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S1 E6: Lauren Ray – Singer/Songwriter

Lauren Ray is an independent singer/songwriter.

Lauren Ray - Singer Songwriter
Lauren Ray – Singer Songwriter

Based in London, Lauren has firmly established herself as an independent music artist. In 2016, Lauren released her debut album ‘We Will Need Courage’. Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, the album was released to critical acclaim.

Following this release she has toured extensively across the UK and Europe, supporting artists such as Anastacia, Rebecca Ferguson and Paul Carrack.

Lauren Ray

Alongside writing and recording her own creative projects, Lauren has written and collaborated with artists in a variety of genres.

Lauren penned and lent her vocals to US Trance Producer Jason Ross, featuring on his two hit singles Me Tonight and I Will Be There. Lauren has also written with UK and US country-pop artists such as Don Gollardo, Carey Ott, Beth Keeping and Emily Faye and UK soul/pop artist Monique Lawson. With her unique but catchy melodies and lyrical depth, Lauren is a songwriter that is quickly making a name for herself.

Our conversation took place in July 2020, a few months after her second studio album ‘Woman In The Arena’ was released. We cover numerous topics including what it takes to find your voice, achieving authenticity in songwriting in how different people interpret her music.

For more information about Lauren Ray visit laurenraymusic.com.

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Episodes

S1 E4: Nazan Fikret – Soprano

Nazan Fikret is an operatic soprano.

Born in the UK to Turkish and Irish parents, Nazan Fikret studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and her singing career has led to numerous critically acclaimed operatic performances all over the world, most recently as Blonde in The Seraglio for the English Touring Opera.

Nazan Fikret as Blonde in The Seraglio, ETO (photo by Robert Workman)
Nazan Fikret as Blonde in The Seraglio, English Touring Opera (Photographer: Robert Workman)

She is a Britten-Pears Young Artist, a recipient of an International Opera Awards Bursary, was a finalist in the 2017 Das Lied International Song Competition, is an experienced recitalist, former Making Music Young Concert Artist and a Talent Unlimited musician.

As a coloratura soprano, she has the vocal dexterity to sing breathtakingly high notes. This agile vocal range has lead to performances such as the iconic Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute, which we discuss later in this episode.

Nazan Fikret as Queen of the Night in Opera På Skäret, 2019
Nazan Fikret as Queen of the Night in Opera På Skäret (Photographer: Andreas Hylthén)

Highlights in recent seasons include Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte for Opera på Skäret, Garsington Opera and Rota das Artes, Lisbon; her Glyndebourne debut as Elin in Agreed, a new community opera composed by Howard Moody, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Arasse Siroe, re de Persia and Handel’s Messiah for the Nederlandse Reisopera; and Euridice Orfeo ed Euridice for Longborough Festival Opera.

Pianist: Richard Black

I cannot claim to be the greatest opera aficionado, but to appreciate the power of someone like Nazan, you do not have to be. I have heard Nazan sing in person without amplification and I would liken the experience to the first time I heard a Formula One car going top speed back in 2007. It’s a sound that resonates through your body, shakes your bones and grips your heart.

Originally when I set out to create this series, I was keen to record each session in locations relevant to the guest. However, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, our conversation had to be shifted to a remote recording session.

Nazan kindly spoke to me from her home in July 2020. We cover her upbringing, her first performances and how to translate emotion through singing in a multitude of different languages.

If you’d like to see more of her work, please visit www.nazanfikret.com