Getting To Know Singer-Songwriter Willow Raye

For singer-songwriter Willow Raye, 2020 has been a year of personal growth. Her song “Numb” featuring Bobby Raps broke into the top 50 spots on the iTunes Top Songs chart, and Willow has followed that success by releasing her new singles “ADHD” and “Never Call You Again.” Recently, Showbiz Cheat Sheet caught up with Willow to discuss her new songs and upcoming music plans.

Willow Raye
Willow Raye | Gramophone Media

Willow Raye is a writer at heart

“I’ve always been a writer,” Willow told Showbiz Cheat Sheet over the phone.

After getting into music and songwriting three years ago, Willow released her song “Deja Vu” in 2019.

“I’m new to this thing. But I’m in love with it,” she said.

While Willow has shifted her focus from writing poetry to writing songs, she thinks the two are closely connected.

“I’m mainly focused on songwriting right now, but I think they both go hand in hand,” she said. “I mean, I’ll write poems, and then I’ll take lines out of the poem and put it into music and kind of base it around what I’m writing for music.”

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Her success with ‘Numb’

Willow released the original version of her song “Numb” in 2019. She reached out to Bobby Raps at the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to see if he would be willing to be featured on the track. He agreed, and the collaboration reached No. 49 on the iTunes Top Songs chart.

As much as Willow enjoyed watching her song climb the iTunes chart, she did not start making music with charting as her goal.

“I release my music because it makes me happy and it’s like something that’s like really healing for me,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “I don’t put all my success around numbers. I try to define my success by being proud with the song before it’s even released because I’m like ‘I can’t believe I wrote this. I’m so proud of myself.'”

Willow Raye on her new sound

When Willow first started her music career, her music had an EDM sound. This year, the singer-songwriter has shifted gears away from EDM and dance tracks. Instead, she is focused on releasing songs with an alternative influence.

“There’s still Willow Raye, like a Willow Raye core sound I think,” said Willow.

She credits this consistency to her voice, saying, “I think it’s kind of a cool play on the tracks I’m doing now because they’re very grungy… But then I come in with my Britney Spears-esque baby voice. And I think it’s like kind of a cool contrast.”

With her music and writing, Willow brings strong femme energy. Through her vulnerability and reflection on past romantic relationships, she aims to give the message that humans are multidimensional creatures.

“I think that’s the key to great music is just being vulnerable and not hiding your emotions,” she said.

‘ADHD’ and ‘Never Call You Again’ showcase Willow Raye’s new sound

“ADHD” marks Willow’s first song with her new alternative sound. The alternative-pop track is a prime example of her ability to make a subject matter fun and lighthearted through her songwriting.

When asked about the inspiration for the track, Willow laughed and replied, “Well, I have ADHD… I think it’s just like a really fun song and it really just shows my personality.”

Following the release of “ADHD,” Willow released another song called “Never Call You Again.”

“I just really loved the beat on that one, and I was like, ‘I gotta write something to this,'” she said of the song.

Fans can expect Willow Raye to continue releasing music. Her song “Dark Waters” will be out later this month, and Willow teased that it is the “most emotional, vulnerable song” she has ever written. In December, she plans to release a song titled “Manic.” Looking ahead, her goal for 2021 is to release an EP or a full-length album.

For any up-and-coming singer-songwriters worried about breaking into the industry, Willow thinks the most important thing is to be proud of the work one puts out.

“… someone always has something to say, it’s just inevitable…,” said Willow. “Either way, you’re doing something you love. That’s all that matters.”