Nicole Rayy’s First Real Party Song, “Last Ones Up”
Nicole Rayy has been writing her own songs since she was a teenager, and her talent launched her into the Canadian Country music scene in 2012 with the release of her debut EP Only Everything. Rapidly growing her name in the country industry, Rayy has amassed over a million catalogue streams to date, with her smash 2020 single “Broken Boys” racking in over 500K streams alone.
Celebrating your tenth year in the industry. From your debut EP to your full-length album, Dig, that “solidified you as a force to be reckoned with within the Canadian country scene.” How would you describe the evolution of your music from Dig to now?
I think since Dig I have found more of my sound as an artist. Like any artist, I think my sound is always changing and growing. Since Dig I think I have become more confident in my sounds and putting out the music I want to make. I have always gravitated toward country-rock and do a lot of those types of songs in my live shows. Until recently I didn’t feel like I had enough of that sound, that I love, in my own original music.
More recently with songs like “House of Cards” and some other unreleased material, I am leaning into that side of my voice. I am very excited to explore the country-rock sound and bring more of that into my music going forward.
Two million+ catalog streams including “Broken Boys” and “Feels Like Yesterday.” Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) nominee.
Creating initiatives to support fellow female artists, including #AllWomanMusic series and the all-female festival, HarmoniaFest. How can parents and schools best teach young girls to love each other instead of competing?
That is just it, they need to teach it at all! Growing up I always felt very conflicted by messages of competition. Even getting into the music industry it always felt like there wasn’t room for more than one woman at the top so I had to knock other people down to get there, but that is so not the case. I think schools especially need to teach girls at a young age that competing with the girls around them brings us all down. That one girl’s success is all of our success and that there is room for many strong females at the top. I think it would be beneficial to show young girls more examples of strong women supporting one another. Even music can be a great way to help spread this message. There are more songs than ever right now from strong women sharing messages of support, strength, and empowerment for girls. I always hope that the music I make and the female empowerment I share can help shape the next generation.
Your favorite ‘sad’ song is Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well.” In making the video for “Sad Song,” co-written by Emma Lee, Jordan Depaul and Karen Kosowski, you shared that when you write a song “if I can picture in my head what the video is going to be that says to me it’s going to be a good song.” What resonated in this song’s lyrics that led you to record it?
Those first chorus lyrics stuck out to me, and I quote them all the time, “There’s just something about a Sad Song, every time it comes on.” And there is! There is something so special, honest, and relatable about a sad song. For me, sad songs are the ones that stick in my mind. The ones that really hold you and comfort you when you are going through something painful. There is no better feeling to me then listening to a sad song and feeling understood when you are sad.
With your previous single “House of Cards,” you shared that the song allowed you to explore the rock and country/rock side of your voice with your own music. In what other ways do you hope to explore with your vocal style?
Yes, and I am so happy to continue exploring this side of my voice. I am really looking forward to a release I have coming out in the fall called “Graveyard,” which will explore a very bluesy, rock side of my voice. As I mentioned earlier as an artist I always hope to be growing and developing my sound and I am excited to see where I might go with my vocal style after this current project.
In regard to your new single “Last Ones Up” — being self-aware, like you shared, allowed you to write lyrics that resonate — whether the listener is the first to head home or the last. What other topics do you hope to write about but haven’t addressed to date?
“Last Ones Up” is my first real party song. I have never been the queen of writing the party song because I always wanted to share music that I am really emotionally connected to. I was never sure how to strike the balance between true to me and a fun good time song. After staying up all night with some friends, for the thousandth time in my life, I was inspired and came up with the title “Last Ones Up.” I was so excited to take it to the writing team of “Feels Like Yesterday” to write a party song that truly feels like me.
In the past, I have had a lot of songs about my relationships, and I am sure there will be more. I am excited to continue to touch on new things I haven’t written about before. I believe wholeheartedly in self-empowerment and female empowerment, of course, and though I do have some music that touches on those topics, those are definitely subjects I would like to address further.
Four-time CMA Ontario nominee Nicole Rayy has been writing her own songs since she was a teenager, and her talent…