Popping Up: Rainy Milo

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Beyoncé and Miley were once unknown, too.

Eighteen-year-old UK siren Rainy Milo may not be the most familiar name on the block right now, but just wait until her debut album This Thing Of Ours hits, and you’ll be praying that every day is Rainy.

The young singer/songwriter got her biggest break when famed British DJ Gilles Peterson included her buzz single “Bout You” on his Brownswood Bubblers Eight, a compilation series that showcases new talent. From there, Rainy dropped her debut mixtape Limey, followed by her EP Black & Blonde.

Both prepped her for This Thing Of Ours, her debut album which dropped last Spring in the UK (the American edition arrives in April). A combination of soul and edge, Rainy Milo is the perfect package. As she continues her ascent toward stardom, Rainy breaks down her inspiration for some of her songs, lets us in on her influences and reveals what she has coming up for 2015.

WHERE SHE WAS BORN: Rainy was born and raised in London but, as she says: “I don’t feel so connected to anywhere as my home. I just stay in London the most.”

HOW YOU MIGHT KNOW HER: Her debut single “Bout You” garnered sizable attention, but it’s her remake of the Clash single “Bankrobber” that will make her a star.

ON THE GENESIS OF “BOUT YOU”: “I wrote ‘Bout You’ in like half an hour and a few weeks later I recorded it in a friend’s bedroom. I wasn’t going to put it out, and he was like, ‘You should just put this out!’ and I was like ‘Okay, fine! Whatever.’

ON HOW SHE STARTED SONGWRITING AT 14 YEARS OLD: “I was writing real life scenarios and just, I don’t know – friends and falling out with friends, meeting people, going out with them. I just wrote about anything that really struck me emotionally. I would write it down and create it into a song. Some kids write diaries…I was writing songs.”

WHO INSPIRES HER SONGWRITING TODAY: “Definitely lyrically Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae, just because of their honesty. Kid Cudi too, I always found his choices very interesting — not just the things that he would say, but just the different genres of music that he would choose to sample from to rap over and sing over, because he did both. The same as well for Pharrell Williams and N.E.R.D. They inspired me musically. I loved that, like Kid Cudi, they would mix different genres together seamlessly and it wasn’t a big deal to them. It was just like, ‘Hey, we’re just making whatever we feel like!’ So that’s what I try to do.”

ON HER COVER OF THE CLASH’S “BANKROBBER”:  “At the time when I’d heard [“Bankrobber”], I’d recently written this song called ‘This Thing Of Ours,’ which was sort of about criminal activity too. I had sat with my ex-boyfriend’s father actually and we were watching the film RocknRolla. The song is on the soundtrack of the film and I heard it and I was like, ‘This is so cool!’ It was kind of a bit lyrically similar to what I’d just written on ‘This Thing Of Ours,’ about somebody just being a little bit gangster. I was like, ‘Hmm!’ It was so far removed from what I make that I thought, ‘Let me take this on.'”

THE FORMULA FOR THE PERFECT COVER SONG: “I don’t see any point in doing a cover and it sounding exactly the same as the original. The original song is there for that. So I think, ‘Let me take this on and completely do my own thing!’ And that’s what I do.”

PUTTING TOGETHER HER DEBUT ALBUM: “I recorded it in the Bay Area, but all of it was written in the UK. I love working in the Bay Area because it just brings out a really cool vibe in me. It’s just super chill and in that studio, I recorded to tape and then run the tape through the computer because I feel like using the old analog gear just gives the music a whole other ambiance. Even though I’m so young and I’m talking about things that are a very modern truth in the times that I’m living in, using the older gear gives it this older feel as well, so I love that.”

LONDON IS FOR LOVERS: While Rainy records her stuff across the pond, she still loves drawing inspiration from her home turf. Says Rainy: “I get inspired even eavesdropping on people’s conversation on the bus or the tube and then I’ll think about what they’re saying and relate it to me and things that I’ve been through, and then I’ll write down a couple of lyrics. That’s often how I write a lot of my songs, just by sitting on public transport in London. And I like how gloomy the weather is! I could never be one of those people that are like, ‘Oh my God! I’m going to go out to L.A. and work on some music!’ It’s just way too sunny for me.”

WHAT’S NEXT FOR RAINY: As we await her debut, Rainy plans to wow everyone with her live performances. “I am on a full-on tour at the end of the year through next year. For the next year, I really want to do SXSW. I’m releasing another single at the top of next year, and the album comes out over here April 2015. So I’m super excited.”

THE WAITING GAME FOR THIS THING OF OURS: “I’m just very eager to hear the reactions, because especially Americans and certain countries in general, you guys always come with really interesting comments to say about how the music made you feel or what you like about it, or what you like about the show even. So I’m just really excited to hear what you all have to say.”

Have you already discovered Rainy Milo? Let us know in the comments below.

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