24th May 2019

I was due to meet Corinne in the plush hotel coffee shop of the Prince Hotel but she suggested as it was such a beautiful day that we stroll around the gardens instead and chat. Pleasant, warm, intelligent and a delightful charisma, the interview, was literally, a stroll in the park.


Songwriting and Recording


Q: Between The Sea in 2010 and The Heart Speaks In Whispers in 2016, you must have come up with more than the sixteen that came out on The Heart Speaks In Whispers. How do you select what goes on an album and what happens to the ones that don’t make it?


CBR: I chose the songs on the last album because they are thematic to the record. It’s about the interiority of a person: the things that are in your subconscious and the things that bubble through but there are others that are just sort of personal – just for myself. I’ll sing them to myself and they’ll come and go and make sense for a particular time or moment. Others I might start and not finish them. There are definitely a bunch of songs that I’ve started that are still in the air because I haven’t quite got the right bit here or there but with an album, I like to have a body of songs that make sense to me.


Q: Is it possible for you to describe how a song comes to you, the process and how easy or difficult it is?


CBR: Generally my favourite songs come quite quickly but I also believe in the craft of songwriting in how you have to spend time, have certain experiences and inspirations to suddenly make something click and fit. I think the reason the record took a lot of time as well is because I was learning to be a producer. A lot of songwriters find that one producer that suits them and then just fly and I can see the benefit of that because you get more work done but I really got into production and I love being in the studio. I love having written something and then thinking ‘Now what are we going to do with it? Should it have strings or drums…I probably like the studio a little bit too much because I’m always really happy to be in there. (smiles) I love recording guitar sessions or choirs or thinking about horn parts. I’ve also just started writing for film and television and those songs are specific for a film or TV show. Sometimes they get used and sometimes they don’t and in that situation, I don’t really feel like I want to bring it forward – I want it to have a context.


Q: Some songs you write seem personally very close to you. Is it ever cathartic?


CBR: Yes. I think it’s always useful to process your emotions in a particular way. I also find sometimes that when I’m writing, I think I’m writing it for somebody else but I’m not. Like with The Skies Will Break, I thought I was writing it for someone who was really struggling. I had this dream and saw this person was weighed down, sad and weeping and I was running alongside them, encouraging them, pushing them and it was only as the months and years went by that I realized that I was that person and the song was really useful for me as well. Songs mean something at a particular time when I write them but that meaning can change and help me as well.


Q: So you have to let those songs go. Does it make it easier when people tell you what it means to them which would obviously be something entirely different? You get a different take on it.


CBR: Absolutely and that’s the amazing thing. Having had that first record that came out in 2006, a lot of time has gone past and I have been able to travel a lot. It’s been amazing to hear different people’s stories. That’s the thing I enjoyed most about touring with this last record. I met so many people and because that time had gone past since the first album, they were able to tell me their stories. You know, how a song would remind them of a particular person or many people had experienced grief and that chimes with my experience. Other things like growing up, going through life. Sometimes their stories are not so tightly related to the song – it could be the person who introduced them to the song – but I always feel that once you put something out, it doesn’t really belong to you anymore. It belongs to other people and I’m grateful for them to have an interaction with it.


Q: As well as writing performing your own songs, you have an ability to adapt cover versions into your style. My Love, Since I’ve Been Loving You and others. Have you ever had any feedback from any of the musicians who recorded those originally about your versions?


CBR: Oh I love My Love! I love it! I didn’t know it and I went to The White House for a performance of Paul McCartney. (2nd June 2010 The Gershwin Prize Award) I was performing on the second day and the first night was his classical pieces and they did a string version of My Love. It was incredible and I just had to check it out. I do like covering other people’s songs; I think it freed me. When I was fifteen, I started my first band (Helen) which I loved but we were obviously limited by our ability as kids to make and write music. Then when I was at University I was working in a Jazz and Soul club and that was when I was in another band called The Sugar Brew and we were able to play other people’s songs. We’d do Led Zeppelin, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder…so I was able to get into interpreting other people’s songs. It was just the culture of that club; it was brilliant and fun doing other people’s music and I also learnt a lot from that. I always want to keep an element of that in my show.


Q: I have to ask, did you meet Paul?


CBR: Yeah I did and he’s super cool! I was rehearsing, we were doing the soundcheck singing Blackbird and I just opened my eyes and he was just sat there on the front row. He was very friendly; he was there with his whole family so I met Stella and Mary and seem then quite a bit since. Mary is a photographer so I’ve worked with her a couple of times.


Q: You have had the most extraordinary journey over the last ten years...


CBR: Yeah! I love writing and I love touring and getting to play in front of people. My touring company is called All Connected because as a band I love the idea that we are all connected to each other and what we do on this tour is connected to all the other things in our life and also that we are all connected with the audience. It’s just about that one moment, that one minute in the room. I’ve enjoyed getting support from artists that I’ve admired as well. Getting to meet Paul McCartney or perform with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Paul Weller…getting nods of approval from all these people is massive for me.


Q: Correct me if I’m wrong but probably a part of that is because success came to you a little bit later than the average person so you appreciate it more


CBR: Yes maybe so. I wasn’t seventeen so I think I was already my own person. You know, I’m performing with Stevie Wonder at Hyde Park and getting to meet those people and they say ‘Come around’ is wonderful.


Q: You’ve sited Lenny Kravitz as well as an influence and you’re going to be performing with him.


CBR: Yeah that’s right! Lenny Kravitz put me onto a lot of music as well. I had a lot of friends who were older than me and they would say ‘Oh if you like Lenny Kravitz you should check out this Beatles song or this Led Zeppelin song or this Sly And Family Stone song’. He was a doorway into so much music for me but just him himself, I think he’s such a talented artist and really against the grain at that particular time in 90’s music. It was a lot shinier and he came across as earthy. I loved that.


Q: What goes through your mind when you’re sharing a stage with your heroes and heroines? Is it a (please excuse the pun) Stop Where You Are moment?


CBR: Absolutely! (broad smile) You can get caught up in it especially when performing with someone. One of the best musical experiences I ever had was in a rehearsal with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock when we had to do one of my songs. I think it was in Paris for UNESCO and Wayne is improvising on Like A Star and it was like… (eyes light up) THIS IS THE MOST DREAMY EXPERIENCE I’VE EVER HAD! (laughs) It’s really transcendent to be in that moment. Very present…this is happening…this is real and it takes you up, out of your body into a sort of eternal moment. I’ve had a lot of those moments in music.


Corinne…back then and here now


Q: ‘She comes across as an ordinary girl from Leeds’ is how one article described you back in 2006. You have never have courted fame, always appeared very grateful for the status you have and

never taken it for granted but it has changed your life. Are you still that ordinary girl from Leeds?


CBR: Well I always think those sort of statements are really loaded. The thing about being from a city that’s not very celebrated there are opposite things that people want from you. When they say ‘Oh you’re ordinary’ or that you are not from a celebrated town, it’s sometimes like damning somebody with fake praise. I think I treat people in a nice way. The fame aspect is sort of nonsense; you know, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, they are just normal people from Liverpool and Detroit. A lot of people are interested in getting notoriety but that’s never been my thing. I just really want to make music and whatever I can do to facilitate that is what I’ll do. I also think that being a songwriter, it’s very important not to separate yourself from other people. When my first record came out I found it very overwhelming. I was doing promotion at a shop called Top Shop in Manchester with a crowd of people my age and younger feeling really hemmed in and I remember thinking ‘Oh I hope this isn’t how my life is going to be now’ because I like to go to the supermarket or be at a train station. I like to have interaction with people that are not based on that.


Q: Do you get recognized often?


CBR: No. I don’t go out all dressed up unnecessarily; I like to be under the radar. I want to work, write, record, perform but I want to be authentically attached to my life and not construct a façade I have to hide inside. I think that could be really damaging for people’s psyche. I’m not trying to be an edifice.


Q: Well this has been one of the most plasant interviews for both content and the atmosphere. Thank you for suggesting the walk and for the chat.


CBR: Yeah it was nice to have a little walk! Thank you and it was really nice to talk to you.

コリーヌ・ベイリー・レイ インタビュー






Q:2010年リリースの『The Sea』と2016年リリースの『The Heart Speaks In Whispers』の間には、『The Heart Speaks In Whispers』収録関連の16曲より多くの曲が出来ていたそうですが、アルバム収録曲はどのようにして選ぶのですか?

CBR: この前のアルバムでは主題に沿った曲を選んだの。人間の内面というのがテーマだった。人間の潜在意識とそこから湧き上がってくるものだったんだけど、私自身に向けて書いたものなの。自分に向けて歌うものだし、人生の時々でいろいろな曲が心に響くと思うの。書き始めたものの、まだ完成していない曲もあるわ。まさに宙に浮いているような状態の曲が何曲もあるの。どこをどう落ち着けようか分からないのよ。でもアルバムとなれば、ピンとくる曲を入れたいわね。






CBR:ええ、そうね。感情をうまくコントロールするために役立っているわ。曲を書くという時、誰か他の人に向けて書くこともあると言われるけど、私の場合、それはないわ。「The Skies Will Break」は、何かと闘っている誰かに向けて書いていると思ってたの。そういう曲を書けるのが夢だったし、打ちひしがれて、落ち込んでいる人に寄り添って励ましてあげられればいいんだ、ってね。でも年月が経つと、その対象は実は自分自身だと気づいたのよ。だから自分を救えた曲だったの。私が書く曲というのは、ある特定の場面で意味を持つのよね。でもその意味も変化して、結局自分自身が救われているんだわ。



CBR: そうね。凄いことだと思うわ。2006年にアルバムデビューしたんだけど、凄く多くの時間を費やしたの。それからいろいろな所にもツアーした。他の人たちから感想を聞いて驚いたわ。この前のアルバムでツアーした時も凄く楽しかった。いろいろな人と出会えたし、デビューしてから時間も経っているから、いろいろなことを話してもらえたから。私の曲がそんなにも人の心に響き、私が経験した悲しい思いをそんなに多くの人と共有できているなんて驚きだったわ。それが成長するということでもあるし、人生を生きるということなのよね。時には誰かの経験が直接私の曲に結びつかないことだってあるけど―そう思って書いたのだけど―、一旦曲を世に出してしまったら、あとはその曲は一人歩きしていくものだと思うようになったわ。誰かのものになっていく。それで誰かの役に立てているのなら、私は満足よ。


Q:自作曲と同様、誰かの曲をカバーする時にあなた流のスタイルにしますよね。「My Love」とか「Since I’ve Been Loving You」とか。オリジナルのアーティストからあなたのバージョンについてコメントをもらったことはありますか?

CBR:「My Love」が大好きなの!ほんとに!ホワイトハウスにポール・マッカートニーを観に行ったことがあるの。(2010年6月2日、ガーシュイン賞授賞式)2日目に私がプレイしたんだけど、初日は彼が往年の名曲を演奏したの。その時にストリングス入りの「My Love」を演奏したのよ。素晴らしかったわ。ただただ聴き惚れていたわ。他の人が書いた曲をカバーするのは好きよ。自分を解放できる感じね。15歳の時、最初のバンドを組んだの(ヘレンというバンドだった)。でもまだ子供だったから、自分たちで曲を書くことはできなかった。その後大学の時に、ジャズ&ソウルのクラブで働いていたの。その時は「ザ・シュガー・ブリュー」というバンドを組んでいた。カバー曲ばかりを演奏していたわ。レッド・ツェッペリン、ビル・ウィザース、スティーヴィー・ワンダーとかの曲をね。そこで他人の曲を自分流にアレンジすることを覚えたの。そういうのが、そのクラブの文化だったの。素晴らしかったし、他の人の曲を演奏するのは楽しかったわ。こういうことからたくさんのことを学んだわ。いつも自分のコンサートでは望んでこの要素を採り入れているの。









CBR: たぶんそうだわ。17歳の頃だったら、自分のことしか考えてなかったしね。スティーヴィー・ワンダーとハイド・パークで共演したことがあるんだけど、気軽に「一緒にやろう」と声掛けてくれたの。素晴らしい経験だったわ。





Q:あなたの憧れのスターとステージで共演するとなると、どんな気持ちになりますか?駄洒落を許していただきたいのですが、「Stop Where You Are moment(このまま時間を止めて)」なんて気持ちでしょうか?

CBR:まさにそうね!(笑)もう夢中になるわね。これまでで最高の音楽経験は、ウェイン・ショーターとのリハーサルだったわ。彼が私の曲を演奏してくれたの。ユネスコのためのパリでのチャリティ・ショーだったと思うけど、ウェインが「Like A Star」でアドリブをしてくれたの。もう・・(目を見開いて)「THIS IS THE MOST DREAMY EXPERIENCE I’VE EVER HAD(これまで生きてきた中で最高の経験ね)!」だったわ(笑)。もう時空を超越している感覚だったわ。これが現実に起こっていることなの?って感じ。心も体も永遠の瞬間に入っていったような感じよ。そんな経験をこの世界でたくさんさせてもらっているわ。