Recconecting with Corinne Bailey Rae’s FAULTS


We first spoke to Corinne back in 2014 for issue 18 of FAULT. We spoke to her midway through recording her latest album, ‘The Heart Speaks Through Whispers’. Now on the eve of the album’s release we wanted to catch back up with Corrine to ask if it all turned out how she’s planned and see what had changed since our last interview.


It’s been 2 years since we last spoke for FAULT #18 and ‘The Heart Speaks Through Whispers’ album title has stuck since then. Does it mean the same to you today as it did back in 2014?

It really does. It’s a lyric from the song ‘The Skies Will Break’ which is on the album and it’s about how hope is necessary and change is possible. Sometimes you need to quiet down and block out what’s happening around you and just listen to your inner voice. It’s become a really big theme for the album and it still means the same as it did back then.



Has the album evolved music since you first started working on it?

Most definitely! I first stared by just listening to my inner voice and ideas would come through dreams and I’d just write them down when I woke up. I would play the piano and Guitar and conjure up rhythms through the imagery I was seeing. There we so many different ways I was coming up with music.

In LA we got to work with a whole range of musicians and build some new relationships. Some of the songs on the record would change during and it’s been constantly changing since. If I didn’t put it out now it would probably turn into something completely different. I always say an album is a record of where you’ve been in that period and this really is a record of what I’ve been doing, exploring more playful music and playing with the more down to earth personal acoustic tracks.


The three tracks released before release were all very different. Can we expect very different sounds track to tracks on the album?

I really felt that I wanted to honour each song separately. I wasn’t thinking “how is it all going to work together” for instance the album closer track, ‘Night’. It really made me think of film noir and something magical and really wanted that to be intimate and then get grander and abstract but for other songs I just wanted them to be playful and cheeky. Whatever the song sounded like individually, I wanted to shine on that and while everything is different, I just hope it all still feels like me and like a journey.



It’s been a while since your last album. Do you feel pressure that you have to please all the fans?

I didn’t feel pressure making the record. I’d just finished an 18-month tour and then I thought “What do I want to do next?” I knew I wanted to keep doing music but I wasn’t sure what context it should be in, on a label etc. The record company was just so supportive with me co-producing with Steve Brown and doing it in LA so they were the right partners and they believed in me. Having their confidence was really important to me. It’s been so good to just do my own thing and to hear that people like me and are waiting for the music. You never imagine that anyone is curious so I’m so happy with the response. I’m so looking forward for touring.


Studio vs Stage?

I think it depends on the season. When I’m touring and I’m loving it and I’ll say yes to every gig because I love connecting with people. I love feeling like each night is an adventure. After a while of that though I feel the need for something different and new to experience.

At that time, my favourite place is to be writing but after a while of going back and forths during production, I’m then just itching to take it on stage and I guess that’s where I am now.


How easy has writing come to you? Have you suffered from writer’s block?

It’s been really easy and enjoyable because I haven’t forced it. ‘Walk On’ is just a stream of conciseness which I originally recorded on my phone while I was playing piano. I love writing like that, because you listen to it back and rehear lyrics and vocal tones which you weren’t even conscious of in the moment. Improvisation was such an important part of the whole record.

I’ve written about 4 different projects in this time, ones for a film and they’re all just so different so it has felt so natural and fluid.



Did you find inspiration from any other artists for the album?

I saw Patti Smith play and she’s so full of freedom and the music just channelled through her. I really loved that about her and seeing Herbie Hancock was the same. Jazz musicians who never do the same thing twice. They just get on stage and let the music happen. Sometimes you can rehearse and rehearse and have it all perfect but when you’re on stage, that’s where the magic truly happens.


Last time your FAULT was you were living in the future and not enjoying the present. Have you overcome your FAULT?

Absolutely. I hadn’t written ‘Stop Where You Are’, at that point but that song is all about living in the moment and just stopping to appreciate how things are and the world that we’re in. It’s all about the be here now and not worrying about the future and past. I definitely feel like where I am now is very present and I appreciate what’s happening around me. I know that I used to feel that way and I’m glad I’m not that way.

I guess my FAULT now is how unorganised I am!


Words: Miles Holder