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Release Date: Oct 26, 2018

Genre(s): R&B

Record label: Island


Music Critic Score

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Album Review: Empress by Ray BLK

Excellent, Based on 3 Critics

New Musical Express (NME) - 80
Based on rating 4/5

The former BBC Sound Of… winner's latest release is an important public service announcement carried by warm R&B sounds Ray BLK knows the power of her voice, and isn't shy about showing it off. Throughout 'Empress', an eight-track record billed somewhat mysteriously as a "project", she states her worth over warm, '90s-influenced R&B sounds. Previously released tracks, such as '5050' and the Stormzy-featuring 'My Hood', showed the south Londoner - real name Rita Ekwere - to be a powerful woman as she led by example, discussing social issues - such as inner-city poverty - instead of sweeping them under the rug.

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The Observer (UK)
Opinion: Excellent

T he first unsigned winner of the BBC's Sound Of competition took her time to align herself with a label. A year passed between Ray BLK's 2017 win and the deal with Island, under Amy Winehouse's old A&R. Ten months on, BLK's first major outing is a mere eight-track "project", but bears the hallmarks of considered investment; it doesn't come up short.

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Clash Music
Opinion: Very Good

Ray BLK is just a ball of raw talent and emotion. In 2017 she won the BBC Music Sound Poll. The first unsigned act to do this. Her debut EP 'Durt' laid the foundations that new album 'Empress' was built on. The standout tracks on the album are the ones where Ray BLK's message is matched by the ….

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