us a bit about what went into that and what your influences were?
R: It was the first thing that I’ve released. It was a combination of quite a bit of experimenting since I signed my publishing deal. It’s vast in terms of styles, you’ve got “Polaroid” which is a proper pop tune and then you’ve got “Delicate” and “Idiot” which are much more soulful and epic sounding. It was really an experiment of sounds as an artist and writer. I wanted to write stuff that was real and inspired by real life. I think we all feel like idiots a lot of the time, I know I do, so that’s where the inspiration for Idiot comes from.
BE: I love that change in sound, that experimentation. All of us here at Lemonade are digging the EP right now. I’ve noticed you’ve done a few covers, I think I’ve even seen a Justin Bieber cover. What are your favorite songs to play when you’re covering other artists?
R: I love covering “As Long As You Love Me” by Bieber is so different to my style, so I enjoy taking songs that are different than what I do and turning them into something that I can do. I really enjoy doing The Clash’s “I’m Not Down” because they’re punk and I did my dissertation on punk music, so it’s really fun to do.
BE: That would be awesome to see! You’re also working with quite the slew of writers. What is it like working with these well respected writers in the industry?
R: It’s amazing. I feel so lucky. I’ve been so blessed to be put with amazing writers. I’m actually new to writing. I’ve only been writing for just over a year. I’ve learned so much from working with different people. I went to Sweden in August for the first time and being in a different country inspires you in a whole different way.
BE: You also do a lot of charity work. Tell us a little about what you have going on with that in the near future.
R: I’’m an ambassador for two amazing charities, one is “Kid’s Camp” which is a UK youth-led charity. They take kind of issues from young people and take them to the government. I’’ve started up a campaign with them called “I Stand For” and I’m fronting it. We’re going around schools in the UK and it’s all about standing up to your peers for who and what you believe in. And I’ve written a song for the campaign as well, so that’s going to be fun.
I’m also an ambassador for “Global Angels” which is Molly Bedingfield’s charity. She is Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield’s mum so it’s kind of a music led charity, which is awesome. It works around the world with families in poverty. I’m running a 10k for that soon. So, yeah, I’m quite involved with both charities.
BE: There are a lot of fans here in the United States. Are you planning on doing any tours in the US?
R: That would be amazing. Definitely, hopefully soon! I’m headed to Spain soon, I know that’s not America, but it’s still the first time I’m performing outside the UK. I wrote a song last year and one of the biggest Spanish artists, Chenoa, caught it and loved my voice so much that she wants to do a duet. So she’s invited me on tour with her, which is so exciting! So hopefully, the next one will be in the States.
BE: There are a lot of other British artists that go back as far as The Beatles all the way to now with artists like Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran and once they click with the American audience, it really just takes off. What is it like from your point of view? How is it different? How do you view American music or British music coming over here?
R: I’m always so proud of the British music breaking through. There’s something different about our music. I’m always so happy when someone like Ed Sheeran hits number one. There’s a solidarity that we feel towards every musician. I know as a female vocalist, I’m so inspired by all the amazing artists. I think America has this thing where they always know how to put on a show. I’m always inspired watching Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson or Beyoncé. They are literally performers, not just artists. I love watching and learning from American music.
BE: So this EP is your first release. Do you have a full album release plans?
R: The plan is to release another EP towards the end of the year. I’m trying to think of cool, fun ways to do that. I’m thinking about using Persian instruments and going back to my roots. I’ve had some Persian musicians in the studio. Essentially they’ll be playing pop, western chords and riffs but on a completely different texture. So that’s what’s new and coming. I’m really excited about it.
For more on Raphaella check out her website: HERE and also check out her latest music video below!
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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