A little context if you care to listen…
RAYE first skyrocketed to global superstardom when her single “Escapism.” (feat. 070 Shake) found virality on TikTok.
Fans were fascinated by how the South Londoner’s powerful vocals effortlessly flowed between hip-hop, dance, gospel, and pop while her lyrics spoke to universal and often painful experiences.
This year, the critically acclaimed track appeared on RAYE’s first album My 21st Century Blues.
To celebrate this debut and her venture as an independent artist, RAYE took her genre-defying discography on her My 21st Century Blues World Tour spanning North America, Europe, The UK, and Australia.
On October 4, Boston’s House of Blues was transformed into the World Famous 21st Century Blues Club for one night only.
It can be daunting to perform in a room of over 2,000 people. It’s even more intimidating when it’s only your fourth time ever. Despite her admitted anxieties, special guest Absolutely glided onto the stage solo for an unforgettable opening performance.
Although new to the stage, she is already a sought-after collaborator with co-writing credits on Normani’s “Fair” and Anitta’s multiplatinum chart-topping Versions of Me.
Under moody lighting, Absolutely performed an eight-song set that showcased her exploration into a sultry R&B, alternative, and soul sonic landscape. It wasn’t long before unsuspecting audience members recognized her rare talent. As the crowd’s distraction turned to fascination, Absolutely’s timidness turned to confidence.
By the time she ended the set with the criminally understreamed “24 Hours,” and her debut single “Higher,” she was working the audience and the stage like a pro, perhaps taking notes from her older sister and the show’s headliner, RAYE.
Following a brief intermission, a deep voice cooed through the speakers, “Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you so much for coming out tonight to the world-famous 21st Century Blues Club.”
As RAYE and her Moon Girls house band came to the stage, the lights came up illuminating a jazz club dressed with white podiums and oversized vinyl records.
“Tonight’s theme is honesty,” RAYE told the crowd, preparing them for a night of entertainment and sisterly advice.
With a microphone cord slung over her shoulder, she began her 20-song set featuring “Oscar Winning Tears.” and “Five Star Hotels.”
The immersive tracks recounted RAYE’s own journey to process and overcome sexual abuse, rape, body dysmorphia, addiction, misogyny, and even climate change. She faced these often stigmatized topics with vulnerable authenticity revealing what she has learned and what she still wrestles with.
Before performing her song, “Body Dysmorphia,” she shared why she thinks this is the “hardest era to love yourself” with constant doom scrolling and trying to meet unrealistic standards of “beauty.”
However, for a few hours, RAYE’s music and words provided escape from those anxieties with both the audience and RAYE recognizing that they truly see each other.
“Dreams are really coming true. I’m very, very, ridiculously grateful,” she thanked the audience.
Before closing out her set with an “Escapism.” encore, RAYE enlisted the help of that audience for an ethereal three-part harmony for “Buss It Down.”
To reserve your spot at the World Famous 21st Century Blues Club when it comes through your city, grab your ticket at rayeoffical.com.
Don’t miss Absolutely’s debut album, Cerebrum dropping on November 17!
Photos by: Amelia Cordischi