Nigerian singer, Ray BLK, has won the prestigious BBC’s Sound Of 2017 List, officially making her the most exciting new talent for the year ahead.
Ray BLK, whose real name is Rita Ekwere, joins an exclusive list of artistes to win the honour including British superstars Adele and Sam Smith.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” said the 23-year-old who becomes the first unsigned artiste to be so recognised.
“It’s all just so ridiculous!”
Repping her hood, Catford
Ray, who worked in an advertising agency to sustain her career in its early days while she studied for an English degree, said she wanted her music to “empower women to live life as they want”.
“There are so many societal pressures on women, on how we should behave, and they’re all based on male privilege.”
Jamal Edwards, a member of a panel of 170 DJs, critics and festival bookers that decided the Sound of 2017, was tremendously impressed by Ray’s performance.
“She is the whole package,” he said. “I know she’s going to have an amazing year.”
According to the BBC,
she’s combined her love of hip-hop and R&B to deliver streetwise, literate lyrics with a velvety soul voice.
The singer reflects on the influence of her upbringing in Catford, south-east London on her music as illustrated in her standout track, My Hood.
“The south east is one of the roughest places in London but it rears the strongest people, and that’s what makes us special,” she said.
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Launched in 2003, The Sound of …list has championed exceptional acts including 50 Cent, Haim and Frank Ocean.
Ray hopes to follow in the steps of last year’s winner Jack Garratt, whose debut album Phase entered the charts at number three.
“I’m particularly proud to be a part of this year’s list as it’s full of so much talent, some of whom are independent artists like myself which I really hope inspires the next generation.”