AFROPUNK EXCLUSIVE: Rainy Milo Tells Us About Healing Through Songwriting
By Sound Check
August 8, 2014
18-year-old UK artist Rainy Milo has a new age R&B sound, wicked sense of style and an unmatched sense of confidence to match. Her music blends jazz, hip-hop, R&B and pop into something effortlessly cool, forward-thinking and hugely accessible. She has a natural affinity for the rootsy sounds of South-London where she was born and raised with her Guyanese mother and British father.
We sat down with Rainy in the middle of Union Square in New York to discuss what’s next, what inspires her, growing up in a home where both rock and gospel tunes played and her favorite color.
Interview by Priscilla Ward, AFROPUNK Contributor *
Do you feel the need Americanize your music, or are you pushing to stay true to your London roots through and through when it comes to your sound?
I think I just naturally pick, choose and steal things from all different genres. I take the parts of the music I like and I mix them together to sort of create my own Rainy Milo sound. I never really think about it being American or European, It is what it is. I do what I like.
Tell me about the process of putting together your first album?
I spent two summers on it, so when I was 16. Then I went back again and of course your taste changes, so I added some more tracks the next summer I came back. It was about 2 summers worth of recording in the Bay area.
What did you learn about yourself from this process?
I feel like through writing songs and going home and coming back, I almost became even better with going inside of myself. I found myself finding new ways to go about saying some of the same things that have been said, about relationships, falling out with people, ect. I think this is what I taught myself to do while I was writing.
What really inspired this album for you?
Often it feels like I am talking about the same person, but often I draw from a lot of different scenarios. I think I just always draw inspiration from real life. I saw it as a form of self-healing as I was writing the songs.
What keeps you going, and creating new music on a regular basis?
I think because it’s for myself, I find it just very therapeutic, and that’s what keeps me writing. When people understand, and respond that’s what keeps me putting it out there, versus just keeping it selfishly just for me.
What have been some really positive responses you’ve gotten from your music thus far?
It’s just nice when people respond and say, “I feel like you understand me”. It’s just something as human beings in general we all want to feel like someone understands us.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Miguel, The Weeknd, Amy Winehouse and N*E*R*D.
Do you consider yourself to be an underground artist and if so why?
In some ways no, because the things that I talk about are very universal. I may have come from an underground scene, but I don’t see myself staying there forever. Seeing people’s responses and how they connect with the music really encourages me to get my music out there. It would be nice to reach an even bigger audience, and touch even more people.
Is there any artist in particular that you draw your personal inspiration from, either past or present?
I was always into N*E*R*D, just because I liked the way they are able to seamlessly blend together different genres. They are the first ones I really heard anyone doing that.
What do you like do for fun? Where can you be found on the weekend?
I’m usually in the cinema quite a lot. I used to hate it, and I was always really fidgety. I just really enjoy going to the movies with my friends.
What type of movies do you like?
I recently went to see Blue is the Warmest Colour, it was a French film. It was kind of indie, but ended up getting a lot of attention. Just the big blockbusters just the really cheesy stuff, that’s what I’m into.
So what’s your favorite part of the city to hangout in back home?
Shoreditch, it has a really nice nightlife. There is always something going on in East London. I would compare it to SoHo, just because of the youth and the way everyone is dressed.
Where do you get your style inspiration from?
My mom and I’ll mix and match it, I’m always in black.
Did you attend a performance arts high school?
I ended up going to the Brit School, that really brought up my confidence and just being around other art students. I was actually studying musical theatre there. I just used the school as an instrument to gain confidence.
What’s your favorite color?
Rainy Milo, will be touring this October in the states as well abroad, and will release her next album at the top of next year.
Photos by Dexter Navy
* Priscilla Ward is a DC native and microwaved New Yorker. She enjoys keeping an active pulse on the arts, entertainment and cultural scenes of DC, New York and Philadelphia. She also freelances for Brooklyn Exposed and MadameNoire.com. She aspires to one day have her own cartoon. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Macaronifro.