Nicole Rayy is not your typical country rising star – she is a fierce female songstress with a mission to make a difference in the music scene. While many songwriters pull inspiration from country legends that have paved the path before them, Rayy decided to turn to pop-princess Britney Spears to pen her upbeat anthem, “Feels Like Yesterday.”
Similar to Spears, Rayy found herself honing in on her craft at a very young age. However, when she decided to pursue music full-time, she realized that opportunities would not just come knocking on her door overnight. “I used to believe that if you worked hard that opportunities would come your way. But, now I realize if I want to see changes and have opportunities that I have to create them for myself,” says Rayy in an exclusive Celeb Secrets Country interview.
“This thinking inspired me to create more platforms for women to shine, including my all-female songwriters round “All Woman Music” and my female festival “HarmoniaFest.” I plan to continue to use these platforms to show fans just how many powerhouse female singers we have in this industry. Women are making a lot of noise right now, and I don’t think it can be ignored for much longer,” she adds.
To stand with the #FreeBritneyMovement and to use her voice to advocate for women in the industry, the budding artist pulled inspiration from the “Baby One More Time” singer to create her retro music video for her fan-favorite single “Feels Like Yesterday.”
“I grew up listening to Britney Spears, and that video is one of the most memorable from the 90s. With the lyrics, ‘We’re still singing Britney like a couple of kids. In “Feels Like Yesterday,” I knew that I wanted to pay homage to Britney Spears somehow,” she told Celeb Secrets Country reporter Tiffany Goldstein. “It was AJ’s, my video producer’s, idea to pay tribute to the music videos of the 90s. I want people to feel pure nostalgia when they watch the video, and what better way to achieve that than remaking such an iconic 90s music video.”
Rayy serves up several different throwback looks throughout the three-minute clip, from butterfly clips to neon eye makeup. She is even seen captured in the classic school girl-inspired ensemble from the iconic 2009 “Baby One More Time” music video.
As the breakthrough star takes her fans on a trip down memory lane, she wants them to reminisce on the simple and pure lifestyle they used to live back in the day. “As I am turning 30 soon, this video is like a love letter to my childhood. I want my fans to feel nostalgic when they watch it. I want it to spark specific memories from their lives,” she shares. “I hope that whether they were born in the 90s or living their teenage years, then that this video takes them back in time to some fond memories.”
While the country-pop artist unlocks memories from the past – remain connected with her on social media, as she is set to drop a full-fledged album in 2022. Right now, eager fans can purchase tickets to see the matchless Nicole Rayy live and in-person, here!
You can keep up with Nicole by giving her a follow on
Celeb Secrets Country: Who is Nicole Rayy? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Nicole Rayy: “Hey, I’m Nicole Rayy! I’m a country/pop singer/songwriter from Alliston, Ontario. I’ve been singing since before I could talk, and I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything else but a singer. Music has always made me feel less alone, and I want to make others feel the same with my music. Other than music, my other passions include fitness, food, and quoting every line from the TV show Friends.”
Celeb Secrets Country: Could you walk us through the songwriting process for “Feels Like Yesterday“? What was the inspiration behind the lyrics?
Nicole Rayy: “Feels Like Yesterday” is all about the 90s. I am so excited about this song and the nostalgia that I hope it brings to my listeners. I wrote this song with two talented artists and writers, David Madras and Matt Teed. I brought this idea to them with not much in mind for how to write it, only knowing I wanted to write something about that feeling of growing up as a 90s kid. They were excited by the concept, and I think we wrote something really special together. We had a blast reminiscing on all the trends of the 90s and finding clever ways to fit them into the lyrics.”
CSC: How is “Feels Like Yesterday” different from any other project you have worked on in the past?
NR: “One thing that stands out for me about this project is that it is so authentically me. I had a very clear vision for how I wanted to express this song visually and who I wanted to work with to make it happen. It’s easy to get caught up sometimes and worry about what you are “supposed to do” as an artist. But this project was so genuinely me, and it felt really good to express that the way I wanted.”
CSC: What is one behind-the-scenes secret about your music video for “Feels Like Yesterday” that might surprise us fans?
NR: “It might surprise people to know how much my friends jumped in to be a part of this video. I wanted the 90s to feel to be just right, which meant some wacky fashion choices and weird hairstyles and facial hair. The boys especially went over the top to make their looks perfect. My friend Steve actually frosted his tips for REAL! 😀 And yes, his hair is still like that to this day haha.”
CSC: You found inspiration from Britney Spears’s “Baby One More Time” music video. What was it about the retro video that influenced your craft?
NR: “Well, I grew up listening to Britney Spears, and that video is one of the most memorable from the 90s. With the lyrics, “We’re still singing Britney like a couple of kids” in “Feels Like Yesterday,” I knew that I wanted to pay homage to Britney Spears somehow. It was Aj’s, my video producer’s, idea to pay tribute to the music videos of the 90s. I want people to feel pure nostalgia when they watch the video, and what better way to achieve that than remaking such an iconic 90s music video.”
CSC: How would you like your fans to feel when they watch your music video for the very first time?
NR: “As I am turning 30 soon, this video is like a love letter to my childhood. I want my fans to feel nostalgic when they watch it; I want it to spark specific memories from their lives. I hope that whether they were born in the 90s or living their teenage years, then that this video takes them back in time to some fond memories.”
CSC: You just hit 60K streams on your latest single, “Feels Like Yesterday,” how does this make you feel?
NR: “Amazing! This song is such a special one for me because of the nostalgia it brings. I am so happy that it is connecting with my fans and that they are having fun listening to it.”
CSC: Is there a meaning behind your purple social media aesthetic?
NR: “Purple has always been my favorite color. It started with my hair. About seven years ago, I decided to make a big change and dye my hair purple. I loved it as I felt it truly expressed my personality and who I am as an artist. As I learned more about social media and promoting myself as an artist online, I decided I wanted my branding to be memorable and easy to recognize. I felt like incorporating Purple was the best way to do that. Also, I love what the color purple represents: power and ambition.”
CSC: You are a successful Canadian country singer and songwriter. Do you find it challenging to make a name for yourself in the states?
NR: “Absolutely, I think it takes time to make a name for yourself as an artist anywhere. Whether that is your community, your province, your country, or internationally, being an artist from Canada, it definitely takes a lot of hard work to break into the US market, especially with all the talent there is in the states. I would like to immerse myself more into the communities in the US where my music is streamed online. Once more restrictions for travel are lifted, I plan to expand my efforts into the states.”
CSC: You are a women’s rights advocate – how do you plan to make a difference in the music scene as a female vocalist in a male-dominated industry?
NR: “By continuing to make my voice heard and create opportunities for women in country music. I used to believe that if you worked hard that opportunities would come your way. But I now realize if I want to see changes and have opportunities that I have to create them for myself. This thinking inspired me to create more platforms for women to shine, including my all-female songwriter’s round “All Woman Music” and my all-female festival “HarmoniaFest.” I plan to continue to use these platforms to show fans just how many powerhouse female singers we have in this industry. Women are making a lot of noise right now, and I don’t think it can be ignored for much longer.”
CSC: How would you say you’ve grown as an artist since beginning your music career?
NR: “So much has changed for me since my very first release! My career has taken me on so many wonderful adventures and helped me to grow as a person and as an artist. One thing that has changed and grown since the beginning of my career is my motivation and determination. I always knew that I wanted to be a singer growing up, but I didn’t understand what it would take until I released my first song. After that, I was determined to learn, grow, and do whatever I needed to do to make things happen for myself.
I have learned a lot of lessons about myself, songwriting, techniques to improve my singing, but I think the biggest lessons I’ve learned are in business. I didn’t know much about the music business or business in general when I started my career. At some point, I thought that aspect of my career wouldn’t be something I would have to deal with too much, that I would always have help with it, but in the last few years, that is something I have taken into my own hands and learned so much about.”
CSC: What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?
NR: “There are a lot of things I am proud of in my career, but I think one of my proudest moments is performing in Shanghai, China, for the past five years at The World Music Festival. When I began my singing career, I hoped it would take me on great adventures, but I never knew it would put me on stage on the other side of the world!”
CSC: Do you plan on singing your latest single live anytime soon, and could we expect a full-fledged album from you in the near future?
NR: “Yes, I have plenty of shows coming up where fans can hear “Feels Like Yesterday” live! Keep an eye on my website for all my upcoming shows. There is absolutely a full-fledged album in the works, to be released in 2022, which will including my previous singles “Broken Boys” and “Sad Song” along with some new tunes I haven’t revealed yet.”
CSC: What are some of your goals for the rest of 2021?
NR: “It looks like the rest of 2021 is filling up with shows, which I am very excited about. Like all artists right now, I am so thrilled to get back on the stage. I am organizing my own female festival, “HarmoniaFest,” again this year, which is taking place on September 11th. I also have another new song in my pocket that I am excited to share with my fans soon. As well, I am currently in the middle of recording a Christmas album, part of which will be released this holiday season.”
CSC: Since we are Celeb Secrets – do you have any secret projects or collaborations in the pipeline right now?
NR: “Actually, yes! As I mentioned, I am working on a Christmas project. I wrote an original Christmas song with another amazing country artist, Graham Scott Fleming, and my producer Doug Romanow called Tailgate Christmas. Graham and I are recording it as a duet!”