RAYE’S first performance at Glastonbury Festival will surely go down as one of the most powerful of this weekend.

She wowed the sizable lunchtime crowd with her soulful vocals and opened up about sexual abuse and the pitfalls she has faced throughout her career.

As she stepped onto the Pyramid Stage, the London 25-year-old was almost in disbelief at the number of people who came to see her, later revealing she has played at some festivals in the past where there were “more people on stage than there were in the audience”.

She was joined by a large musical contingent containing a brass section and several vocalists, looking sharp in white dinner suits that contrasted her black midi dress.

Somerset County Gazette: Raye holds the award for Best Contemporary Song at the 2023 Ivor Novello Awards.Raye holds the award for Best Contemporary Song at the 2023 Ivor Novello Awards. (Image: Ian West, PA Wire)

Raye opened her set with ‘Oscar Winning Tears’ and ‘Thrill is Gone’, before fighting back tears when she delivered a speech about sexual violence and her negative experiences in the music industry before singing ‘Ice Cream Man’.

Her first studio album, My 21st Century Blues – which was artfully crafted from a wide palette of influences with elements of jazz, soul, R&B and house – doesn’t shy away from tackling hard-hitting topics, also touching on her substance abuse in ‘Mary Jane’.

“I’ve not had the easiest of journeys,” she said, alleging she wasn't allowed to release an album by a record label she was signed to for seven years, saying she was told she wouldn't have a big enough fan base for it to succeed. 

Despite her obvious talent (she has previously written for Beyoncé, John Legend and Rihanna), it took her until February to release her first record as an independent artist.

She later said: “All my music is medicine to me in some way.”

Between songs, her ad lib words to the audience were full of charm and humour, as she advised against dating rappers and spoke of the joy she felt when her self-released album reached number two in the UK album charts.

Her stunning voice impressed throughout, but it was the pulsating dance beat of ‘Black Mascara’ and the incredibly catchy finale ‘Escapism’, which follows an alcohol and heartbreak-fuelled night out, that brought the most energy from the fields.

Before closing her set, she said: “I never plan what I’m going to say.

“Can I just say to every single person who came to watch my set, thank you. I do not take it for granted.

“My wildest dreams have come true this year.”