For Corinne Bailey Rae, the best part of releasing her second album — “The Sea,” which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart in February — was having a whole other batch of songs to play in concert.
“It feels like I’ve got more songs to choose from, and it makes it easier to plan a set,” says the British singer and songwriter, whose self-titled 2006 debut was certified platinum and scored two Grammy Award nominations for the single “Put Your Records On.” “I really want to take people on a journey ... so I feel like having two records to choose from, you can really plan it well and have some songs that are more intimate and songs that are more fun and more exciting.
“So I feel really pleased with how it’s working, and with every gig you just try to improve it and work out what would be a good flow. Every audience is different, so that has a big effect on how the gig goes.”
Rae, 31, also presents a more exposed side of herself with the songs from “The Sea.” The recording of the album was interrupted by the March 2008 death of her husband, saxophonist Jason Rae, from an accidental drug overdose. When she returned to recording, Rae’s songs not surprisingly dealt with the tragedy.
But she did not hesitate to release those songs to the public, nor does she mind playing them live.
“I think, definitely, the songs become more extreme when you play them live,” Rae explains, “so I think the intimate and personal songs become more so. I think for me they’ll always mean a certain (specific) thing, but for different people they mean different things, which I like.
“I think it’s a really beautiful thing that happens in writing songs; you write songs just for yourself and chose for them to come out in the world, and then the people who hear them decide what they mean to them. We’re all people. We all have similar experiences, so I really like it when people come up to you and say ‘This song means this to me,’ and it’s completely different than what I feel about it. The songs don’t have to be owned by the person who wrote them.”
Corinne Bailey Rae and Daniel Merriweather perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $29.50. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.
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