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Singer-songwriter Peri Rae burst onto the music scene last year when her soft acoustic single, ‘Fair Enough’ quickly became a TikTok gem, accompanied by an equally soft and ethereal music video. It is thus no surprise that after only a short time on the gig circuit, she would make her headline debut in the Waterloo Arches at 26 Leake Street, a mere two months after the release of ‘Fair Enough’ and hot on the heels of her follow-up single, ‘In Between’.
Peri Rae’s path to stardom seems almost destined: she looks set to join the likes of so many other talented artists on huge radio playlists, as shortly before her set she briefly left the venue to do an interview with BBC Introducing. When she returned to take to the stage with her guitar, Rae opened up with ‘In Between’, a thoughtful lament about being queer in the face of adversity and ignorance. The lyrics prove that the art of songwriting is indeed alive and well, and Rae’s artistry shone through her performance with its emotionally charged content. Proving that she can deliver covers as original as her own work, her rendition of both Holly Humberstone’s ‘Friendly Fire’ and Sam Fender’s ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ imbued them with as much tenderness as they deserve. She was even able to turn Fender’s usual gritty rock tones into much more melancholy ones, which matched the song’s existential, despairing lyrics.
Given her TikTok platform, Rae managed to use her social media in order to test the waters for a cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘All Too Well’ (the 10-minute version, of course). Her followers spoke, and she followed through on her word, gracing the intimate audience with vocals that echoed an early Swift’s acoustic roots. Her lyricism spoke to a current era of singer-songwriters wearing their hearts on their sleeves in the public arena of social media. As for her performance, her ability to sing to an enthralled audience in a relatively cosy venue with nothing but a guitar and microphone for ten minutes, without once taking a breather or dropping a note, was an impressive feat indeed.
The crowd was then teased with a new song that, sadly, won’t be released anytime soon, but would be a perfect fit for an EP that looks to be on the horizon. Rae sits comfortably in her genre of soft indie pop, knowing that just her and her guitar are enough to appease her crowd. She lets her emotions flow through her performance as she embarks on a cover of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Lego House’. Rae’s voice acts as a tonic for a world that is turning in on itself, providing a soundtrack for the relatable struggles of youth that, while being incredibly honest and raw, can soothe thoughts of sadness with optimism and hope. This is what makes Rae stand out in comparison to her other peers who use social media as a means of spreading their music; she gives herself nothing to hide behind with such transparent songs, and the emotion on her face as she performs is rooted in a true passion for her music, and for performing.
As her set ends, Rae ends with the release that arguably kick-started her public career as a musician, ‘Fair Enough’. The song describes a broken relationship, and learning to accept better in the world of love and romance; it is about putting yourself first and ensuring you do not accept less than what you deserve.‘Fair Enough’ finalised the tone that Rae had set for the whole night: one of love, acceptance, and hope. It solidified her talent as a songwriter and performer, and I’m sure there will be more headline gigs to come.
Edited by Talia Andrea, Deputy Music Editor