Corinne Bailey Rae Announces New Album Black Rainbows + 2023 Tour + New Single “New York Transit Queen”

June 25th, 2023

Corinne Bailey Rae trades in her subdued, heart-on-her-sleeve balladry for raucous, rebellious chanting as she tells the story of a savvy young woman who knows her way around the Big Apple. The lyrics here are much simpler (the majority of the just-under-two-minute song is just Corinne chanting the song’s title amid hand claps, chaotic drums and buzz-sawing electric guitars). The idea of the song is still there, especially as the singer praises the song’s subject by calling her a “heroine.”

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae confirms her years-in-the-making Black Rainbows project. Inspired by the objects and artworks collected by Theaster Gates at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, the work includes a collection of songs, a book Refraction/Reflection of the Arts Bank photographed by Koto Bolofo, live performances, visuals, lectures and exhibitions—a bold move from her previous work.

The album Black Rainbows is set for release September 15th via Thirty Tigers. The first single, “New York Transit Queen,” is out now. In celebration of the new project, Bailey Rae is taking her live show to select U.S. cities this fall including Yale University’s Schwarzman Center, New York’s National Jazz Museum in Harlem,

“I knew when I walked through those doors that my life had changed forever,” says Bailey Rae. “Engaging with these archives and encountering Theaster Gates and his practice has changed how I think about myself as an artist and what the possibilities of my work can be. This music has come through seeing. Seeing has been like hearing, for me. While I was looking, songs/sounds appeared.”

Wide ranging in its themes, Black Rainbows’ subjects are drawn from encounters with objects in the Arts Bank, a curated collection of Black archives comprising books, sculpture, records, furniture and problematic objects from America’s past. From the rock hewn churches of Ethiopia to
the journeys of Black Pioneers westward, from Miss New York Transit 1957 to how the sunset appears from Harriet Jacobs’ loophole. Black Rainbows explores Black femininity, Spell Work, Inner Space/Outer Space, time collapse, ancestors and music as a vessel for transcendence.