Rasha Jay populates two of the least well represented areas of the music industry for women – blues and alternative rock. For the former genre, this is especially mystifying, given it was one of the first areas of music to not only give women an equal voice but also black women. Whether it was Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton or Sister Rosetta Tharpe, women were able to take to the same stages as men and express themselves through their music, without the need to descend into novelty or stereotype. Alternative rock has proved intermittently accepting of female musicians but there has often been the sideways glance that this is something of a exception rather than the norm. To straddle both genres in 2019 could easily seem a step too far to even attempt.
It goes without saying, given that introduction, that Rasha Jay is an artist doing exactly that. Though the rock element is more through dynamics than sonics, her beguilingly cool sound is subtle enough, yet also powerful enough, to fit neatly into a blues, rock or soul bracket, without upsetting any of those delicate of heart. Based in New Jersey, Rasha is all about breaking down walls, giving people of any background the confidence to find their own voice.
Taken from her forthcoming EP, High Dive, “Red Coat” is a slowly burning track which emerges from Portishead-like atmospherics to take on an insistent drum beat and a grinding guitar riff, all whilst Rasha’s reassuringly strong vocals keep the audience on their toes. Rasha’s music is not political but touches upon the human condition in all its guises, from the abrasiveness of Red Coat as well as the vulnerable and more unguarded aspects of Love Enough. Her music and lyrics are about keeping the raw power of her music completely pure and projecting it to audiences of all kinds.