Corinne Bailey Rae (born Corinne Jacqueline Bailey on 26 February 1979) is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist who released her debut album Corinne Bailey Rae in February 2006. Rae was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2006 in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2006. She became only the fourth female British act in history to have her first album debut at number one. Rae was nominated for Grammy Awards and BRIT Awards, and has won two MOBO Awards and an Album Of The Year Grammy and Best Contemporary Jazz Album for her work as an featured artist in Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters. Rae was married to fellow musician Jason Rae from 2001 until his death in 2008. Rae released her second album, The Sea on 26 January 2010, after a hiatus of nearly two years. Tracks on the new album have been produced by Steve Brown and also Steve Chrisanthou (who produced her debut album in 2006).
Rae was born in Leeds to a black Kittitian father and a white English mother as the oldest of three daughters, including Candice Bailey and actress Rhea Bailey. She endured racist taunts on a regular basis as a child; "My sisters and I were different and people used to say, 'Ah, aren't they cute, the little chocolate children', and "look at their hair". "I know they were only being cute but it was over the top. Then people from other schools would shout, Iraqi and more often 'Paki' (a commonly used racist term in the UK) to me because it was the most common racist insult of the time. 'At least if you're going to do it, get it right,' I used to shout back, 'But my dad isn't from Pakistan, he's from St Kitts—so there!'" (Yeah!!)
Rae began her musical career at school where she studied classical violin before she turned her attention to singing: "I started off singing in church, I suppose, but people think it must have been a gospel church because of the whole, you know, black assumption", she says in reference to her multiracial background. "But it wasn't gospel at all, it was just your regular Brethren church, very middle-class, where we would sing these harmonies every Sunday. It was always my favourite part of the service, the singing."