I had the pleasure of seeing Ray BLK live a few weeks ago and it completely blew my mind. Prior to the gig, I had only heard her singles ‘Talk To Me’ which cleverly interpolates Alicia Keys’ ‘You Don’t Know My Name’ over a subtle R&B groove and the cutting Aston Rudi produced ‘50/50‘ where she tells an inadequate lover “To get off her line” because he’s not putting his all into their relationship. She has such a unique tone which she is able to change up effortlessly to suit the vibe of her songs which have an undeniable British feel.
Ray Blk successfully managed to sell out her first headline show at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen which had a mixed crowd of males and females, demonstrating how broad her connection is. I always enjoy the moment just before a musician comes on stage and you get a real buzz because you’ve just gone from listening to their songs to seeing them right in front of your eyes. Kojey Radical comically hosted the night and was excited as we were, so when she appeared and the crowd went wild, it was a real great moment.
The intimate space brilliantly showcased her varied songs and incredible voice that was faultless live. There was definitely no miming going on, just Ray Blk, a mic and her groovy three piece all male band which allowed their pure talent to shine.
She mostly performed songs from her upcoming EP which the crowd had not heard yet. This was not an issue because each song had a relatable vibe that had everybody dancing along when the tempo was up and when she slowed down the beats, we were all still in the palm of her hands. She gave major throwback 90s R&B vibes when she covered Sunshine Anderson’s ‘Heard It All Before’ and did a wicked mash up of Wyclef Jean and Mary J Blige’s ‘911’, and Rihanna’s ‘Man Down’ which had the crowd on such a high.
Her special guests included rising MC Avelino who joined her for a mellow number that she put out to the crowd to help her name. Also, to everyone’s surprise Stormzy came out for her new single ‘My Hood’ which celebrates their south London roots and she rightly said imagine “you just paid £8 for this gig and you’ve seen Stormzy”. Madness!
You could really tell she was enjoying herself on stage and having her girl squad at the front going crazy for her was really endearing. I remember she said to the crowd halfway through “Swear down you guys came to hear me sing!” which was really nice to hear because it’s like she doesn’t realise how great she is. Especially because in the U.K there is a real lack of black female singers being given the appreciation they deserve, I’m really happy to see Ray BLK coming up with such a refreshing vibe.
This has to be one of my favourite gigs I’ve ever been too. I remember thinking throughout the night as she moved on the stage with such confidence that this is a talent that deserves to be seen on bigger stages in the U.K. and around the world, she’s that good. I’m sure it will happen and in the meantime closely watch this British R&B star represent herself and her South London roots in a way no other artist is doing at the moment.
Check out her new single ‘My Hood’ featuring Stormzy