We caught up with 17-year-old MOBO nominee Rainy Milo who performed at the Lovebox festival in Victoria Park earlier this month alongside well known musicians like Kelis and Azealia Banks. The talented but equally modest South East London born singer, widely known for her soulful music and GIF style videos, talked about her music, style and surprisingly, her cooking skills.
From a young age you were exposed to various musically talented people but how did your musical journey actually begin?
In the summer before December 2011 I recorded the track ‘bout you’ and for months I hung onto it without releasing it because I wasn’t ready and my friends kept begging me to release the track. I didn’t think anyone would listen but in December 2011 I put the track out on the internet and the next thing people liked it and were blogging about it.
Your name ‘Rainy Milo’ is a very unique name, what inspired it?
(laughs) I know right, well the name ‘Rainy’ was actually a nickname from school. I remember coming home one day from school and my mum was standing in the kitchen and I remember telling her to ‘call me Rainy from now on’. The Milo part was actually from one of my favourite kiddies TV show and that’s how the name ‘Rainy Milo’ came about.
Your songs like ‘Don’t regret me’ and ‘This thing of ours’ have very powerful words, where do you get ideas for the lyrics and titles of your songs?
All my songs come from real life, I write a lot for myself and for self healing mostly. So all the titles and lyrics all come from what is happening at that time.
What inspired ‘black and blonde’?
My hair colour right now is black and blonde so black and blonde is like a reminder for me. 10 years from now it will serve as a reminder of who I was at that time.
If you could work with two artists right now, who would they be?
I would like to work with someone young and freshly talented but I would also like to work with Miguel, definitely Miguel, I really love his music.
You know I’m going to ask about your MOBO nomination, what does the nomination mean to you?
(Laughs) Wow, I still find it hard to believe that I have been nominated! I’m still completely shocked, it’s unbelievable but I am very happy to have been nominated, very happy.
If you were not in the music industry, what would you be doing instead?
I always wanted to be in musical theatre so if I was not a singer I definitely would have been in musical theatre. I always had this vision of going to New York with all the bright lights and doing musical theatre.
What does your granddad think of your musical success?
He is very happy for me, both of my grandparents are, they watch music videos and they always say ‘they are not as good as you Rainy’ (laughs) they really think it’s great.
It’s very important to have a strong support system, especially in the music industry so who is yours?
I would say definitely my grandparents, I remember when the record labels approached me asking me to sign with their label and it was nuts, crazy around that time but my grandparents were there for me.
Do you ever doubt yourself at all?
Yes I do, like sometimes things don’t always go the way I planned. Its either things go really well for me or when they go wrong they really go wrong.
What keeps Rainy grounded?
Definitely my family and friends, I get to travel to all these nice places in the sunshine and it’s always good to come back home to where it all started and see them. Coming back home always keeps me grounded.
What can you tell us that your fans would be surprised to know about you?
A lot of people might think that I go out a lot but I really don’t. I stay indoors if I’m not out performing and I think that surprises a lot of people.
You are a gorgeous talented young lady, for any of the hopeful bachelors out there, are you single?
(Laughs) Unfortunately there is no hope for the bachelors out there, I do have a boyfriend.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I love cooking and I’m actually a really good cook. I make a really good curry but a lot of people who have had my curries say I make them a bit too spicy, they say it’s too hot for them (laughs).
Who inspires your look fashion wise?
I would have to say Pharrell and Mos Def, I love the way they switch it up. One day they’ll be in a suit and the next day they’ll be rocking trainers, I really love their looks.
What do you have on your ipod/music collection?
I actually listen to Katie Perry, her music is upbeat and fun. I also listen to Miguel and Kendrick Lamar, I love Kendrick Lamar. I remember when his first debut album came out, I had it on repeat!
The music industry can be very hard to break into, what advice would you give other aspiring artists?
I would say never underestimate the internet, use it as much as you can, you would be surprised at what it can do for you. Form alliances with other people and artists too, that really helps.
What can your fans look forward to?
I would just say to the fans to keep watch and keep your eyes peeled!
Words by Denise Mubika