On march 22nd, 2008, Corinne Bailey Rae received a devastating phone call.
Her husband of seven years, Jason Rae, was dead of an accidental drug overdose.
The British singer whose soulful 2006 debut sold nearly 2 million copies
went through months of paralyzing grief during which she did nothing
no songwriting or performing or working at all.
Every day felt like it lasted six months like this massive gaping time
that just went on and on and on, she says.
There were days when she wouldnt leave her apartment.
But eventually, strengthened by the support of her family and friends,
she says the misery brought a certain freedom.
I thought, I can absolutely be myself, says Rae.
I was just totally self-obsessed, talking about how I feel and what I was thinking
all the time.
Raes new LP, The Sea, benets from her openness.
When I was writing, I was singing whatever came out, she says.
From the very rst verse on an ethereal ballad called Are You Here,
you can hear the confusion, exhaustion and hurt in her voice.
We thought it was going to be this really underground album, says Rae.
But the success gave me more freedom.
I recognize that The Sea isn’t as poppy, and maybe it won’t do as well as the first record.
She had already written several of The Seas tunes in early 2008,
before Jason ODd on a combination of alcohol and methadone at a friends Leeds apartment.
At first, Rae says, she started working again to pass the hours sometimes shed show up
at the studio and just lie on the couch. But once she got engaged with the process, she got
really engaged. I wanted to run how it sounded, says the singer, who aimed for
a live-in-the-studio feel, so the record would resemble the music Rae actually listens to:
indie-folk singers like St. Vincent and Sufan Stevens.
Rae seems ready for the challenge of making herself vulnerable before her audience;
shes touring the U.S. this spring, playing Coachella and joining the reborn Lilith Fair
over the summer.
Her life, she realizes, has got to go on.
Theres still a big part of me that feels like, How can it be real? she says,
her eyes lling with tears. The fact that someone can just vanish is the strangest, strangest thing.
I cant believe its real. You want to say, When is it going to go back to normal?,
but it isnt going to go back to normal. Its going to be a dierent thing.
Corinne Bailey Rae – The Sea
01. Are You Here (4:12)
02. I’d Do It All Again (3:07)
03. Feels Like The First Time (3:13)
04. The Blackest Lily (3:37)
05. Closer (4:17)
06. Love’s On It’s Way (3:54)
07. I Would Like To Call It Beauty (4:18)
08. Paris Nights/New York Mornings (3:51)
09. Paper Dolls (3:20)
10. Diving For Hearts (4:50)
11. The Sea (4:04)