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UD Low Down… RAYE x Flames Collective @ Royal Albert Hall

All hail the Queen! Following a successful collaboration earlier this year, Raye welcomed the Flames Collective as the gospel choir for her much anticipated (and sold-out) performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Flames vocalist, Nayana.AB, gives us a run down of the night…

Photo: Luke Dyson

Words cannot describe how excited we were when Andy Gilbert (Flames choir leader) told us that Raye had requested the Flames Collective to join her performance at the Royal Albert Hall. It was crazy enough being her backing vocalists earlier this year when Raye performed for the first time on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. To also be a part of the journey when she hit the stage on the 26th of September was surreal (so a special thank you to Andy & UD for bringing this to fruition). 

Raye x Flames @ Glastonbury 2024

After getting the good news we began with three six-hour rehearsals at the UD Talent House in August, to go over all of the songs, learn our parts and make the necessary notes. 

We must give a shout out to our conductor Oleta Haffner too – it was really nice having someone to guide us because we had a lot to learn in a short time. She made it all come together a lot easier. 

This then led to our two full-day rehearsals with the Heritage Orchestra. Shortly after arrival we were greeted by Raye in our green room for the day, where she sat and sang through the songs with us. Working through the songs with Raye helped a lot with understanding how to approach the performance. She taught us a lot about different vocal techniques meaning we could manipulate the way we sang certain lyrics. 

The energy on the night was electric, our dressing room buzzed with excitement as everyone got ready. We were called to the stage, in-ears in hand we began our journey stopping for a group prayer led by Precious. Before we hit the stage Raye stopped us – her styling team were frantically trying to finish dressing her but it was clear her priority in that moment was to thank us, show her appreciation for the hard work we put in and get us ready to hit that stage with the right energy.

Photo: Luke Dyson

Being on the stage was thrilling, over five thousand people looked back at us as we gazed at the audience. SOLD OUT RAYE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL! It felt like a dream. The crowd lost it as she appeared on stage and the show had begun.

During the show, Raye gave a special shout out to Andy and it was beautiful. 

“One thing I got from this experience is that I got to look at somebody like Raye and think DAMN, that could be my future. She is brilliant” – Jack Joy (Member of flames collective)

Flames would like to say thank you again to Raye for having us! It was a privilege to work with you and your team. Thank you for your time and the opportunity. Hopefully we will get to work together again soon.

And if you haven’t been to see Raye live yet you are really missing out, she is undoubtedly one of the best performers of our generation! Don’t sleep – watch her star rise.

Photo: Luke Dyson

Words: Nayana.AB

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