Virginia-born singer/songwriter Nicole Wray has everything you'd want in a singer: an infectious Jackson-5-family-member flare, a range like Aretha's, and a church upbringing that's brought a pure, healing texture to her voice. But the struggle she's been through has made her more than a singer. Nicole Wray is an artist. When talking about Queen Alone, her first solo album in some time, Nicole explains, "It's a reflection of my soul. It's who I am today." And aptly so. Released on Brooklyn's Big Crown Records, Nicole is writing and singing songs about her life.
The transformation from singer-for-hire to pure artist is evident in this new full-length solo release. The record was written and recorded in 10 days at the legendary Diamond Mine Studios, in Queens NY with Leon Michels and Tom Brenneck handling production. Nicole says she is "Singing out loud now – singing from the stomach." Back in 1998 she was coached how to sing, and told to stay in a pocket that never let her show her range, power, and passion. Today, after stutter-stepping in and out of the industry, there is a new soul and substance to her songs – all of it from her life.
"They Don't Hang Around," tells the story of her post Roc-a-Fella days, "Guilty," is about her brother's incarceration, "Make Me Over," tells the relatable story of being broke with expensive taste, and "Let It Go," a perfect way to end the record, is about the simple act of letting go and moving on. Almost echoing her new record, Nicole says, "You have to go through something for it to be real." She has been living with one foot in fame and the other in real life. The result is clear: she's feeling something real in her music again. And it's hard for us as listeners not to follow suit.