Rebecca Raw is a British singer/songwriter whose songs are a unique blend of pop, soul and folk elements. Growing up in suburban London, Rebecca began learning the cello at the age of seven and shortly after, picked up the clarinet too. She sang in choirs throughout her younger years and the classical tradition was the backbone of her training right up to her obtaining a music degree from Cambridge University.
Alongside this, she developed a love for performing jazz, soul and pop music and once she graduated, Rebecca began dividing her time between teaching the cello and performing as a singer at events. Having always been fascinated by great lyrics and captivating melodies it was only natural that she herself would begin to explore the craft of writing songs.
Her debut EP ‘Deep Within’ (2017) is a bold statement which partners intimate storytelling with a rich, contemporary sound. Her honest and thought-provoking lyrics are the heartbeat of this offering and her smooth, mesmerizing voice is the compelling communicative vehicle that defines this release.
Rebecca tells authentic musical stories with insight, warmth and sensitivity. She comments that “each song was born as a personal response to a challenging time but hope prevails in my life and I always try to encapsulate this in my music. As others reach into the heart of these stories I hope that they will discover for themselves more treasures of this rich, wonderful, crazy thing called life.”
Rather than pop, what I found when I started flipping through more of Rebecca Raw’s music on you tube, was a sort of haunting easy listening, heavy on the feels, though at times, the music, especially the synth, tended to over-ride the lyrics. The echoes made a muddle of some of the vocals in places, and while the tempos remained pretty consistent across the songs I listened too, the one thing I kept hoping to find was something in each one that allowed it to stand out and be unique.
Instead, I found that each song was quite easy to attribute to the artist, and very indicative of her style, a little too much so in places, as the songs sort of blended together for me. While “Freefall” and “Dust and Ashes” had a bit of a faster tempo to it than “Connection,” “Whisper Thin,” and “Calling” I had a hard time considering any of them to be pop or soul in their theme and flavor, and while certainly a blend of both, there is more of a softness to them, an echoing undertone of bells and chimes and slow melodies that make it something different, something that I don’t feel really fits into a specific genre, and let me say, that is refreshing in many ways.
Rebecca’s music should come with a tissue box, it’s not lively and up tempo and if I’d just broke up with someone this is the perfect wallow music, there is just so much emotion in it. In fact it’s more like sadness heaped with aching, topped with pain and presented in a beautifully artistic way. As I listen, I could see this being paired with performance art, either modern ballet or modern dance, where the movements of the dancer/performer echoed the emotion of the songs to create this achingly sad piece.
Vocally, I would consider Rebecca Raw’s sound to be sweet, melodic, with some nice range, especially in the high notes, with a little trill in here that can go gently up and down the scales. “Calling,” for example I could see being used as part of a soundtrack for a love story, one of those deep and heavy themed ones full of feels. Her piano playing, like in “Rest” is quite nice, and certainly provides a complementary mood to the vocals.
In going back to “Connection,” which has a mix of vocals, synth, guitars, echoing/dueling harmonized vocals, and soft drum tracks to create a rather pretty song, I’m afraid the one thing it does seem to be missing was any real depth and substance to the lyrics. Some of the lines, “You think you know me, but you only see who you think I am.” “The voice of reason tells me this is just a season that will go just how it came,” reads rather cliché to me, and while I can see this making an impact and even a connection on younger listeners who might be going through their first break up or their first struggle to connect with a crush, I think this would be forgettable by older, more experienced listeners who are past this innocent more childlike phase of relationship development and have experienced more of life and what it can throw at an individual.
All in all, I would consider this to be sweet but forgettable, charming in a way, and sat, but lacking the sort of substance to make it truly stand out in a pop/indy world filled with songs of a similar nature and message.
Rating Tag: #Sad #Aching #Harmonic
Track Specific (0 to 5) “Connection” 3
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