8th July 2016
at The Musician
by Pascal Pereira
A charity fundraising evening to raise the awareness for the palliative care charity was held on the 8th of July at The Musician. The evening was hosted by Irene Rae, a well known singer and multi-instrumentalist from the Midlands, who shared the stage with other artists Ross Alexander and the duo HazeyJane.
MIL was there and interviewed Irene Rae who was the main act of the evening. Her presence on stage was predominantly characterised by her powerful but yet delicate vocals mostly driven by the emotions from her songs which the singer relates to funny stories about her life experiences. Irene was accompanied on stage by Stuart Dixon on guitar and Steve ‘Muzzy’ Musgrove on electric double bass.
Below is a Q&A with the amazing Irene Rae.
MIL: Who is Irene Rae?
Irene: I’m a trained actress, who sings and dances and started life out wanting to be in Musical Theatre…then I wanted to write and not just sing other people’s songs – so I taught myself how to play guitar and went from there. I don’t think you ever really choose to be something – I believe that you either are or you are not a certain art. I can’t really draw – however hard I tried… in between times I was a Business Development manager, Marketing consultant and Sales Manager. I have a lot of hats!
MIL: How would you define your music?
Irene: I not too keen on Pigeon holes for music – but the label that the industry will put on my music is acoustic, pop, country, I guess. I just see it more as me being honest. I’m not trying to be anyone else – I just try to write what is in my heart and the tunes that are in my head.
MIL: What are your musical influences?
Irene: All sorts of music. I love Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant and a few other quite obvious female singers but I adore listening to all kinds of music from the 1920s through to metal.
MIL: What makes a good vocalist? Do you describe yourself as a good vocalist?
Irene: I still learning my trade. I wouldn’t say I am there yet as I hope to never truly be there. I feel it is a sad
moment when you believe you are great at something – because you close yourself down to adapting and learning. I listen to my body, I try new techniques and I concentrate on making my own sound without hurting or stressing my vocal chords. I always sing from the heart and from the depths of me – If I’m watching or listening to a singer – I like to hear their unique sound, not a copy of Amy Winehouse or Stevie Wonder (or any of the greats) to be true to your own sound makes a good singer in my books. I’m also a musician as I play instruments and write my own music – so that takes up a lot of time too – and vocals are only half of the battle for me.
MIL: If you could dabble in another genre of music what would it be?
Irene: I’d love to be able to front a really heavy rock band, something real kick-ass.
MIL: It is said that a good song has got a beautiful melody and lyrics which will linger for long on the minds of people. What are your views?
Irene: It’s art and art is subjective. Some of my favourtie songs have catchy melodies and others do not and are simpler, more raw in their delivery. If it touches you and you enjoy it – then it’s a good song for you.
MIL: What is the part you enjoy the most in your song writing process and what inspires you when you are writing a song?
Irene: The part I enjoy the most is the coming together of the elements and realizing that it was the song you had always imagined. I never start out to write a love song or a song about something in particular – but once it is completed it is always the song that covers the issues I am thinking about the most.
MIL: What embarrassing song might I find on your mp3 player?
Irene: Loads! Hanson, bop maybe or… I have a massive fascination with Michael Bolton.
MIL: What do you think of the music of today in general? Preference for any singer(s)/band(s)? and why?
Irene: I wish they would ban autotune. It is the drug of our sport – if you can not deliver the line in tune and correctly then you shouldn’t be singing it. Whole careers have been forged on autotune and real musicians and vocalists out there do not get a look in. The imperfections are where the beauty lies for me. As far as acts go at the moment – I am stuck in the past listing to the greats Carol King, James Taylor etc at the moment – I need to get up to date.
MIL: Any advice to aspiring vocalists?
Irene: Just keep practicing your trade, look after your vocal chords as they are irreplaceable, singing lessons and find out what your real voice is. Do not simply copy your heroes.
MIL: What other talents do you have?
Irene: I dance Lindy Hop and am a mad keen baker. I would love to own a bakery one day.
MIL: How do you reconcile your life as an acoustic artist touring the country and your personal life? Does being a
musician make it hard at times or vice versa?
Irene: My real friends fully support my work as an acoustic artist and understand my time away – those who do not – as simply not real friends. My partner is also a musician who tours regularly so we understand each other and enjoy each others company when we are together at home. It does help that he is also now my guitarist and producer since we got together – so we work together well and get to spend time together too.
MIL: Last but not least, what are your future plans regarding your musical career?
Irene: Keep on keeping on. I have been very fortunate with the amount of gigs I have had in the past year and hope it conitunes that way. I hope to keep gaining audience members and friends and just enjoying this crazy and amazing career.
For more information about Irene Rae, her music and future gigs, please visit her website.