Brits star Raye: I had to go to the US to make it after my MeToo attack on UK music chiefs over a sexual assault

Pop sensation Raye is aiming for sweet revenge at the Brit Awards on Saturday – because she was forced to find a record deal in America after she hit out at the UK music industry over a sexual assault.

British labels turned their backs on the star – who is nominated for a record-breaking seven awards – after her MeToo revelation about how she was assaulted by a music producer who forced his hand between her legs when she was 17.

Raye – real name Rachel Agatha Keen – told how the attack left her hooked on alcohol and drugs to cope, and came at a huge cost to her career.

The 26-year-old, from Tooting, South London, said: ‘Every girl I know in this industry has some sort of story to tell me. The studio is such a vulnerable space.

‘And if you say something, you create an enemy who will spread rumours or blacklist you – and you need those connections to open doors for yourself.

Popstar Raye was forced to seek a record deal in America after being turned down in Britain when she hit out at the UK’s music industry over a sexual assault

‘Even though the people decide very much what’s consumed on the outside, inside the music industry is still very much a gatekept society.’

She signed for Polydor in 2014, but, to her frustration, the label refused to release any of her music. After she criticised the label in a lengthy social media rant, they parted ways in 2021.

Her debut album My 21st Century Blues was released independently last year, and she is now signed to New York-based Orchard Records, a subsidiary of Sony.

She will be the main attraction at the Brits after being shortlisted for Artist of the Year, Best New Artist, Pop Act, R&B Act, Album of the Year and two nominations for Song of the Year for her Escapism, featuring 070 Shake, and Prada, featuring Cassö and D-Block Europe.

Industry sources say that the singer’s revelation that she had been sexually assaulted by a record producer, and then speaking out against Polydor, left music bosses fearful of signing her. One source said: ‘It is absolutely insane that Raye went to America. Now look at her.

‘She has been outspoken about what has happened to her as a woman, that she was sexually assaulted and you do really have to wonder whether that stopped her from getting signed by a British label.

Raye signed for Polydor in 2014, but, to her frustration, the label refused to release any of her music

Raye signed for Polydor in 2014, but, to her frustration, the label refused to release any of her music

‘Raye is a strong woman who has no qualms about ruffling some feathers.

‘She eventually found herself signed with a label after being in America which has a reputation for not trying to suffocate its artists.

‘But the irony is, all the British music bosses at the Brits will be hailing her as some kind of success story.’

Last month, a new parliamentary report found that the UK music industry remains a ‘boys’ club’, with female artists facing a litany of challenges including discrimination and sexual harassment.

The only label to sign a globally successful woman in recent years is Warner Music which found Dua Lipa – and that was ten years ago.

In a statement, Polydor said that the decision to ‘part ways’ with Raye had been ‘amicable and mutual’.