A Chat With Cillia Raie – Longtime
Drake And Morgan Kings Cross
Sophie (Music in Motion PR) held a press day and after a couple years of following, an email interview and some instagram interactions I finally got to meet the lovely RnB singer/songwriter Cilla Raie!
Sam: Tell me a bit about you, where did you grow up and how did you get started in music?
CR: I started professionally at 14 years old, mainly as a hobby trying to figure things out, running around trying to get seen, going to auditions and talent shows, the first time I got noticed and picked up was DaV-inche – an amazing Grime producer (credits Stormzy, Skepta, Wiley) he actually reached out to me via Myspace! Just randomly reached out to me, I had put out a song that was produced by my brother, it was a rough recording on my laptop I wasn’t going to a studio at that time. he was like you’re a really good writer, a really good singer songwriter, come down to the studio! I remember just going to the studio and at the time he was managed by Jackie Davison MBE who now works at PPL and they just mentored me for a couple years, feeling me out, teaching me how to write, sing and how to sing in the studio and use my voice. From there I was like let me start doing this properly so I started looking for management. I had a few managers along the way that weren’t necessarily the best situations, nothing towards them specifically but not going in the directions towards image and branding, one of the managers was like your singing is alright but lets do the songwriting, so it was more distracting and deteriorating so I moved off from that. I figured let me stick with Teriy Keys, he’s a personal family friend, but also in the industry he used to be an artist under Dizzee Rascal‘s label.
Sam: I met him back in the day when he was working with Dizzee Rascal and he was very on point, so when I saw he was managing you I was excited like thats crazy Teriy Keys is managing Cilla Raie now?!
CR: Yeah hes been about and I’ve known him for ages, he’s friends with my brother so I was like you know what I cant trust anybody else, people are trying to steer me in the wrong direction, can you manage me? He was like yeah of course, so from there we built up a business relationship and put out my first EP in 2014, we did a launch party and loads of people came down, I was like wait there were so many influential people there- Sian Anderson, Tim Westwood was at the back and it was held at visions!
Sam: OMG Visions in Dalston?!
CR: Yesss, it was crazy and it was incredible the whole venue was packed out. after that I took a break as I had my son, naturally I just took time out to focus on him and be a mum and was trying to figure out how to continue doing music because as an independent artist I couldn’t continue paying for things out my own pocket so we had to figure it out. I looked at all the resources that are out there, Ask England and National Lottery lets go to them and they provided funding and thats what kicked off the motives campaign. it allowed me to be able to shoot videos at a better standard, better marketing, hiring PR and just be able to do things at a higher standard. Today I have Help Musicians and MOBOS that are funding this project and its been nothing but blessings.
Sam: Thats brilliant! At that time when you had your son did you feel pushed back or was you more like ok this doesn’t change a thing my passion is music?
CR: Erm both, I felt pushed back, I was pregnant at a young age, 24 and generally people were like ok you have a child now you NEED to sit back.
Sam: Sounds like that’s more of the outside pushing stereotypical judgements and expectations on you?
CR: Yeah that stereotypical thing of your a mum now you need to focus on your child and chill, and you know in the music industry your up out crazy hours and in different places all the time, it’s not a 9-5 job and obviously with a child its normal to be like ok I have to focus on my child and relax but on the other hand I was kind of like I don’t want to be one of those single mums that sits at home all day or just goes to work and comes home and thats my life. I’ve never been that type of person, I was like I’m gonna go for this and I am an example for my child, I want my child to know that I didn’t stop there I kept going. Especially because I am a single mum, its just me and him, his dad isn’t involved, so I gotta do something and I’ve gotta make a way and I don’t want my son to ever sit there and think oh my mum gave up because its just me and her.
Sam: I rate that, highly, thats what I was trying to get out of you because it’s so easy to give in to that stereotype of what were supposed to do but I wanted to know how and why you said ‘Nah I’m not doing that, I’m going for it’
CR: Its soooo easy to fall into that trap of ok I have to focus on my child, and essentially yeah I did want to focus on my child and I do have to, so I took those 2/3 years to focus on him and not the music. But eventually it’s like they’re gonna grow up and have their own lives and then what am I going to be left with, I want to be out here and be active in music and know that I am doing something that is not just for me but for him as well.
Sam: Thank you for sharing that with me, did those experiences then contribute to what the new single ‘Longtime’ is about?
CR: Yeah, aesthetically and sonically with the song, it represents growth and I knew that I wanted a sound that was a bit more maturer, I want it to be grown, mature, sexy and vibey but still classy, so I wanted to create something that was a bit more musical and authentic. I had the guitarist who came in and recorded instead of using laptop production and as far as the writing and topic itself goes – its about thinking about that someone from time to time, you might not necessarily want that person back in a relationship but you might have a longing for someone you dealt with before and you know sometimes you get thoughts, and wonder if that person is thinking about you, it’s generally RnB, a love song.
Sam: Yeah it really does have a classic RnB vibe about it, I get that.
CR: Yeah, everything had to mesh well and to me its like yeah it does represent a new era of growth and even my last project, majority of the songs were written before my son was born. My last project was quite playful and bright but all of this right now is more mature and in the now.
Sam: So you can really listen and hear the growth from that project to this new single, thats amazing! Do you have a video for ‘longtime’?
CR: Yes its out on Friday! I’m so proud and i’m geeking! Its probably one of the best videos I’ve ever done! Fortunately with the Help Musicians and MOBOs I’ve been able to work with a videographer I really wanted to work with, Jay Parpworth! He has done so many videos with different artists and I was like this guy here! Yeah I have to work with this guy and now finally I’ve been able to work with him! When I tell you, from start to finish from the treatment of the video with Shaznay who’s a producer as well, all the way up until the end to the last edit, it was the most easiest and most amazing video I’ve done so far! They built the set from scratch, a whole living room with wallpaper and things like that it was really enjoyable and they went all out, I am so grateful!
Sam: Ok I’m looking forward to seeing it, and to have a video go with a song that gives me serious RnB throwback vibes is exciting! I feel like I don’t hear a vibe or track like this unless i’m playing an old skool RnB playlist. Do you have any shows or performances coming up?
CR: Yes! I have a show with kindred coming up, were still figuring out the dates but it’s going to happen April/May and its like a mini headline show, I’m going to do a long set about 20-30 minutes and thats a lot of songs and its all confirmed. Im keeping myself open to anything else that comes up.
Sam: So whats the plan for the rest of 2022, shows and performances but do you have a full project coming?
CR: So I spent the whole of January working on and finishing this current project, it’s finished, finito! it’s finalised and ready to go. ‘Longtime’ is the first single from the project to come out and my second single ‘Living’ will be coming soon – I haven’t told anyone else about that so – Exclusive!! The project will hopefully drop early or mid summer.
The project continues with the vintage aesthetic RnB feel, but it’s different a lot of the songs have a Grime/Drilly element. its RnB predominantly but thats the vibe.
Sam: This sounds right up my street keep me updated with everything your dropping! Is there anything else you’ve been up to alongside music?
CR: I worked on a podcast with “Bad Ass Mums“, I’m actually so passionate about this! It’s run by Shahla and Tneek and they run this platform/podcast thats all about mums in the industry, not just specifically music but they have had women like BBC 1Xtra’s Nadia Jae and MYBLAQBOOK founder Brenda Juliet on it and have conversations with mums so I just want to shout them out! I’m on one of the upcoming episodes of that!
I have a strong passion for women who are representing other women, and especially women that represent working mums, single mothers and I’ve been working a lot with women based platforms, I’m a rep for the “F List” which is like a directory/dictionary for women and everyone female in the industry whether you’re an artist/exec/A&R/musician… It’s all women. Its super hard being a woman in this industry and I know that there are women that feel stuck deflated or down so I just want to bring awareness to these amazing platforms and big up women!
Sam: We are definitely including this, it’s quite near to my heart too and I believe women should definitely be uplifting other women wherever and however they can, it’s really not easy in this industry and even just being a mother is hard, I see my sister raising three kids and putting them all before herself I honestly have so much respect for any woman raising children that just try to do their best and make a way forward. Big ratings and respect to you Cilla and thank you for having a chat with me!
‘Longtime’ is out now so have a listen above and follow @CillaRaie
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Stay safe, stay sexy and take care,
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