NEW YORK (AP) — It took six years for Corinne Bailey Rae to release her third album, "The Heart Speaks in Whispers." While that may seem like a long wait, it could have been worse — as in never.
Rae flirted with that possibility after the release of her acclaimed "The Sea." That melancholic album was defined by a personal tragedy; her husband, Jason Rae, died suddenly while she was creating it. After finishing the album, touring and putting out a Grammy-winning EP "The Love" a year later, Rae decided fresh perspective was needed and found herself in a deep soul-searching mode.
"I had a chance at this point to say, you know, 'What is my life now, what should it look like, what do I even want to do?'" the soft-spoken Brit said. "Am I robust enough to do more of this type of work in terms of presenting your thoughts and feelings to people? I've always loved music and I knew that I wanted to carry on making music, but ... do I really want to do it in a record deal with albums that come out, and doing tours, all of that?"
So Rae removed herself from the mechanics of the industry, built a recording studio and started making music with no specific goal in mind. She then decided she still wanted to make albums and share them with the world.
The 37-year-old singer-songwriter talked about her musical and personal journey during a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Associated Press: This record is a bit funkier, more experimental. Where did that come from?
Rae: Playing with a lot of different musicians really informed the feel of the record. I've been really lucky to be performing with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter in the period between the two records ... that's had a really big impact on me, I think, just in terms of thinking about freedom. They are both people who are exceptional at what they are doing and have worked so hard as well at what they do, they can go onstage and they just fly, they're just free. So freedom has been a really big sort of message for me and the album, thinking about instinct and the subconscious and letting ideas come through.
AP: Did you need a break after "Under the Sea"?
Rae: I felt like I was sort of reassessing what I wanted to do as a person. ... What happens if I just sit here, what happens if I just play my guitar and sing ... is it all there? Because I didn't want it to be work, I didn't want it to be phony. A big thing for me is I want everything to be truthful. ... I wanted to make sure that the life that I had made was going to fit the person that I now was.
AP: You married your producer, Steve Brown in 2013, who worked on your last record. How did things change after you got married?
Rae: I think the main way things changed since Steve and I were in a relationship is that we communicate a lot better with each other. ... I think it really helps that we have a good relationship because I feel like we communicate well. We did agree a lot on the music, but ultimately I will win; it's my project.
AP: You have such a buoyant spirt. How did you get over such a painful time and get to a point where you can smile again?
Rae: The main way that I find myself in a position of feeling joyful again is just the sheer amount of time that's gone past between losing Jason and now. I think that time, it sort of does an incredible thing. It just heals itself; your mind heals itself. I feel like I've had really good friends, and really good family and that's made a massive difference — just being able to talk, just talk it though. ... Your life kind of grows to get bigger and stronger, and so the pain is still exactly the same in a way, but it doesn't sort of like, unbalance you to the same extent, because your life has grown around it. ... Believe that your life will grow in ways you never expected. That it will be different.
This story has been corrected to show the title of Rae's second album is "The Sea," instead of "Under the Sea."