Raye Makes Her Stunning Debut In The O2 London

After breaking records and winning 6 awards at the BRITS this month Raye has now followed up with an iconic show at the O2 arena in London. The one night only spectacle called “My 21st Century Symphony” had been sold out within a day due to the high demand to see Raye perform her debut album with The Heritage Orchestra and Flames Collective

The classy look of the stage sets the mood for this very special night. Silky curtains frame the stage and as a narrator finished the intro RAYE comes out to the front standing under the neon sign illuminating her name. Knowing the history of her debut album and how hard the singer had to fight for this project it feels like a moment of reclaiming her name, of freedom and independence. 

Credit: Jean Yuzheng Zhang

Raye stunned everyone with her aura and expressive performance. Between songs the singer was chatting with the crowd, gave insights to the background of her songs and continuously voiced her gratefulness for this night and the past year of her career. The personal touch of the artist made this huge arena show feel like an intimate gig. Each song was elevated by the incredibly talented Heritage Orchestra and the voices of the Flames Collective. Raye did not miss any chance to call out their talent and gave shout outs to solo parts of the instrumentalists. Starting to dive into the album, the versions of Oscar Winning Tears, Hard Out Here and The Thrill is Gone showcase what a brilliant night we have ahead of us. 

In the middle of the show Raye kept a space for all the sad songs. Starting off with Mary Jane, Raye shared how this song of addiction was not easy to put on the album. Even when people told her not to include it she still thought that hard stories need to be told. She reveals a truth that people usually want to ignore and now she is standing in front of 20000 people, telling her story. It gets sadder with Body Dysmorphia where Raye shared personal details about her relationship to self-love and how it is a journey with ups and downs. She admitted to currently struggle a lot with her body image and therefor the next few minutes of her pushing through the song hit even deeper. Lastly, we come to the most emotional moment of the night, as Raye sat down playing the piano to sing Ice Cream Man. She dedicated it to anyone who needs to hear these words and by the teary eyes all around me, I can tell that sadly a lot of people relate to this song. Sharing tissues, wiping tears and giving hugs, the crowd had a heartfelt and bonding moment. 

After this rollercoaster of emotion, it was time to set another mood. Raye came back with a new outfit that sent sparkles through the whole arena. In a silver disco ball dress, she takes on the stage with her song Black Mascara. It was time to dance the tears away and for the rest of the show it was good vibes only. On the last song before the encore RAYE decided to give the O2 arena a little music lesson. She split the arena into five parts and taught every section another harmony. For Buss It Down we all collectively became a choir that added another layer of vocals and surprisingly, we really sounded good. 

Before leaving the stage RAYE, self-proclaimed drama queen, informed us that she will be back for an encore but still encouraged us to scream for one more song. The crowd obviously followed her instructions, excited for another breath-taking moment and the orchestra starts playing the intro to Escapism. A dramatic highlight of this evening, as everyone was soaking up the atmosphere for one last time and waiting for Raye to come back on stage. The next few minutes are a fever dream, as Raye gave the performance of her life. Her voice is full of emotions, and she looks through the arena also capturing the energy of this once in a lifetime night. Everyone is dancing carelessly and singing the lyrics with passion and with that the best concert of my life was coming to an end. 

As no one is left on stage it is just the neon sign shining bright. RAYE, a name that truly lights up her fans life’s and achieved incredible things in only a year of being an independent artist. She is the honest voice we need in music that does not shy away from the dark topics. This night has a special place in my heart, and I believe anyone that was there agrees it was a show for the history books. From her honest and groundbreaking lyrics to hilarious banter and the crazy operatic vocals, Raye is a talent that we expect to take the music industry by storm. 

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