Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Rainy Milo: Sky's the limit

Rainy Milo
Rainy Milo

Will she, won’t she? It’s that time of the year, when media and music biz types are tipping and predicting like their lives depend on it; hoping to spot the next big thing…with that in mind; we give you Ms. Rainy Milo. The uber-talented 18-year-old London singer songwriter who is making big waves with her deliciously fresh jazz soaked R&B.

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way. Firstly; she went to The Brit School and did only half of a four year course, before deciding to go do what they were teaching her to do. So she did and is still doing it. Very well too!

Secondly; her age. Yes she is young, but has a wise old head on those shoulders. But she only sings about stuff that affects her young life; boys and breakups, designer labels and perfume, getting peed off with her friends and having fun. She’s not trying to sound older, and grasps being 18 with both hands - squeezing the joy and the pain out of it. Her music is her journal, which she hopes connects with others going through the same stuff.

So. A little history. Rainy Milo is actually Rachael Simon by birth. Her stage name came about as nicknames at school and stuck. She lives in Norwood with her Mum and younger brother. Her sister lives across the street, and her Grandmother 15 minutes away.

She began pouring her heart out in poetry as a young girl, and at 14 put her words to naïve music she tapped out on a keyboard. She started singing with local musicians and arts collectives, and then using the internet to reach out to beats producers, she hooked up with various guys here and in the USA and soon her songs came to life.

At 15, she posted "Bout You" on her own Soundcloud, a two minute and 34 second track she wrote over the top of music from Boston artist and producer BLCK RSSN, intended only as an “interlude” on her debut mix tape.

All hell broke loose. It was picked up by Gilles Peterson for his “Brownswood Bubblers” compilation CD, and then most of the record labels in the land were chasing her signature. She said no thanks to all of them! After agreeing to a management deal with a company in LA, she flew to San Francisco to record her self-released debut; the five track “Limey” mix tape, released for free download in November 2012. Over 200,000 people have so far grabbed it.

Eventually, Rainy signed to Mercury, now Virgin/EMI. She dropped the EP “Black and Blonde,” in April 2013 and the single “Rats” in November. “Treasure Girl” is next, to be followed by an extended version of the brilliant “Bout You.” Another as yet unnamed single will drop in the summer. All these cuts are taken from her debut album, “This Thing Of Ours,” which is a bright and breezy, mega-impressive 10 track gem, due for release on 3rd March.

She has her own quirky look and definitely her own sound. A beautiful young lady with Guyanese and British parents, and a Jamaican reggae DJ Grandad. The cute gap between her two perfectly white front teeth would have model agents diving for their cheque books. But Rainy only has one thing on her mind. Music.

She gives us R&B mixed with jazz, soul and street-wise lyrics – often written while she is sat on a train or a bus - all delivered with her London accent.

Rainy describes her sound as: “New age R&B with jazz influences in there. Old R'n'B music and soul. Retro-modern. It has a nostalgic feel to it, but a lot of the music and sounds we use are very hard hitting and modern.”

“I feel the honesty in my songs makes me stand out. A lot of people in songs today are talking about having a good time, or spending money and stuff like that. I am talking about real honest feelings. I might sound quite naive as well, because of course it is the first time I am going through these types of things. I am only 18. That’s what might stick with people; just sounding so innocent and honest.”

The producers on “This Thing Of Ours,” are Australian Chet Faker and American-based Caswell, Daje and Cole M.G.N. The record was recorded in San Francisco with two tracks cut here in London – “This Thing Of Ours” and “Bout You.”

“Bout You” is an extended version of the original “interlude” recording, due to be released as a single in March. My prediction is HIT and ‘A list’ playlisting for Radio 1 - maybe even Radio 2 too, with its ultra cool jazz vibe.

Duffy had “Mercy,” Amy had “Rehab” and Rainy has “Bout You” as her potential big break through track.

“I feel that’ Bout You is an instant grabber, but people may not instantly get it with most of my songs, until they go back again and realise they like it. My favourite songs do that to me; and I start to love them after a while.”

So about this Brit School business. Why did you quit? “I had got out of it what I needed. While I was there, I learned it was very easy to look at other people and think, 'Oh my goodness, I want to be just like that. Or to look at other people as competition.”

“I quickly learned that the best thing to do, was to see yourself as your own competition, and make yourself be the best version of yourself you can be. Rather than looking at someone else and wanting to be just like them. I think it is a good lesson and I used that when making my album.”

“Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else. Often you’d see some students there who were hungry for fame. If you genuinely love what you do, then interest will come anyway. If you make great stuff then people are always going to be into it.”

The album "This Thing Of Ours" is out March 3rd.


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