Anyone that's heard Raphaella's voice before will know what an incredible talent this lady has. We just had to include her on the 'Emerging Icons In The Park' album following her performance on the Emerging Icons stage within the Olympic Park for London 2012.
Powerful and pop-perfect, she consistently delivers range, tone and beautifully trained vocal performances- and she's not lacking in a little edge either. There's a gorgeously subtle huskiness to her voice, and one that adds that 'something extra' as well as confirming her ability to grab her audience's attention. We could tell that when we noticed all the jaws dropping and heads turning when she performed for this summer.
'Above The Water' showcases all of Raphaella's strongest features in a rather stunning three and a half minutes of music. The soft sounds of piano and strings cradle the strength of her vocal and gives a little lift to the emotionally charged lyrical content. The result is one that is gentle yet empowering at the same time. It certainly had an effect on Daniel Powter. Here's what he thought of the track:
With such raving from both Emerging Icons and Daniel Powter (of the complimentary variety, not the glow sticks-wielding kind) there was a need to find out a little more about that strong message within the track. Raphaella told us more about the motivation behind 'Above The Water'... and it's made us love her just a little bit more:
-What was the inspiration behind the track/what the song is about?
I seemed to be on a bit of a 'water theme' at the time and had just written a track called 'Dead in the Water'- so it seemed like the natural progression...! But really, it was written because I think every
single one of us goes through a time in their lives where you just feel like no matter how hard you try, you just can't keep your head and your heart above the water and on top of things. I just wanted to write something that would make everyone know that they're so not alone in this.
-Where and when did you write this song?
It was the third song that I wrote with my soon-to-be publisher, Hiten Bharadia, and Tobias Kampe-Flygare at The Matrix Studios in Parsons Green, London. It was actually quite funny because that week One Direction were in too! Every time we drove out of the studio loads of girls mistook us for them at first taking loads of pictures- until we got close enough for them to realise it definitely WASN'T One Direction... just me, Toby and Hite. Haha!
-Who recorded the track for you- if a producer who else have they worked with?
I recorded it with Tobias Kampe-Flygare who's an amazing producer from Sweden, now based in London at The Matrix Studios, working a lot with myself and Ella Chi.
-How do fans react to the track when you play it live?
I play it loads in my acoustic set accompanying myself on piano, so I'm often performing it within a really intimate setting. I always get really lovely feedback and response from people whenever I sing it; that the lyrics really connect with them and touch them, which is so nice, and exactly the reason why I wanted to write it in the first place.
-What comes to mind when you hear the song played back?
It always brings me back to the day I wrote it and how I was feeling at the time. It also really reminds me of the day I did a live acoustic video recording of it at The Resident Studios with my good friend Michael Paavilnainen who had come all the way from Sweden to film it! It was the first day we worked together and it was just an insane amount of fun fuelled on Caffe Lattes!
- What does your song bring to the Emerging Icons album?
I hope that my song can bring a sensitive side to the Emerging Icons album- that it's the song where every time you put it on, you can just breathe out, close your eyes and know that you're not alone in whatever you're feeling.
With Hiten Bharadia and Tobias Kampe-Flygare playing such an instrumental part in this gorgeous track, it seems only right that we hear what they have to say about it. We asked them a few questions about its production, their experience, and what it's like to work with Emerging Icon Raphaella:
-Which other artists have you written with before?
Tobias: Nervo, Gary Go, Ella Chi...
Hiten Bharadia: Jessie J, Lemar, Craig David, The Overtones, Ben's Brother, Lee Ryan, Canadian Tenors, Lighthouse Family
-What has been your biggest hit to date?
T: 'Mummy's Boy'
H: 'Officially Yours' for Craig David was Top 20 in 10 countries internationally, Lemar was a No. 3 Double Platinum album in the UK, 'Second Last Chance' was a single on the Platinum No. 4 album by The Overtones.
-How do you know when you have written a hit?
T: When you just wanna play the song over and over, you know you got something really strong.
H: You never know you've written a hit, because sometimes the songs you least imagine to be hits are the ones that become so. However, you do know when you've written a good song, because it makes your heart smile in a way only a few things can and that's when you know you have something special.
-How did you come to discover Raphaella?
T: My friend and Co-writer Hiten Bharadia told me about this new amazing act that he had discovered.
H: I saw Raphaella at Shoreditch House performing live. It was so crowded I couldn't see her, but I could hear her and her voice completely captivated me. From the first note she sang, I immediately knew that I wanted to and needed to work with her.
-How does it feel being able to work with such a talented unsigned act who is no doubt going to be a big star in the very near future?
T: Fantastic of course! It's great working with divas before they discovered it themselves!
H: It's so easy working with Raphaella, that it never seems like work. I love her talent for great melodies, her way of moulding words together and her distinctive voice. She is by far the best co-writing partner I've worked with in my career without a doubt.
'Above The Water' appears on 'Emerging Icons In The Park', available on iTunes for just £4.49. Featuring twenty-two of the most promising new artists this country has to offer, you can support fresh unsigned talent for less than a fiver. What are you waiting for?
Follow Kat Jackman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emergingicons