Ray BLK Releases Debut Album “Access Denied”: Streaming
- British singer-songwriter Rita Ekwere, aka Ray BLK released her long-awaited debut album “Access Denied” on October 1, 2021 via Island Records.
The album comprises of 14-track, including the previously released “MIA” with Kaash Paige, “Games” with Giggs, and “Dark Skinned”.
The album features guest appearances from Giggs, Kaash Paige, Kojey Radical, Stefflon Don and Suburban Plaza.
This time, British singer-songwriter MNEK worked with her as producer for the album.
But Ray BLK and MNEK were school friends. She was crafting her first body of work with him, forming the group New Found Content in the school.
Ray BLK said of the album, “I've been looking forward to this moment of releasing my debut album since I was 13 in the studio with MNEK learning how to write songs and knew for certain I wanted to be a singer.”
She continued, “Access Denied is for those who like myself, know disappointment too well and have learned to create boundaries as a coping mechanism for self-protection. I've opened up about how the childhood I had made me guarded, how disappointing relationships made me fear love and how being told no so many times in the music industry kicked me down, but I got back up. I want people to listen to this record and value themselves enough to deny access to those who are undeserving, and to also value themselves enough to keep believing in themselves when they're denied access to certain spaces and say yes to themselves when the world tells them no.”
Her stage name is taken from her surname 'Ray', and added 'BLK', an acronym of her three most important values: Building, Living, Knowing.
She explained track-by-track for the album via Apple Music.
“This summarizes a big part of the album. Like, what artist doesn't want success? But I think it's about defining what success is to you. To some people, they're not successful until they have a No. 1 record. That sounds like absolute hell to me. I can't imagine the constant chasing of success and not feeling validated until you receive it.”
“This song came from rage. Absolute rage. Straight beef. Just anger, fuming. That's where I was when I made this song. I really wanted to piss off my ex. I wanted to piss him off to let him know, like, 'Wow, you had all of this. Sorry for your loss!' With the rap section, there was an artist who I wanted to be on it, and he was just being long. He sent me half a verse, and then was being long on sending the other half. And I was like, 'Do you know what? Fuck that. I'll write a better verse.'”
“Smoke” featuring Kojey Radical
“I really just wanted to brag and talk my shit. I really had people come and say to me, 'You'll be a backing vocalist.' There's nothing wrong with being a backing vocalist, but if you want to be a lead singer, for someone to tell you, 'No, baby, that's not for you' can be so demoralizing. I wanted to talk my shit so that the people who said those things to me now know that you can't even say these things to me anymore.”
“I was having the worst time of my life. I was in LA, making the album. It was meant to be a fun, amazing time of doing sessions with incredible people. But people kept on canceling on me. So, I just spoke about the pressure of feeling like I needed to make fire music and reflecting on just the space I was in. Being 25, this quarter-life crisis is a real thing where you feel like you have to have it all figured out. But I just couldn't relate, and I just wanted to pour it into a song.”
“I wrote this skit based off of a conversation I had with a person I was dating. I was fuming, I had had enough, and so I just said everything on my chest. Like, 'You'll never be anybody. Look at your life. This is why your life is the way it is, because you waste your time with women.' There was so much venom I gave to him.”
“I was only just beginning to learn about creating boundaries and not allowing people who bring me down into my space. It was the beginning of me learning about self-care. 'Access Denied' is not about thinking you're too good for anybody; it's thinking, 'I value you and I would like to be valued as well—for us to share our space together.' I wanted every line to feel like an affirmation to oneself. I'm protecting my peace. I won't allow anybody to come and disrupt my mental health.”
“[My past] has definitely molded me into the person I am, for sure. I'm only just unlearning some unhealthy behaviors, and learning what a healthy relationship really is. For so long, I was scared of being disappointed because I learned that love is disappointment. This song is about knowing that people who love you can, and will, stay in your life.”
“Games” featuring Giggs
“I wanted to put people on the game that is dating. A lot of these situationships, it's a game. Don't get caught up in it and get gassed because it feels good and the sex is so crazy. Enjoy all of that, but let's come back and focus. He was never going to be your husband. It's a game. He is not your husband! Let's remember.”
“If I Die”
“This song is about toxic sex. Really, really good sex that can mess up your brain. You just don't want to get off the rollercoaster, and you're loving it. I wanted the song to feel really sensual, like the production—I wanted it to feel horny. I feel like people haven't really heard me speak the way I'm speaking on this song: explicitly. But that's a part of womanhood, you know?”
“MIA” featuring Kaash Paige
“I will give props to the producer ADP. I wanted to use a throwback R&B sample in the album because I wanted it to be very clear this is an R&B album. He picked this DeBarge sample ['Stay With Me'], which is most famously known for the Ashanti song ['Foolish']. My fear of sampling something is that you can hear it and all you're thinking about is the original. But I feel like it's a whole new, different song.”
“I was dating an artist, a popular artist, and as most of these rappers do, he was enjoying the relationship but didn't want to be exclusive, even though we were behaving exclusive. They want to have the milk, but not the cow. I remember feeling like, 'I also want you to be mine, you know?'”
“I really wanted to make a song that was positive about being Black. I, of course, think it's so important to highlight the Black struggle and to come together to eradicate that, but at the same time, I also want us to have just as much celebration of Black beauty. The phone call at the end is actually my mum. That's a standard conversation with her. She's a pastor, so she's someone who's always uplifting people and sharing positive messages.”
“Go-go Girl” featuring Suburban Plaza
“I feel like people don't know that I like to have a good time, because in the past I've made such serious music about serious topics. People don't know, if you see me out, just give me room, because what I need to do is twerk on the floor. So, I wanted to put some of that into the album. We made a strip-club song, but it's meant to be affirming and uplifting.”
“Over You” featuring Stefflon Don
“I wanted this song at the end because I felt like it was a nice conclusion line in terms of the sentiment of letting go of someone or something. It's good to remember that this, too, shall pass. Hard times, whether it's a breakup or you're experiencing depression, at some point it will pass and you'll be over it, and you'll feel like dancing and you'll just feel free. And it gave me that sort of vibe.”
- source : Apple Music