"Nile Rodgers taught me to just ooze good vibes at all times."
Rahh - real name Holly Quin Ankrah - started out her career as an actress playing Karen Young in children's TV show 'Grange Hill', but one "rainy day in Los Angeles a few years ago", she decided to give her soul to music.
The 32-year-old star has since wowed crowds at Montreux Jazz Festival, where she was the sole support act for Grammy-winner Bobby McFerrin, and Rahh has also had the pleasure of performing with the likes of Chic legend Nile Rodgers, Beverly Knight and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics.
In November, she will hit the road playing arenas with none of other than Mr. Liam Gallagher.
In an exclusive interview with Lizzie's Lowdown, Rahh tell us about the lessons she has learnt from her time sharing stages with the industry's finest, her upcoming single 'Home', which tackles Brexit, knife crime, Trump, race wars and social unrest, and being part of former Oasis star Liam's "really special" MTV Unplugged show in Hull earlier this month...
When did you decide music was the career for you?
I started as a child actor in 'Grange Hill' and carried on full throttle until it got too difficult to commit fully to both music and acting.
Music is always where my heart has been so once I knew that I had to choose, it wasn’t a difficult decision.
I decided a few years ago on a rainy day in Los Angeles and have been Rahh ever since. Acting is something I‘d like to revisit but much later on.
What have you learnt from all of the amazing people you've shared a stage with and how have you applied that to your own performances as Rahh?
I really have had some incredible stage-sharing opportunities, especially this year.
Nile Rodgers taught me to just ooze good vibes at all times.
Beverley Knight has definitely taught me that you can be so incredibly humble, professional and grateful no matter how insane your talent and technical ability is, in fact she kinda blew me away!
Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics never fails to teach me to push myself as far as possible in performance and to most importantly have fun.
Great lessons that I always try to apply!
How difficult has it been breaking into the music industry?
I imagine no matter what level you’re at, there are difficulties in one way or another.
The most challenging aspect of being a breaking artist is getting the exposure you need. The amount of new artists and new talent is limitless with platforms like Spotify, there is just so much music out there now and it's never been more accessible.
It's about finding a way to stand out -which can be tough - but you keep going if it makes you happy and you believe it's the right path for you.
Tell me about your new single 'Home' and the many themes running through the song? 'Home' is really me looking around at contemporary society and analysing whats going on.
It takes a look at the things we do in order to find temporary highs, which are essentially distractions to what we’re really seeking - love, which I identify as home. “Give me some cash they keep on taking” - is a nod to inflation, Brexit, taxes.
“Give me a gun the war is engaging” - knife crimes, street violence, mass shootings.
“Give me the reason to keep on hating” - race wars, social unrest, extremism, Trump!
Every line has a meaning.
Who are your vocal heroes?
The untouchables - Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Whitney, Mariah, Donny Hathaway.
What was it like stepping into Liam Gallagher's mad world for MTV Unplugged?
I loved it. The crowd was insane! I was a big Oasis fan and listening to our 50 piece string section play 'Champagne Supernova' was really special!
How did that come about?
A musical director I've known for a while highly recommended me and we hit it off. Are you doing anymore gigs with Liam?
Yes - November!
Do you get nervous before big shows like that?
No. I only get nervous if my voice isn’t 100%. If I’m feeling well, I just get excited!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I think, performing my set to an incredibly attentive sold out crowd at Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland recently, where we got to open up for Bobby McFerrin. Followed by an improvisation with the man himself and then hanging with Quincy Jones at the after party ... yeah, that has to take the crown!
Where would you like to be in the next five years?
I'd really like to be sitting right here in East London in a great flat I can afford making music that makes me happy, and flying around the world to play for loyal crowds at festivals like Meltdown and Montreux on a regular basis.
Please, thank you universe!
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Can we expect an EP soon?
I'm going into the studio to work on the next few releases and I’ll be working on developing my live set up.
I plan to collaborate with a couple of other exciting breaking artists before the end of the year, and I'll be doing some shows with Liam Gallagher.
An EP…oh I hope so!
'Home' is released via Humble Angel on September 6.
Check out recent single 'Forget The Rules':