Corinne Bailey Rae

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Corinne Bailey Rae
Bailey Rae in 2019
Bailey Rae in 2019
Background information
Birth nameCorinne Jacqueline Bailey
Born (1979-02-26) 26 February 1979 (age 45)
Leeds, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • percussion
  • bass
Years active1998–present

Corinne Jacqueline Bailey Rae (/kəˈrɪn ˈbli ˈr/; born 26 February 1979)[3] is an English singer and songwriter. She is best known for her 2006 single "Put Your Records On". Bailey Rae was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2006 in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2006.[4] She released her debut album, Corinne Bailey Rae, in February 2006, and became the fourth female British act in history to have her first album debut at number one.[5] In 2007, Bailey Rae was nominated for three Grammy Awards and three Brit Awards, and won two MOBO Awards. In 2008, she won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year (for her work as a featured artist in Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters).[6]

Bailey Rae released her second album, The Sea, on 26 January 2010, after a hiatus of almost three years. It was produced by Steve Brown and Steve Chrisanthou (who produced her debut album in 2006).[7][8] She was nominated for the 2010 Mercury Prize for Album of the Year. In 2012, she won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance for "Is This Love" (a cover of the Bob Marley and the Wailers song of the same name).[9] Bailey Rae was married to fellow musician Jason Rae from 2001 until his death from an accidental overdose of methadone and alcohol in 2008; she channelled the grief of his loss into her music.[10] Her first two albums have together sold over five million copies worldwide.[citation needed]

On 26 February 2016, Bailey Rae announced her third album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers, which was released on 13 May 2016. The Heart Speaks in Whispers debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's R&B chart.[11]

Early life[edit]

Bailey Rae was born in Leeds, England. Her father is from Saint Kitts and Nevis, and her mother, Linda, is English, although they separated when she was a child. She is the eldest of three daughters. Her siblings include Candice Bailey, and actress Rhea Bailey.[12]

Bailey Rae began her musical career at school, where she studied classical violin before turning her attention to singing. Some of her earliest vocal performance experiences took place at a Plymouth Brethren church. Bailey Rae later transferred to a Baptist church, where the youth leader also coached rock bands in the local high school.[12][13] The church's young people wrote their own worship songs and sang covers of songs by Primal Scream. She recorded two albums with the worship ministry youth group, under the name "Revive."[14] Performing in church broadened Bailey Rae's musical horizons, and her love for making music was solidified after the church youth leader offered to lend her the money to buy her first guitar. In her mid-teens, she was influenced by Lenny Kravitz, also exploring rock through listening to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

Bailey Rae studied English language and literature at the University of Leeds, where she graduated in 2000.

Music career[edit]

1998–2003: Beginnings[edit]

Bailey Rae formed an indie group called Helen, which was inspired by similar acts such as Veruca Salt and L7. "It was the first time I'd seen women with guitars. They were kinda sexy—but feminist. I wanted to be like that, at the front of something."[15] The group played many gigs around Leeds and, whilst unable to attract offers from any UK labels, were eventually approached by US-based heavy metal record label Roadrunner Records, home to acts such as Slipknot, in 1998. This deal disappeared before it was even signed, however, after the bassist became pregnant and the group disbanded. "[Was I] Disappointed? I was gutted! I had no idea what to do next."

In the three years after she married her first husband, Bailey Rae began working on solo material—this time steering away from her indie past and embarking on a more "soulful" path. She collaborated with Leeds-based funk group the New Mastersounds on the track "Your Love Is Mine", which featured on their 2003 album Be Yourself, released by One Note Records. The following year she again worked with another Leeds-based group, Home cut Directive, on the song "Come the Revolution", which was the first single from that group's debut album.

2004–2008: Corinne Bailey Rae[edit]

Bailey Rae performing live at the V Festival in August 2007

In 2004, Bailey Rae got a breakthrough when she was signed by Global Talent Publishing and then approached by Craig David's mentor Mark Hill, from the duo the Artful Dodger, to appear on his new album better luck next time under his new alias, the stiX. The resulting collaboration, "Young and Foolish", was released in April 2005 and brought Bailey Rae to the attention of the major record label bosses.

Bailey Rae released her debut single, "Like a Star", in November 2005 and her first album, Corinne Bailey Rae, in February 2006. It debuted at number one in the UK and entered the top ten of the U.S. Billboard 200, peaking at number four and spending 71 weeks in the chart from 2006 to 2008. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album sold 1.9 million copies in the United States alone.[16]

The lead single, "Like a Star" became a hit in the UK and US, and sold over 327,000 US downloads. The follow-up single "Put Your Records On", her biggest hit to date, rose to number two in the UK, and sold over 945,000 US downloads. "Trouble Sleeping" made the top forty, and "I'd Like To", the top seventy. In the middle of 2006, Bailey Rae embarked on her first international tour through Europe and North America with R&B singer John Legend, playing 55 shows including the festivals Rock in Rio Lisboa 2 and Live Earth. In early April 2006, Corinne Bailey Rae was certified 2× platinum by the BPI[17] and platinum by the RIAA in December.[18] In September 2006, Bailey Rae scooped two awards at the UK's MOBO Awards: "Best UK Newcomer" and "Best UK Female". Bailey Rae recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios in July 2006 for Live from Abbey Road.

Bailey Rae was the musical guest in a 2006 episode of Saturday Night Live with the host being Jaime Pressly. She performed "Put Your Records On" and "Like a Star". She also appeared on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on the episode "B-12", which aired in November 2006, with Howie Mandel. She performed "Like a Star" and "Trouble Sleeping". Also in 2006, Bailey Rae performed on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge with the songs "Like a Star", a cover version of Editors' "Munich", and a cover version of Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack".[19]

Bailey Rae also received three nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year (both for "Put Your Records On"), and Best New Artist. During the ceremony, she performed "Like a Star" and joined John Legend and John Mayer in a collaborative performance, providing accompanying vocals to Legend's "Coming Home" and Mayer's "Gravity".[20]

Also in 2007, Bailey Rae accepted an invitation to participate in Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard Records), where she contributed her version of Domino's "One Night (of Sin)". She also recorded John Lennon's "I'm Losing You" for Make Some Noise, Amnesty International's music venture. The song was also released on the 2007 John Lennon tribute album, "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur". In July of that year, Bailey Rae performed at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.

In 2008, "Like a Star" was nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year. Bailey Rae won in two categories for Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Jazz Album for her collaboration on River: The Joni Letters. Also in 2008, she recorded a live session of "River" with Hancock at Abbey Road Studios in for Live from Abbey Road for Channel 4 which was broadcast on Series 2.[21]

During the American and European tour, Bailey Rae recorded her first DVD with the title Live in London & New York. The DVD was filmed in London and the bonus CD was recorded in New York.

2009–2011: The Sea and The Love EP[edit]

Bailey Rae performing at Le Divan du Monde, 2010
Bailey Rae performing live in 2006

Corinne Bailey Rae released her new album, entitled The Sea, on 26 January 2010,[22] four years after the release of her first album and almost two years after the death of her husband, Jason Rae.[23] The lead single "I'd Do It All Again" premiered on 25 November 2009 on Later... with Jools Holland.[24] The follow-up single, ‘Closer’, was added to Smooth Jazz Radio on 25 January, Urban AC on 1 February and AC radio in late February. The album's second single, ‘Paris Nights and New York Mornings’, went to Triple-A radio on 15 February.[25] Around the release of the second album Bailey Rae did a run of promotional shows in the UK, Europe and US and embarked on her second world tour, The Sea Tour, with 82 concerts and a gross profit of US$19 million. The tour visited the UK, Europe, the US (Spring and Summer), Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the Middle East. The tour began on 27 February 2010 in London and her last show was on 10 March 2011 in Korea. Her summer concert in London at Somerset House sold out, and she returned to London in October to perform at the Royal Festival Hall with Pete Lawrie as a supporting act.

In December 2009 Bailey Rae recorded a live performance in New York City, which was broadcast in the summer of 2010 on the US television program Live From the Artists Den.[26]

On 2 June 2010 Bailey Rae appeared with Herbie Hancock, singing "Blackbird" in a concert honouring Paul McCartney in the East Room of the White House.[27]

On 25 January 2011 Bailey Rae released an EP, The Love EP, with five recordings of love songs, including Prince's "I Wanna Be Your Lover", Bob Marley's "Is This Love" and Paul McCartney & Wings' "My Love". The EP debuted at number 86 on the Billboard 200 and still managed the Top 20 in Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The EP has sold 15,000 copies in the U.S. The first single, "Is This Love", won Best R&B Performance at 54th Grammy Awards.

Bailey Rae was a musical guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 28 October 2010, covering the Bob Marley song "Is This Love".

On 14 July 2011 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Leeds, where she had studied as an undergraduate.

During an interview for the 2011 Mercury Awards Bailey Rae revealed she was writing a follow-up album to her critically acclaimed The Sea. She has uploaded many photos of herself in various studios recording music for the new album to her social media accounts.

In 2013, Bailey Rae was moved from Capitol Records to Virgin Records owing to corporate restructuring as a result of their parent company being purchased by Universal Music Group in 2012.

2016–present: The Heart Speaks in Whispers, "The Scientist" (Fifty Shades Darker), SummerStage and tour[edit]

Bailey Rae in 2016

On 14 February 2016, Bailey Rae presented her comeback into music by sharing a snippet of her new single. On 26 February, Bailey Rae announced the title of her third album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers, which was released on 13 May 2016. The lead single off the album, "Been to the Moon", was also released.

The Heart Speaks in Whispers debuted No. 2 on Billboard's R&B chart.[28] Featuring "Been to the Moon", "The Skies Will Break" and "Green Aphrodisiac", NPR named it one of their favourite 30 albums of the year.[11]

Recorded both at her studio in Leeds and in Los Angeles at Capitol Studios, the album was co-produced by Bailey Rae with Steve Brown, who collaborated on her critically acclaimed 2010 album The Sea,[29] and features Paris and Amber Strother (KING), Esperanza Spalding, James Gadson Bill Withers, Pino Palladino (D'Angelo and The Vanguard), and Marcus Miller (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Luther Vandross).[30]

Bailey Rae was selected by NASA for the DESTINATION: JUPITER campaign when Juno (spacecraft) entered Jupiter's orbit on 5 July 2016;[31] represented Europe for the International Olympic Committee's PSA Campaign;[32] performed at various festivals in the UK and Europe, including Glastonbury;[33] and was special guest supporting Stevie Wonder at his Hyde Park, London concert.[34] President Barack Obama featured "Green Aphrodisiac" on his Spotify Summer "Night" Playlist.[35]

On 17 November 2016, Bailey Rae joined other artists in tributes to Smokey Robinson at his 2016 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize award ceremony in Washington D.C.; she sang "Ooo Baby Baby".[36]

In 2017, Corinne Bailey Rae recorded "The Scientist" (originally recorded by Coldplay) for the opening title sequence for Universal Pictures' Fifty Shades Darker[37] which opened 10 February.[38] The track is featured on the Fifty Shades Darker Soundtrack, which released the same day.[39]

In 2019, Bailey Rae was scheduled to perform on the main Center Park space at Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage festival in Central Park in June, along with Emily King, Big Freedia and other artists.[40] She toured the UK, Europe and US during the same year, beginning from 2 June to 18 November.[41]

Bailey Rae was invited to contribute a selection to a Tom Waits tribute album that was released in late 2019, Come On Up to the House: Women Sing Waits. She chose to record "Jersey Girl", which is also associated with Bruce Springsteen who covered the song in 1984.[42]

2023-present: Black Rainbows[edit]

On 19 June 2023, Bailey Rae announced Black Rainbows, her first album in seven years. The album was inspired by her experiences with the Stony Island Arts Bank, a Chicago-based archive of Black art and culture curated by artist and professor Theaster Gates.[43] The album was released on 15 September 2023.[44]

Other ventures[edit]

"Like a Star" is part of the soundtracks of several films, series and soap operas, such as Dynasty, Cashmere Mafia, 27 Dresses, Men in Trees, Nancy Drew, Perfect Stranger, Medium, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Venus, Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds and Sete Pecados. "Put Your Records On" appears in the 6th episode of the series By Any Means.

In the film Venus, six songs from the debut album were included on the soundtrack of the film, which are "I'd Like To", "Another Rainy Day", "Choux Pastry Heart", "Put Your Records On", "Like a Star", and "Breathless".

The song "I'd Like To", from Bailey Rae's debut album, was also featured in the soundtrack for the movie He's Just Not That Into You (2009). It can also be heard on an episode of CSI:NY. Her song "Lucky One" is the title theme for Stan Lee's Lucky Man, a 2016 production for Sky 1 television in the U.K.

Bailey Rae is the special ambassador for the charity Cord.[45] She is also the central ambassador for the international water and sanitation charity Pump Aid. In September 2012, she was featured in a campaign called "30 Songs/30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book.[46]

Personal life[edit]

While at university, she worked in the evening as a cloakroom attendant at her local jazz club, where she met Scotsman Jason Rae.[47] When she married Rae in 2001 at the age of 22 she changed her name to Bailey Rae.[48] Jason Rae (1976–2008), a musician, played saxophone for the eight-piece group called Haggis Horns.[49] He also recorded on albums with his wife, Amy Winehouse, the New Mastersounds and Martina Topley-Bird (Quixotic).

On 22 March 2008, Jason Rae was found dead in a flat in the Hyde Park area of Leeds.[50] In December 2008, Leeds Coroner's Court gave a verdict of death by misadventure and stated that Rae had died of an accidental overdose of methadone and alcohol.[51] The methadone had been prescribed to a friend who was recovering from an addiction to heroin.[23] Corinne said the experience was the closest she had come to death herself, because it was challenging to keep in life at the time.[52]

In 2013, Bailey Rae married her longtime friend, producer and jazz musician Steve Brown.[53] The couple have two daughters,[54][55][56] and live in Leeds.[52]



List of television credits
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Saturday Night Live Herself / Musical Guest "Jaime Pressly/Corinne Bailey Rae" (Season 32, Episode 2)
2006 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Herself "B-12" (Season 1, Episode 10, uncredited)
2006 Austin City Limits Herself / Musical Guest "Corinne Bailey Rae / KT Tunstall" (Season 32 Episode 8)
2011 Project Runway Herself/Audience "Finale Part Two" (Season 9, Episode 14)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Bailey Rae has won two awards from six nominations. She won Album of the Year as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters.[6]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2007 Corinne Bailey Rae Best New Artist Nominated
"Put Your Records On" Record of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
2008 "Like a Star" Nominated
River: The Joni Letters (featured artist) Album of the Year Won
2012 "Is This Love" Best R&B Performance Won

Other awards and nominations[edit]

Year Result Award Category Nominated Work
2006 Nominated BET Awards BET J Cool Like Dat Award General
Nominated MTV Europe Music Awards Best UK & Ireland Act General
Nominated MTV Woodie Awards International Woodie (Favorite International Artist) General
Nominated UK Festival Music Awards Best Urban Act General
Nominated Premios 40 Principales Mejor Artista Nuevo Internacional General
Nominated MOBO Awards Best Song "Put Your Records On"
Won Best UK Female General
Won Best UK Newcomer General
Won MOJO Awards Best New Act General
Won Q Awards Best New Act General
Won Sound of... Sound of 2006 General
2007 Nominated BET Awards Best New Artist General
Nominated Best Female R&B Artist General
Nominated BRIT Award Best British Single "Put Your Records On"
Nominated British Female Artist General
Nominated British Breakthrough Act General
Nominated Teen Choice Awards Best Female Breakthrough Artist General
Nominated ECHO Awards International Newcomer of the Year General
Nominated Ivor Novello Awards PRS Most Performed Work General
Nominated MOBO Awards Best UK Female General
Nominated NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Album Corinne Bailey Rae
Nominated Outstanding Female Artist General
Won Outstanding New Artist General
Won Music Week Awards International Marketing Campaign of the Year General
Won European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) United Kingdom General
Nominated Kickers Urban Music Award Best Neo Soul Act Corinne Bailey Rae
Nominated Best Crossover Chart Act General
Nominated Urban Music Awards Best Neo Soul Act General
Won BMI Pop Awards Song of the Year "Put Your Records On"
2010 Nominated Mercury Prize Album of the Year The Sea
Nominated Q Awards Best Female Act Corinne Bailey Rae
Nominated MOBO Awards Best UK R&B Soul Act Act Corinne Bailey Rae
Nominated American Smooth Jazz Awards Best Female Act Corinne Bailey Rae
Nominated BET Awards Best International Act Corinne Bailey Rae
Nominated Soul Train Music Awards Centric Award Corinne Bailey Rae


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External links[edit]