“There is always pressure, and I think the most pressure comes from yourself. We’re always our biggest critics and once you have a little taste of something you created, doing well or connecting with people, it just makes you hungry for more...”

These words come from the London-born singer/songwriter RAYE, as she talks exclusively with TRENCH about how she deals with the pressures of fame. But these words are just as true for Timberland, a brand which has had to constantly evolve and adapt with the times, competing against itself to deliver something fresh and innovative with each release. In celebration of the launch of their new Cityroams and London Square: Icon boots, Timberland have looked to artists like RAYE and Kojo Funds (who, coincidentally, have collaborated on the hit-single “Check”) as they truly embody the brand’s ethos and values.

When asked what the most important lesson she had learned as an artist was, RAYE’s response was telling: “To not copy, or not be trying to copy. It’s so easy to come in and be like ‘Oh, this artist is amazing and I should try to do something like that.’ I think that’s where I have got it most wrong: forgetting the beauty in being unique and individual. I have my own voice, my own look, my own things to say, my own thoughts. It’s important to embrace who you are and make sure everything you do reflects that, and make sure you’re not trying to be anybody else but yourself.”

Having written for some of the biggest names in music, such as Little Mix and John Legend, as well as supporting heavyweights like Jess Glynne and Rita Ora on tour, RAYE is clearly an artist who has learned from, and embraced, each and every experience, allowing the journey to shape who she is and knowing that “it’s just a matter of working constantly, writing constantly, hustling and seeing how the stars align.” She’s also not shied away from mixing the old with the new, having featured on the aforementioned “Check” with Kojo Funds, which includes a sample from Craig David’s “7 Days”; written “Up In Here” for X Factor group 5 After Midnight, which gets its name and hook after DMX’s song of the same name; as well as her own chart smash “Decline”, which samples the 2002 R&B smash “Always On Time” by Ja Rule and Ashanti.

RAYE’s willingness to put her own spin on much-loved songs while still receiving positive responses showcases not only her talent, but her drive to create and inspire—something her and the Timberland brand seem to have in common. Linking up with Timberland to celebrate the iconic yellow boot (made famous by the hip-hop scene of the 1990s) with a remix of their own, RAYE brings to life Wideboys’ UKG refix of her single “Decline” with a new video that sees her living her best life on the block, while strutting her stuff in a pair of the London Square Icons. Which makes sense, because RAYE herself is a pop icon in the making.

Posted on October 12, 2018