Raye Zaragoza has premiered a new song and announced her upcoming album Woman In Color to be released October 23 on Rebel River Records. Following the empowering support for Fight For You, Raye enlisted Grammy-nominated Tucker Martine (Neko Case, My Morning Jacket, First Aid Kit, The Decemberists, Modest Mouse, Sufjan Stevens) to produce her sophomore collection. Woman In Color flares with all the fierce spirit of Raye’s protest-driven debut while embracing the compelling pep of Martine’s pop touch. Throughout this bold sonic current, Raye offers captivating insight into her experience learning to celebrate her multifaceted identity, an experience equal parts intimate, inspiring, and resonant.
Indigenous on her father’s side, first-generation Japanese-American on her mother’s, and raised in a New York City studio apartment, Raye Zaragoza pairs perspective with talent. She holds no distinction between her personal truth and its poignant political relevance—from her formative qualms with white beauty standards, to her heartfelt activism on behalf of Standing Rock, to her ongoing galvanization against sexism, racism, and discrimination in any form. As a young woman of color, Raye is attuned to the inevitable politicization of her very existence, and at the forefront of that existence, an artist—a lyricist of true precocity, a vocalist of stunning virtuosity—making meaning through music.
Says Raye, “‘This song is about the dysfunction of American power structures. It’s about how the systems built to support the people don’t support all people. Especially during a pandemic, it’s been exposed how those lower on the socio-economic ladder are left without the basic resources everyone deserves.”
Raye filmed the music video with director Matthew Freiheit in Los Angeles on March 17, the morning after the city received its first stay-at-home order. “Many of my friends were left without work, without a clear plan for how to pay rent in April, and without certainty of being able to qualify for unemployment. In between takes, Matthew and I referred each other to artists grants, and exchanged ideas on how to survive this mess.” Through stark streets dotted with boarded-up businesses, Raye sings lines as poignant as: They say that healthcare will never come cheap / but you’ll do just fine if you stay healthy.
“Walking through the empty streets felt like walking through a tunnel to the strange new world we live in now. As September 1st nears, and many folks face eviction, I am reminded of this paradoxical reality we live in, and dream of a future where those who need it most will be protected.”