Corinne Bailey Rae is a soul-rooted contemporary R&B singer and songwriter with multiple Top Ten U.K. and U.S. albums. Displaying an interest in music from an early age, Bailey Rae studied classical violin until she acquired an electric guitar in her early teens. Inspired by such '90s alt-rock icons as L7, Veruca Salt, and Belly, Bailey Rae formed her first band, Helen. Despite developing a strong local following, the band ultimately folded and she enrolled at Leeds University to study English literature. While at school, a job at a jazz club inspired her more soul-oriented leanings and she began writing songs. Eventually, she scored a record deal with EMI and released her self-titled debut solo album in February 2006. It topped the U.K. album chart, pushed by the number two single "Put Your Records On," and reached number four on the U.S. Billboard 200. Bailey Rae earned three Grammy nominations and was nominated for as many MOBOs, two of which — Best U.K. Female, Best U.K. Newcomer — she won. A year later, both an expanded edition of the album and the CD/DVD set Live in London & NY appeared, and she was featured on Herbie Hancock's Grammy-winning River: The Joni Letters.
Corinne Bailey Rae's second proper album, The Sea, was heavily affected by the death of her husband, saxophonist Jason Rae. Despite the traumatic events surrounding its recording, it translated into commercial success as another instant Top Ten hit in the U.K. and U.S. after its January 2010 release. She followed the Mercury Prize-nominated album early the next year with the considerably lighter The Love EP, a five-song set containing covers of songs originally recorded by the likes of Prince, Bob Marley, and Paul McCartney & Wings. Her version of Marley's "Is This Love" won a Grammy in the category of Best R&B Performance. As she worked on her third proper album, she temporarily retreated from the spotlight and remarried in 2013. In February 2016, "Been to the Moon," a collaboration with King's Paris and Amber Strother, heralded The Heart Speaks in Whispers, which arrived three months later. The album peaked at number two on the R&B charts. One year later, Bailey Rae recorded a cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist" for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack. ~ Matt Collar & Andy Kellman