London’s Peri Rae: In between fated stories and festival stages
From the moment you discover the talent that is Peri Rae, you are instantly intrigued, spellbound even. Not only because of her distinctive silken sound but because of her formidable drive, tenacity and ambition. Her dedication to music started from the tender age of 12, when she picked up her first guitar, going on to achieve grade 8 classical training. At first it looked like musical theatre was the path she would navigate, but luckily for us, the freedom that making her own music offered meant her sights were firmly set on becoming a successful Indie artist and that’s exactly what she is.
Most recently Peri has played at the Bedford River Festival on the BBC introducing stage, which she describes as the ‘best day of her life’. We have to agree, that accolade and opportunity is extremely special and Peri isn’t taking any of this for granted. You get the sense that she takes time to reflect, and looks back on how far she’s come and whole heartedly appreciates it. The fact that Perri has gone into the world of music completely on her own, with no real knowledge of the business, yet through hard work and determination has accomplished so much already, is truly inspiring. Oh and did we mention that she’s only 22.
Peri’s musical process is one of a story teller, always lyrics first, drawing on past experiences, this is evident from her track “In Between” a song that is extremely personal and one that she often doesn’t like to sing live. It’s not easy to be that vulnerable, akin to someone reading your diary, we really respect that Peri was able to release the track, that in turn, will help others.
We highly recommend that you follow Peri on Tik Tok, not only is she incredibly funny, quirky, and original, (just like her music), she is also refreshingly honest. Peri’s attitude and slightly rebellious streak (see her totally ignoring the ‘no photo’s allowed’ rule at her Soho House gig) reveals to us that there will be little standing in this artists way in terms of her dreams. Headlining Glastonbury doesn’t seem implausible, especially if she keeps her foot on the industry pedal just as she’s doing now. We are more than excited to see how Peri’s journey plays out and are convinced that with her attitude and drive, she’ll make it to whichever destination she chooses. Let’s get into it!
Hey Peri, thanks for taking the time to talk with IAMUR. Can we start off with a bit of background from you? How you got into music, where you studied, what instruments you play, aside from guitar etc?
Hey guys, thanks so much for having me, I’m so grateful for people like you trying to elevate up-and- comers! I’ve been playing music and writing songs since I was talking and walking, I remember being 7 years old and I wrote a song for Rihanna in one of my millions of songwriting diaries and I still catch myself singing it sometimes now! My parents and family have no musical experience but they just felt it was right for me so got my my first guitar aged 12 and I picked it up in no time, going all the way through classical training and achieving my grade 8. I also play piano but that’s just self taught, and dabble on the banjo, ukulele, drums and bass too. I never went to a formal music school/ training, so it’s been a little intimidating for me as an indie artist to figure this all out on my own, but I feel so much stronger for it! I actually trained in acting, as have always loved musical theatre, but found the industry way too frustrating, and prefer music, where I can be in charge of my own work.
Firstly, we saw your recent post on the socials where you were competing against eight other artists for a spot at London’s ‘Bingley Weekender’… we have to ask, did you win your spot?
Unfortunately not on this occasion. Getting through to the final was such an amazing achievement for me, and I’m so grateful to have been selected to be there. The band Outline won, and they’re absolutely epic, I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Aw man, that’s a shame, but definitely amazing getting to the final! Speaking of festivals… you played your first last month – the Bedford River Festival, where you took to the BBC introducing stage. What an amazing experience. How was it, were you nervous, and where can we see you playing live again this year?
Playing with BBC Introducing at Bedford River Festival was without a doubt the best day of my life. I have gone into the world of music completely on my own with no knowledge of the business, but an extreme amount of determination to learn and succeed. And playing this show just felt like the utmost validation I could have asked for. It felt like I was cementing my place within this crazy industry, like I was stamping my foot and saying “I’M HERE TO STAY!!” if that makes any sense (laughs)! People queued to meet me after and get photos, and bought my record which was so surreal, it was amazing seeing how people connected with my music. I want to do that everyday forever!
In terms of upcoming shows, I’m currently in Cornwall playing gigs and festivals down here, so make sure to check out my socials to stay up to date with where I’m playing! I’m going to try and get round as much of the UK as possible!
Being invited to perform at Soho House sounds exciting! How did that go, and which was most rewarding for you – the actual performance or the secret Soho-house-toilets-dance-routine you put out on Tik Tok (which was excellent by the way!)?
Soho House was great, it was a serious honour to be invited to play for such an exclusive name. The Tiktok was very funny and felt a bit naughty (because no photos allowed, obvs!) but the show was beautiful, out on the roof on a sunny Sunday as part of their Sunday Sessions. They said they want me back soon too, so watch this space for the next one!
With the flavour of festivals still fresh on the palate, what would you consider to be your dream festival gig, and which of your most favourite musical influences would be in the line up?
I want to headline Glastonbury one day. Sometimes when I’m writing songs and wondering if a line works, I imagine the crowd at Glasto singing it back to me on the main stage to see how it feels – I use that image all the time. I want to play all the stages everywhere before that moment, but that’s a highlight I really want to work towards, maybe not for a while, but one day! Some of my biggest influences include Mumford and Sons, Lily Allen, Ed Sheeran, Fleetwood Mac, Laura Marling – any of them on a line up with me would be enough to have me in tears.
“…love is love, and that regardless of gender the love that we all know is the same…”Peri Rae
Some great influences there! When it comes to your own moments of inspiration, how does that usually work for you… can something randomly ignite your musical imagination, is it lyrics first? Do you find yourself humming a melody or playing a riff? What sparks the lightbulb moment?
It’s always lyrics first for me. I like to consider myself a storyteller. I think about how the one line or theme is that I want the person listening to go away with like “oh that’s the song about how hard it is to live in London” I think about that first, then fill out the story with everything I want to say, then condense it down into a sort of poem, then the tune comes. With “Fair Enough” it all came together in about 10 minutes, often my songs do kinda come with a burst of inspiration like that. Usually I have to be in the midst of whatever it is I want to write about. It’s tricky because unless I’m really inspired it’s hard for me to write. I’ve recently started doing lots of co-writes with other really talented writers which is so helpful for me, I’ve got so many songs up my sleeve that I cannot wait for people to hear. I’ve been playing them live and people seem to be loving them.
When music can be quite personal and earnest, and I’ll use your track “In Between” as reference here, is there almost a venerable apprehension to releasing it, to press the send button into the world?
In Between was a really hard song for me to release. I still really struggle with it being out in the world and I don’t often play it live. Sometimes I’ll get a message from someone saying how much that song helped them, and then it all seems worth it. But I think vulnerability is the price you pay for being an artist, and even though it makes me feel a bit sick sometimes, I wouldn’t change that for anything. I think vulnerability is the biggest superpower and the thing that can heal the world, so I’ll keep sharing as long as it keeps helping people.
The video for “In Between” is just fabulous, although, I turned into a worried Nanna when you were dancing on that extremely high rooftop! What sparks your vision for your videos? And can we look forward to more of you on screen in future?
Yay! I’m SO glad you like it because we spent so long on it. Me and my wonderful director and best friend, Emily Volpe, went up on to her roof on a freezing November day and danced ourselves silly (it was safe I promise), the premise of the video is split into two. The first is me looking fabulous and dancing and rocking out, because the song is supposed to be an iconic celebration and that’s what we wanted it to be (but if you look closely you will see that my fingers turned blue from how cold it was!!) The second half displays two identical relationships, one between and man and woman, and one between two women. In each scenario the couples do exactly the same things within the relationship, and the whole point is the prove that love is love, and that regardless of gender the love that we all know is the same. We had so much fun making it. I absolutely LOVE making music videos (good to my acting training to some use!) and I think it’s such an important part of story telling for a song, especially in the visual age we live in now, it can be such a beautiful way to add to the story. So watch this space for the next ones, hopefully I’ll get some big funding behind me soon to make them even more fabulous and bring my ideas to life (and not just shoot them on my iphone.)
Your first EP is out now, which is more than exciting!! How do you choose which songs to be included, and what is your approach to promoting yourself as an artist?
Thank you!! It is SO exciting! Before starting this EP, my mentor (and producer) Jessica Sharman helped me go through almost every song I’d ever written, tidy them up and re-write bits, and we came up with four tracks (In Between, Wildflower, The High Life and Little Steps) and then when the EP was ready to be released, I suddenly went viral on Tiktok over this story with this customer I fancied in the cafe I worked at, it pretty much changed everything for me. I wrote a song about it (Fair Enough) and that ended up being my first release and the perfect introduction the EP – with it’s themes of young love and growing it fit in perfectly. My approach to promoting myself is *authenticity* – I never want to get too caught up in what I SHOULD do, but instead focus on what feels right and what feels natural, I’ll send my song out to playlisters (which I did really well with and got on to some of Spotify’s biggest playlists like New Music Friday UK, Our Generation and Fresh Finds UK & IE), but the market is too oversaturated with artists that are all doing the same videos online, so I’m happy to trust the process, trust the fact that I’m in this for the long haul, and I want my music to mean something to individuals, and not just be an overnight sensation.
“… I never want to get too caught up in what I SHOULD do, but instead focus on what feels right and what feels natural.”Peri Rae
We love that you can also get your EP on vinyl, and really think that this musical medium really suits the pitch and tone of your voice, it’s almost nostalgic. How has it been received, and did the release all go as smoothly as you might’ve hoped?
Send me your address guys – I’d love to send you an EP on vinyl. My love of music stems back to my vinyl collecting days, I’d go to this stand in Watford Market (that isn’t there anymore) every Friday after school, usually with £5 and see what I could buy. Regardless of the price, the owner would give me loads of records, and he’d recommend ones and always say “ah I’ll give you 5 for £4” he’d always give me them super cheap, and it meant the world to me. I was heartbroken when they closed. I have a collection of over a hundred now, and I’d say half of them are down to that lovely man. I found bands like Led Zeppelin and Cream through him, who have gone on to be my absolute favourites.
The release has been amazing, I raked up 100k streams in the first two weeks and have sold so many records and continue to sell more at my live shows! I have these songs now, and I just want more people to hear them – so I’d love to go on tour with a bigger artist and get them heard.
We love your jewellery decisions!!! How do you find those great pieces (I need them in my life immediately)? And how much does ‘image’ play into your musical persona?
Oh thanks!!! This is one of my FAVE compliments. I’m very proud of my jewellery collection. I’m a big Etsy fan – I love shopping independently and knowing that other people won’t have the same items as me. My favourite place for earrings would have to be Astrid and Miyu, and necklaces and bracelets would be Catbird. Image for me is everything, if I’m expressing myself outwardly through my style, I feel like I can relax inwardly. I don’t have to tell anyone who I am or prove anything, because you’ve probably got quite a good clue just from looking at me, it’s taken me years to feel comfortable in my skin, and I feel like I’m in a really good place with it. My advice to anyone would be play around with every style you’re curious about, then mix them all together and create the perfect blend for you.
We are also loving your Tik Tok and have may questions, namely…you mentioned a group of guys took your phone? Sounds terrifying… What happened there?
Classic London, that’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to go on tour and travel. I’m so sick of living in London and having my nervous system be constantly on edge. I was mugged a few weeks ago and that was the final straw for me. I want to slow down, meet people and develop a sense of community. I’ve only been away a few weeks and can already say I’m a million times happier.
That sounds awful, but we’re glad you’re ok!! On a (hopefully) brighter note… did you speak to the hot book boy?? I love that he was reading “Everything I know about Love”! But also surprised.
I did speak to him and I LOVE that book. He also seemed to really enjoy it which I loved. But I’ve left London now, and probably won’t see him again, maybe it’s just not meant to be. I’m a big believer in fate, if our paths are meant to cross again I’m sure they will.
If you had the chance to collaborate with anyone dead or alive, who would be your dream partner?
I am dying to make a song with Ed Sheeran, also Matt Healy from the 1975, dodie, Billie Eilish, Lily Allen. There’s so many. I’m truly so inspired by the current musical climate of angry women, like Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Phoebe Bridgers, any of them can call me any day and we can jam (laughs).
Ok last question, a tricky one for some… if you could pick any love interest to star in a music video, who would you choose?
You CAN’T make me chose so I’ll give you my list…. Justin Bieber, Austin Butler, Miley Cyrus, Will Poulter and honestly the list could go on forever. All I want is my Phoebe Bridgers/ Paul Mescal music video moment.
Listen to Peri Rae on Spotify now:
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