With her fifth single "I'd Like To" coming to the U.K stores on February, 12, 2007 alongside the re-released edition of her self-titled album, all looks to run rather smooth indeed for Corinne Bailey Rae, especially when taking a peek on what she is set to do next for months ahead. For the rest of February only, she has already had a slot to share stage at the 49th annual Grammy Awards with John Mayer and John Legend on date 11 while being attached to perform live in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain by the late of the month. The shows delightfully will continue in March with stops in other European countries such as Italy, German, Swiss, and France before she returns to her homeland to greet fans in cities like Manchester, London, and Newcastle starting from date 13.
An undeniably perfect choice for those seeking for a respite from hip-hop and angst rock-filled radio, Corinne Bailey Rae was born to a West Indian father and an English mother as the eldest of their three daughters on February 26, 1979 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Ever since she was a child, music has become an inseparable part of her life that it was no surprise that the girl later opted to study classical violin at school while participating in her Baptist church choir. “It was always my favourite part of the service, the singing,” she recalled.
Able to expand her musical horizons during the time, it did not take long for Corinne to open up to further musical interest, none other than songwriting, thanks to a youth leader from her church who offered to buy her an electric guitar. With all the skills enhanced by an aspiration to have a band modeled after the likes of Veruca Salt and L7, she confidently formed an all-female group named Helen with some friends during her teens. Much to her delight, the troupe quickly managed to draw attention from local music fans, even in 1995 being the first indie act to be signed under heavy metal record label Roadrunner Records.
Amid the initial achievement, however, all deals sadly fell through after the bassist was found to be pregnant, which led to the disbanding of the group in the end. Utterly disappointed, Corinne then decided to put her musical ambition on hold and enrolled in the University of Leeds majoring in English Literature. To keep herself close to music, the girl eagerly took night job as a modern-day hatcheck girl at a local jazz club where she joyously was permitted to perform onstage when business was slow. This inevitably brought influence to her singing style as she gradually moved away from all things indie and leaned to more soulful territory in turn.
Not only experienced a change in her musical direction, Corinne also faced another in her private life as she happily married saxophone player Jason Rae in 2001 to then add her husband's surname behind her own since. Being someone's wife thankfully did not lessen her determination to continue striving in the Leeds music circuit for she smoothly established herself through collaborations with local acts such as The New Mastersounds and Homecut Directive over the next few years. The persistence was really paid off when she was picked up by Mark Hill of The Artful Dodger to be featured in his album “better luck next time” on the track "Young and Foolish" that ultimately brought her to land recording contract at EMI in 2005.
Using the opportunity as best as she could, Corinne subsequently made a quick move to issue her first record, a single called “Like a Star” in November the same year followed by the second one “Put Your Records On” and eponymous debut album in February 2006. Both singles immediately became hits across the U.K., propelling the LP to go straight to the top spot of both the UK Albums Chart and UK Urban Albums Chart in its first week of release. More amazingly, the record went Gold in a number of European countries as well as in Canada to ultimately score total sales of over 2.7 million copies around the globe by the end of 2006 after previously leading the singer to garner two MOBO Awards of Best UK Newcomer and Best UK Female.
Completing the success, fantastic result also was gained in the States by late January 2007 when the record managed to reach the fourth place on The Billboard 200 after satisfyingly selling around 55,000 copies in the country. By this time, Corinne had already landed three Grammy Award nominations in the categories of Best New Artist, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year, the latter two for “Put Your Records On.”