#PopularPlay: Raye Zaragoza
Jul 6, 2020
We are experiencing a tremendous movement of change and fight for equality and respect, so having artists who take advantage of their visibility to give minorities a voice makes all the difference. And that is what moves Raye Zaragoza’s work.
Recently, the singer released her newest single “Fight Like A Girl“, inspired by the feminist struggle and the women’s equality.
Raye is an artist that inspires not only other artists to follow their dreams, but women in general.
1. We are in love with your single “Fight Like a Girl.” Tell us about the inspiration for this song and what you would hope young girls take away from it.
I wrote this song because I wanted to write an anthem with marginalized women at the center. The voices of women of color have not historically been at the forefront of feminism, and I think 2020 is an important time to change that. I wrote this song around the time that I met Deb Haaland, one of the two first Native American women in congress. It’s women like her that remind me that women are capable of anything. I also really wanted to reclaim the term “fight like a girl” as an empowering term rather than what it meant on the playground when I was a kid.
2. Why do you think it is important for artists to use their platforms for activism?
I think the role of the artist is to continue starting conversations and to inspire their audiences to rise to the occasion right now. People look to artists to be inspired, and it’s time we use that attention to shed light on the inequities that have been ignored for so long.
3. Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
I discovered folk music in the backseat of my parents’ 1989 Saab. My Dad would play James Taylor and Harry Chapin on repeat when we were kids. I hated car rides but whenever he put folk tunes on, I was super happy. I loved how folk music told stories. Fast forward to middle school, I fell in love with a boy in my class who had great taste in music. He made me a mix CD that had Joni Mitchell, King Crimson, The Beatles, Elliott Smith, Crosby Stills & Nash and so many other artists who became some of my earliest and biggest influences.
4. Tell us a bit about your creative process, how do you come up with your songs?
I love writing in the mornings. My typical morning is 20 minutes of journaling, 20 minutes of meditation, and then an hour or so of songwriting. If I like the song, I’ll spend the rest of the day working on it or recording it. That has really been my creative process in quarantine. But pre-COVID, my creative process was different. I was constantly writing ideas down on the road, writing poems, and then turning them into songs. My process now is a little more chill and intentional. I don’t usually decide what I am going to write about beforehand. I just let my thoughts and feelings speak.
5. There are so few indigenous and Asian-American artists getting the spotlight in the industry, why do you think this representation is important in music?
When I was younger, I felt very disempowered that I could hardly find any folk musicians that I could look up to that looked like me. I always doubted that I could make a career as a singer-songwriter because I didn’t see it done by many girls that reminded me of myself. When we don’t see ourselves reflected in music and media, it’s a very isolating and oppressing feeling. There are so many reasons to promote diversity, but empowering young people is my greatest goal.
6. What has been your proudest moment musically?
It’s really a collection of little moments. Whenever someone comes up to me and tells me that my songs impacted them in some way — those are my proudest moments.
7. What do you hope fans take away from your music?
I really hope my music can comfort those who feel like they don’t belong and also ignite the fighter within them. I feel my greatest way of contributing to making the world a better place is comforting souls within it. I felt like such a lost misfit for most of my life, and music has given me so much solace. I hope to do that for others.
8. Can you tell us about any projects in the works?
I have a new record coming out later this year! It was produced by Tucker Martine (First Aid Kit, The Decemberists) and I am really excited about it! The second single “The It Girl” just came out as well!
Raye is a talented woman and her message is necessary to this world, especially at the moment we are facing now, so go listen to the song “Fight Like a Girl“ and follow her all over social media: Instagram, Youtube & Twitter.