In 2008, right at the peak of her career, British songstress, Corinne Bailey Rae saw her life split down the middle by the tragic death of her husband who lost his life to an accidental drug overdose. Following a period of grieving, the British songstress picked herself up and got right back on the saddle. She released her sophomore album The Sea (2010), which had at the time of her husband’s death been halfway completed. Subsequently, Corinne Bailey Rae found love again in the eyes of Steve Brown, her producer. Here are some worth knowing facts about the Grammy winner.
Corinne Bailey Rae Bio
Corinne Bailey Rae (nee Jacqueline Bailey) was born on 26 February 1979 in Leeds, West Yorkshire as the first child of a British mother and a Kittitian father. When she was still a kid, her parents separated and Corinne would spend the most of her childhood with her mom.
Rae’s love for music began to develop in school but it was at the age of 10 that she really began to explore her vocal abilities. Her mom had just found faith in Christianity and as a result, Rae began attending a Brethren church where she sang with the youth choir. Subsequently, she began attending a Baptist church where the youth leader Simon Hall would become instrumental in shaping Rae’s future in music. Hall taught the kids, Rae inclusive, to write their own songs and also encouraged the singing of Primal Scream songs of which they rewrote the lyrics.
With the help of Hall, Rae was able to get her first guitar. He also introduced her to the works of music greats like Led Zeppelin and Lenny Kravitz.
Taking her musical journey to the next level, Rae formed an all-girl indie band called Helen. They played locally across Leeds but never really attracted attention from UK labels. The only interest they attracted from a US label in 1998 fell through before it could materialize. A couple of factors, chiefly the pregnancy of their bassist led the group to disband. Gutted but undeterred, Rae kept up with her passion. She’d met a certain Bob Miller a local businessman who told her she’d do just ok singing by her own. Miller would later become her manager.
By 2000, Corrine Bailey Rae earned an English Literature degree from the University of Leeds. During her school days, Rae expanded her musical horizon by becoming part of a local jazz club. After graduation, she turned her focus towards making her own music. She first began gaining recognition by collaborating on the works of established Leeds acts like the New Mastersounds.
The year 2004 became Rae’s year, with funding from Good Groove, she was able to travel to London to record her debut album. She struck instant success with the release of her debut single “Like a Star.” The Sound of 2006 BBC poll predicted that she’d be the number one breakthrough act of the year and they were spot on. Rae’s debut self-titled album peaked atop the Billboard 200 making her the fourth female British act in history to have her first album debut at number one.
Her follow-up single “Put Your Records On” was even a bigger hit. The success of that album saw Rae join Amy Winehouse as the pop voices of 2006. The following year, the accolades came rolling in. Rae won two MOBO Awards and received 3 Grammy and Brit nominations. She scooped her first Grammy in 2008 for her collaboration on Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters.
Corinne Bailey Rae went on to sell over 4 million copies worldwide with about 2 million sold in the US alone. After a rather prolonged hiatus caused majorly by the passing of her husband, Rae proved she was no one-hit wonder with the release of her sophomore work The Sea which mostly contained melancholic themes as a result of her loss. Her third album The Heart Speaks in Whispers was released in May 2016.
Family Life, Husband
In 2001 at the age of 22, Rae married jazz saxophonist Jason Rae whom she met at a local jazz club in Leeds during her university years. Born in Scotland in 1986, Jason Rae recorded albums with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Martina Topley-Bird and of course his wife Corinne.
Unfortunately, Jason lost his life on March 22, 2008, as a result of a drug overdose. The night prior to his death, Jason met up with friend James Sheasby for a drink at a pub in the Hyde Park area of Leeds. The lads retired to Sheasby’s apartment that night and Jason chose the couch to sleep on.
Unfortunately, the next afternoon when James tried to wake Jason, he discovered he was unresponsive. He found beside his body three empty bottles of methadone. The heroin substitute had been prescribed for James to help with his rehabilitation. Traces of alcohol and the prescription methadone were found in Jason Rae’s body.
The incident left Corrine wrecked for years. She found solace in music and was able to complete work on her album which would be named The Sea. She then found love in the eyes of longtime friend Steve Brown who had worked with her to complete her second album. In 2013, they got married.
Other Facts About Corinne Bailey Rae
1. She has two younger sisters Candice Bailey and Rhea Bailey. The latter is an accomplished actress best known for her roles in TV shows; The Bill and Coronation Street.
2. As of 2016, at the age of 36, Corrine has no kids. When asked about it in her interview with Independent, she replied; “That’s a little too private…”
3. Her personal fortune/net worth has been estimated at $8 million. Her second world tour, The Sea Tour grossed almost $20 million from 82 concerts.
4. She won her second Grammy Award in 2012 for her cover of the Bob Marley and the Wailers song “Is This Love.”
5. Her recording of the Coldplay song “The Scientist” was used for the opening title sequence for the film, Fifty Shades Darker.