After releasing her second studio album, ‘Someone Out There’, at the start of last month, Blackpool’s very own Rae Morris has just begun her UK wide tour, making her only Scottish stop off at the The Art School, a compact venue located within the Glasgow School of Art. Nevertheless, Morris manages to cram the room full of her rapidly growing fan base.
Understanding the incredible capabilities of her own voice and instrumental talent to captivate an audience, Morris only requires three other instrumentalists on stage to create her unique sound. She begins with, ‘Push Me to My Limit’, a track which doesn’t really seem to go anywhere but instead just hangs in the air with ambient beauty, a real opening statement of, “Yeah, I can sing really well”. This is cleverly mixed into one of the more upbeat electronic songs of the album, ‘Reborn’, which was released as a single back in 2015. This is also where we get our first glimpse of Morris’ interesting style of onstage freestyle dance.
The set continues with tracks such as ‘Wait for the Rain’, a powerful synth ridden dance track and ‘Rose Garden’, a more intense song ending with an almost rave breakdown, a strange yet exciting juxtaposition from the relatively calm nature of the rest of Morris’ performance. ‘Do It’, one of the big pop songs from the album, receives a huge reaction from the crowd as well as ‘Love Again’, one of the largest hits from her previous album. Morris performs another previous album hit, ‘Cold’, which had originally featured her recording partner, Fryars. In his absence, Morris brings forward her drummer, who performs an emotional rendition of one of Rae’s biggest love songs. Unfortunately, the impact of this track and various others are rather let down by the lack of intricacy in the lighting display, which somewhat resembles being at a school disco and fails to emphasise the light and shade of the dynamic music.
Before beginning ‘Dancing with Character’, Morris explains how the song was written about her best friend’s grandparents who used to “dance their nights away in the working man’s clubs of Blackpool”. Although the Grandmother passed away, her spouse refused to let the feelings stop him from dancing and, as sang by Rae, “He’ll never stop dancing ‘til he’s back with her”. The song plays testament to the genuine sentimental connection Morris has with her songs and lyrics. She radiates positivity and happiness throughout her performance, which gives a much more intimate audience to singer connection.
As if the set had not already sparked a series of heartfelt emotions in the crowd, Morris finishes an overwhelming set with her title track, ‘Someone Out There’. She dedicates the track to BBC Radio 1’s Greg James, who has just completed a humongous charitable endeavor to raise money for Sport Relief. Morris explains how he has helped the song become what it truly is, a beacon of light in the campaign to raise awareness of Mental Health illnesses and the stigma that surrounds them. The crowd really connects with this song, applauding Morris as she begins her way into the crowd to socialise with her fans.
In the seemingly endless world of Pop, Rae Morris has turned up and finally given the genre the irregularity it needs. She is a down to earth, utterly lovely woman who makes music because she wants to let people know about her feelings and her emotions. She hid nothing and left everything she possibly could have on this Glasgow stage, an impressive feat recollecting that this was only one night of a UK wide tour. She has proven to a regular critic of pop music that it really can mean something, and for that I have the utmost respect.