Scroll down the list of names she’s previously collaborated with, and you would probably expect 21-year-old Rae Morris to be the kind of twee indie-pop singer-songwriter typically favored by mobile phone commercials.
But despite production from the likes of Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink and London troubadour Fryars respectively, her first few singles (“Don’t Go”, “Grow,” “From Above”) showed that Morris was a much more intriguing proposition. And after providing backing vocals on three tracks from Bombay Bicycle Club’s UK number one album, So Long, See You Tomorrow, Morris has continued to establish herself as a chameleon-like artist.
Current single “Under The Shadows” is a haunting otherworldly alt-pop number which recalls Kate Bush at her Hounds of Love commercial peak. “Closer” is a stylish R&B jam which evokes Mariah Carey’s 90s classic, “Fantasy,” while “Do You Even Know?” is a sublime piece of slow-burning synth-pop underpinned by a creeping bassline which could have been lifted from a 60s espionage film.
Morris, who first began performing in a high school band covering Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pixies songs, and cites PJ Harvey, Feist and Dusty Springfield as major inspirations, has also further showcased her eclectic streak with a guest spot on classical-electro quartet Clean Bandit’s debut album, New Eyes, (“Up Again”) and a beautifully melancholic duet with Fryars (“Cold”).
Born and raised in the seaside town of Blackpool in North England, Morris only began to pursue a career in music after watching fellow local singer Kareem Francis perform on the BBC’s flagship music show, Later with Jools Holland.
Realising that her unglamorous hometown wasn’t a barrier to success, she subsequently landed a deal with Atlantic Records, supported Bombay Bicycle Club and George Ezra on their UK tours, and hooked up with superstar producer Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, Vampire Weekend, Diplo) to record her debut album.
To be released later this month, Unguarded is a bewitching collection of subtle synth-led gems which suggests that 2015 could well be Rae Morris’ year.