Sophie Ray

A couple of months ago, in an unprecedented and downright risky move, I went to my university’s student union bar entirely sober.  I do of course mean of an evening and not during the day;  I try to keep my daytime visits to bars sober in the majority as I can’t handle the 8pm hangovers.  Apparently you have to continue to drink in order to postpone the inevitable until the traditional ‘morning after the night before” time-slot but neither myself, nor my wallet, have yet mastered such a level of organisation.  This strategy always seems to be proffered by those who never get a hangover at all however, and if there is one subset of society that I entirely distrust it is those who do not suffer from hangovers.  I digress…

One evening, a couple of months ago, I went to my university’s student union bar.  Every Tuesday the SU hosted an acoustic music event and, although the turnout never exceeded 30/40 people, it was always a decent night.  On the evening to which I refer, the arrival of myself and two of my friends probably only brought the patron count up to 20 but the night was in full swing and there had already been one or two performances.  I assumed my position as bar prop and prepared for an enjoyable, if largely uneventful evening; how naive.  

There are very few times in a student’s life where they find themselves glad to be sober.  Had I been drunk I would have assumed I had over-zealously imagined Sophie Ray and the piercing “Nothing to Hide”; as it happened I was not.  I hadn’t been so glad to be sober all semester.

[I fully condone earphones and generosity with the volume control] 
Sophie Ray-Nothing to Hide

Occasionally you come across an artist with the natural ability to bring a din to a murmur, and a murmur to silence.  Sophie Ray has this ability and exercised it that night, claiming her rightful place as the only sound in the room.  Her raw and powerful vocals tore through the SU with such vigour you were left feeling sure that to reign them in would be impossible, but she did so with ease and sent them hurtling back again and again.  When she didn’t have you leaning back in your seat she had you leaning forward, seamlessly switching the vocals to a soft hushed tone at will.  It was nothing short of acrobatic.

I appreciate that many of you will not have the opportunity to go to a live Sophie Ray performance however, and whilst I am sympathetic, I don’t feel too sorry for you – her music is not difficult to find online and is definitely worth the search.  She has taken on numerous songs with formidable original vocals and boisterously stamped them with her own soulful signature, confidently accompanied by her keyboard or guitar.

HAIM-Don’t Save Me

Ray has recently released an EP, entitled “Fiction of You”, with three original and articulate tracks.  The excellent production quality provides a level of depth and sophistication to her sound that negates the need for any imagination in seeing her feature in the charts; I for one am disappointed she doesn’t already have a slot on the unsigned stages of this Summer’s festivals.  If you’re as impressed with “Nothing to Hide” as I am, save a little time to play through the other 2 tracks on “Fiction of You” – you won’t be sorry.  Having listened to the collection myself, I feel entirely confident in saying that Sophie Ray is very much a force to be reckoned with in the soul circuit.  I look forward to the day when I can brag about that one time I saw her play to a quiet little room in Buckinghamshire.

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