All of this attention? 'It's brilliant,' says Rae

Times Staff Writer

Maybe, just maybe, now that British-born Corinne Bailey Rae has been nominated for best new artist, the media will begin to think of her as her own person, a versatile artist who likes to write and sing about how she has experienced the world in her young life.

Not that the relentless comparisons are insulting. Far from it, she says sweetly, adding that she feels complimented when she hears yet another mention of how her girlish, intimate, soulful sound reminds listeners of India.Arie, Norah Jones, Macy Gray, Erykah Badu, Sade and, most of all, Billie Holiday.

"It's kind of a journalistic thing to say, 'This person is the next so and so,' " she said Thursday, a few hours after learning that her self-titled album earned her three Grammy nominations. "I think actual musicians are never really into those kinds of comparisons. As an artist, you want to form your own identity and be your own performer. I take it as a compliment, but I look forward to the time when people recognize what I do as being my style."

That day might be drawing near.

Since the 27-year-old's neo-soul album was released in the U.S. in June, it has sold half a million copies here, reaching gold status and cracking the Top 20 charts. For the last few months, she has been touring the country and has performed on several TV shows, including "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Saturday Night Live" and, last week, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Her songs have also been heard on "Grey's Anatomy" and "ER." The upcoming film "Venus" will feature original music by Rae.

And now her moody songs about relationships have earned her Grammy nominations for record of the year and song of the year as well.

"It's brilliant," she said. "It's why I was born. I've put a lot of work into writing and putting my records on, and I've come up with a guitar riff, wrote the melody and wrote the chords all together. It was a really involved process. It's a really nice thing to be recognized for something like that. The list of people [also nominated] was just amazing, so I'm just happy to be included."

maria.elena.fernandez@latimes .com

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