Staying True to Yourself: Corinne Bailey Rae

8 years ago by


Erik Melvin

In Partnership With The Outnet

I am so happy to share with you the very intimate conversation I had with an artist I truly admire and a friend that I truly love, Corinne Bailey Rae. We were sitting in a lovely room overlooking the outdoor garden at Narcissa in The Standard Hotel in the East Village. Corinne is a musician and a songwriter – you probably know one of her songs. Do you remember “put your records on?” – and she has just released her third album, The Heart Speaks In Whispers.

As a musician, I’ve had the chance to see her through some of her creative process and see how strong and inspired she is. As a friend, she’s the type of person that makes you ask yourself all the time: is it possible to be that graceful in everything you do? And to find out that yes, it is. Some people are like this, here to bring to the world some peace, some warmth, some love, and some beautiful music.

I’ll let you hear Corinne’s story, the magic moments and the hardships, and I’m sure you will be as inspired as I am.

[podcast_episode episode=”235049″ ]

pardon my french corinne bailey rae garance dore photo

pardon my french podcast corinne bailey rae garance dore photo

On knowing that music was going to be a career…
I started a band called Hellen when I was 15 with my two best friends and my boyfriend at the time. Just the fact that you could think of a song, go and practice in someone’s bedroom or living room, and then go into a bar or club and stand on stage and play it, and the audience actually believed it was a real song…We’d do shows so often that we didn’t have recordings but people would be able to sing along and know it from the last time we were there. It was weird that people thought these were real songs when they were just songs we had made up, but then I started to realize, well that’s all it really is! It’s all just making up stuff.

On the evolution of music…
The records have really been spaced out. The first album, it was all about buying records. They were like there is this thing called iTunes, but we don’t know if it’s going to take off. The second album was all about downloads. And this time around it’s all about streaming.

On the joys of traveling…
Garance: After your first album, did you tour the world?
Corinne: Yes, we toured the world for a long time. The first time we played in Paris it was for 200 people, and the next time it was 500 people, and the next time it was one thousand people, and then the next time there were 2 or 3 thousand. So that was really great to see how all of that works, to go in and see if people are interested, and then you go back and do a TV show, and that sort of thing happened in lots of different countries all over the world. And it took a lot of time and I loved it because I didn’t travel as a child and I didn’t see the world, so going to Japan, Canada, Germany was a real thrill.

pardon my french podcast corinne bailey rae garance dore photo

pardon my french podcast corinne bailey rae garance dore photo

pardon my french podcast garance dore photo

On finding oneself after heartache…
In 2008 Jason, my husband passed away really unexpectedly, which was like everything ended then… When you’re married you weave your lives together and so there is a lot of looking at it and figuring out what part of this is me, what part of this is him. You start looking at all the pieces in your personality. Even what food you like. You grow so close together so you have to figure out who his friends are, who are mine, what are the things I like to do, so it was a lot of unpicking and stuff.

It was almost like the sounds had been turned down on the world and it became this different world, everything was very quiet, everything was very slow. I’d been used to being so busy, and I remember just looking at the calendar and thinking “how long is this going to last? How long is this feeling going to last?” And the idea that it was going to be forever was just an impossible thing to take in, and just thinking, “what is left of my life?” After a while, I started picking up my life and writing music again.

On finding love again…
I feel like music is such a big part of me, it’s like another language and i’ve always felt drawn in that way to musicians because it would be hard to express that part of me without being with someone who totally gets it. Steve was a really old friend of mine and we worked together on The Sea and it was an amazing thing to find that we were fully in love with each other after so long of being friends, and that’s just been a total joy. I think getting to that point where I could feel myself again and happy again and fulfilled enough to find love, that was a really amazing thing.

On happiness…
I feel like it’s so easy for us to hold happiness away from ourselves, so you say “when I get that great job I’ll be happy” or “when I get a partner I’ll be happy.” You make all these provisos in your mind about what happiness looks like for you. But I love the idea of ritualizing and celebrating the moment, not waiting for everything to be perfect, just do it! Don’t think, “oh when I get a new kitchen I’ll have my friends around for dinner,” just be there! In the mess, in the chaos, in the pain, that is life. If you’re waiting for your life to be perfect, you’ll never arrive at that point.

pardon my french podcast corinne bailey rae garance dore photo

pardon my french podcast corinne bailey rae
Staying True to Yourself: Corinne Bailey Rae

Special thanks to Narcissa at The Standard, East Village.

Pardon My French wouldn’t be possible without the support of The! Time to officially bring out your summer whites! Use the code: MEMORIALWHITE for an extra 20% off The Outnet’s White Out Selection valid from today until Monday, May 30th at midnight! Happy Shopping!


Add yours
  • great work! thanks for providing the transcript, I prefer reading than listening :)

  • i prefer either one or the other depending on the circumstances! :)

  • everything she said about happiness is so true, had to learn that myself – go and just do it
    “…just be there! In the mess, in the chaos, in the pain, that is life. If you’re waiting for your life to be perfect, you’ll never arrive at that point.”

  • You’ve featured her before–she’s adorable, and not just because of her hair (I’m jealous).
    You are really a good interviewer.

  • I love Corrine. This interview makes that love even stronger. Her new album is incredible. Thanks for sharing this with us :)

  • vanessa la belge May, 26 2016, 11:20 / Reply

    Aaaaaah la conversation que j’attendais tant! Je vous apprécie tellement toutes les deux…

    Corrine c’est un peu le genre de personne qui nous apaise rien qu’à l’appercevoir. Elle semble douce, attentionnée et si gracieuse (Garance, je te rassure, tu es loin d’être en reste!).

    Rien à voir mais, étant métisse moi-même (avec une texture de cheveux qui ressemble à la sienne), j’adorerais lire une beauty minute de Corrine Bailey Rae… :-) Ses cheveux sont tellement BEAUX et toujours impeccables !!!


  • Thank you for sharing this inspiring talk! I love your heels by the way :)

    Indiechine – a Vietnamese cooking and lifestyle blog

  • She’s right, the time to be happy is now.

  • Un de mes Pardon My French préféré, gros kiffe.

    j’ai aprécié le fait que certains thèmes peu souvent abordés sur le blog aient été abordés dans la discussion, avec sincérité, simplicité et sans tabou; Coup de coeur pour cette artiste.

  • Thank you both for such a lovely interview. I was so glad to hear you were friends. Makes sense! Always loved Corinne, her sublime songs and lyrics. Beautiful human. I lost my mum at the same time when she lost Jason. Remember feeling connected to her on a profound level. Her 2nd album was helping me heal. So happy to hear she is in a good place again and life’s got its colour back. Warmest Wishes to both. ????

  • SULLIVAN May, 26 2016, 5:37 / Reply

    Thank you, Garance for sharing this conversation with us! I remember when Put Your Record On came out I was in Jamaica (where I was born and raised) daydreaming of going to France and traveling around the world. Listening to this record fed my dream, my fantasy. Today I live in France and still have lots of dreams and I must say that when I need a little boost, Put Your Record On gives me that lift and is still feeding my dreams. Thank you, Corrine and many thanks to you, Garance.

  • I’ve only heard her one hit but now I definitely want to hear more. She sounds so warm and personable. I think you did a great job with this interview. Well done.

  • I had similar experience, it s so inspiring, I m looking forward to read more about you.

  • Verena May, 27 2016, 3:33 / Reply

    Thanks Garance for this wonderful podcast it’s my favourite Pardon my French yet. What a beautiful person Corrine is inside and out.

  • Charlotte May, 27 2016, 8:09 / Reply

    Love Corrine! Her first time in Pardon My French is perhaps my favourite episode.

    PS. I would love to be able to pin the pictures in the background. My Pinterest is my inspiration board and those never fail to impress. Would it be possible to also make those available for a ‘repin’ button or that I can open them in a new window to pin?

  • Emily May, 27 2016, 8:41

    Hi Charlotte!
    So glad you enjoyed the episode! We will definitely talk to our developers about the option to pin these images.
    Thanks! xx Emily

  • Son parcours, et notamment la perte de son mari, est très touchant… et tellement vrai !

  • Justyna May, 27 2016, 8:47 / Reply

    I loved the song “I’d like to” and the video! Stylewise so simple yet so timeless, just watched it and still looks so stylish:)

  • Great photos!


  • What a beautiful human, inside and out. I really enjoyed this interview, thanks Garance

  • Jessica May, 28 2016, 7:04 / Reply

    Amazing! I loved this episode! Actually, I’ve enjoyed all the people you’ve interviewed, they are so open n warm n real!! Great job

  • Kathy A May, 29 2016, 3:21 / Reply

    Enjoyed this interview! Actually I have enjoyed them all. Thanks Garance for all of your podcasts and for sharing Corrine with us. She sounds like a lovely, insightful person; and I look forward to hearing her latest music.

  • I love that you discussed race and culture in this episode. It’s so interesting to know that Europe embraces mixing cultures; America still has to make a lot more progress. It’s great to hear you and Corinne shift the narrative in a positive way. Especially hearing Garance say that she feels very connected to North Africa!

  • Hi Garance, i listened to this podcast this morning, while out on an early run. i really enjoyed the two of you talking and her whole very positive outlook on life. and then Corinne talks about the death of Jason and it came so suddenly and i wasn`t expecting such a topic and it just broke my heart. it made me stop in the middle of my workout and just listen to her and feel the conversation. thank you for sharing her journey, i made me appreciate this very day even more.

  • What a beautiful post. I absolutely love Corinne and her music.
    She seems like such a beautiful soul.
    I had no idea she had lost her husband, so sad. But i am so happy she was able to pick her self up and find love again.
    And also for her music.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

    x Luciana

  • Totally enjoyed reading your post. She is Magical !

    Women like her , inspire a whole nation , will read more from you blog.

    Keep up the great work

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