18 years old, from South London, Rainy Milo oozes confidence and attitude. Her voice is soulful and mature way beyond her years, while her music blends jazz, hip hop, R'n'B and pop into something effortlessly cool, forward-thinking and hugely accessible. It's telling that the list of artists to which Rainy has been compared - it includes Lily Allen, Neneh Cherry, Corinne Bailey Rae and Amy Winehouse - have very little in common with each other. She doesn't really sound like any of them. In fact, she doesn't really sound like anyone else. It's no exaggeration to say that Rainy Milo is unique.
Milo began writing songs at the age of 14, hooking up with buzz producers over Facebook and penning songs about teenage London life. She dropped out of Brit school: "There was a lot of chatter. That kind of thing kills your energy. I didn't see the point of staying in school to study how to do stuff I already had the chance to do for real". She set up a Soundcloud and posted a punchy rendition of Pharrell's Frontin to rapturous applause. Slowly adding more home demos and notching up the views into hundreds of thousands, she put up a tune titled 'Bout You and things exploded; "I put it on the internet expecting just my friends at school to hear it," she says. "But loads of people, A&Rs, started e-mailing me. I had to Google what an A&R was." Not just A&R people - Gilles Peterson heard it and promptly put it on his Bubblers Eight compilation. Milo was tipped by the MOBO's as OTW for 2013 and slowly but surely appeared as one to watch all over the style and music press. Now in 2014, things are hotting up for Milo - The Observer tipped her as their 'Fresh Face of 2014', Zane Lowe (R1) has fallen for Rainy Milo, as has CJ Beatz (1Xtra), John Kennedy (XFM) and Phil & Alice (R1). She will appear on the cover of Blues & Soul magazine this February.
Rainy Milo's lyrics have a distinctly English feel to them - she writes songs on the back of London trains and buses "I do nearly all of my writing on the bus, it's good for overhearing stuff. Girls talking about their boyfriends. You hear one side and you can imagine the other. The Number 3 bus is great because it's a really long journey, through Crystal Palace and Brixton all the way to Oxford Circus. It takes about an hour." It's this lyrical familiarity with every day themes, which her young fans love. This and her inclusive approach (she tries to answer every query she gets from lipstick shades to where she got her kicks from) it's no wonder her Tumblr blog and Instagram diary are ever growing. Milo gives fans sneak peak look into her DIY stylish world, borrowing clothes of her Guyanese mum and throwing together oversized garments in local charity shops but every time looking like an A-list style icon.
'This Thing Of Ours' takes the blueprint Rainy laid down on 'Limey' and expands upon it. It's a stunning record. Is there any other 18-year-old making R'n'B as forward-thinking 'Rats' or 'Treasure Girl'? Rainy thinks her secret is the fact that she's unflinchingly honest. "And my music comes from a young voice," she continues. "It's a fresh voice. I think you can tell that a lot of the things I'm singing about, it's the first time that it's happened to me. Not naive, but innocent. When you listen to an artist write a song about something they've written about before, you can almost hear the knowingness. It's like they know what the audience wants and they give it to them. I don't know what the audience wants yet. In fact I don't think about the audience. I do it for me."
'Thing Thing of Ours' was recorded by Eldad Guetta and mixed by San Francisco based producer Daje, who Rainy worked with on her Limey mixtape. Daje also produced huge summer track 'Treasure Girl' and wildly imaginative Clash cover 'Bankrobber'.
Rainy is a homegrown British gem-in-the-making.
This Thing Of Ours (2014)
01 Are You Sure
02 'Bout You
03 This Thing Of Ours
05 Miss You
06 Treasure Girl
07 In This Place
08 Deal Me Briefly
10 So Uneasy
*12 Below My Reach