Rhyme Report

Published on July 19th, 2016 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson


Lady Wray to release QUEEN ALONE on Sept 23 on Big Crown

Virginia-born singer/songwriter Nicole Wray is Lady Wray and she has everything you’d want in a singer: an infectious Jackson-5-family-member flare, a range like Aretha’s, and a church upbringing that’s brought a pure, healing texture to her voice and gained her a mentor in Missy Elliot. But the struggles of the music business, with both label and band-mate fallout, have taken the artist on a rollercoaster ride that’s made her stronger than ever and now she’s ready to make her pinnacle statement.

Lady Wray dropped her first single, “Do It Again” last month and Consequence of Sound has premiered “Guilty” to announce the release of the upcoming LP, Queen Alone, out September 23 on Big Crown Records. Read the superb feature on the track and new album HERE and pre-order Queen Alone at iTunes and receive both “Guilty” and “Do It Alone” as instant-grat tracks HERE.

When talking about Queen Alone, her first solo album in some time, Nicole explains, “It’s a reflection of my soul. It’s who I am today.” And aptly so. Nicole is writing and singing songs about her life.

Over the course of her career, the soulstress landed a gold record and climbed the ranks of ’90s hip-hop royalty, working alongside Missy, Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Playa and Timbaland, to name a few. During a brief stint with Damon Dash and Roc-A-Fella Records, Nicole’s powerful voice had a huge presence on The Black Keys’ Blackroc project, which led her to recording background vocals on The Black Keys’ Grammy-winning LP, Brothers. Amid her last album Lady, Nicole picked up fans at Pitchfork, Noisey, NPR Music and Essence, but these successes were brief and fleeting.

Fast forward to now–the transformation from singer-for-hire to pure artist is evident on Queen Alone. Reunited with the top-class musicianship from the Lady project and with Big Crown’s own Leon Michels and Daptone / Dunham’s Tom Brenneck handling production, Nicole says she is, “Singing out loud now–singing from the stomach.” Back in 1998 she was coached how to sing. Today, after stutter-stepping in and out of the industry and dealing with other people’s ideas of who she should be, there is a new soul and substance to her songs–all of it from her life.

The album opens with the dancing bass-line and soaring horns of “It’s Been a Long Time” and travels through the emotional journey Nicole has been on the past 20 years. “Do It Again” is the story of a failed relationship somehow too good to let go of, and “Guilty” tells the feelings she dealt wtih surrounding her brother’s incarceration.

Almost echoing her new record, Nicole says, “You have to go through something for it to be real.” She has been living with one foot in fame and the other in real life. The result is clear: she’s feeling something real in her music again. And it’s hard for us as listeners not to follow suit.

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Hear / Share / Download “Guilty” @ Soundcloud | Spotify | iTunes
Do It Again” @ Video | 7-inchSoundcloud | Spotify | iTunes
Pre-Order Queen Alone

About the Author

Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine. Follow me on Twitter @HypeJustJay

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