Raye Zaragoza is the definition of a multi-passionate creative. Some of her most recent endeavors include dropping her new album “Hold That Spirit”, jamming out at the Newport Folk Festival with us, lending her songwriting talents to a hit streaming series, and being cast in a famous musical’s national tour.
She’s also hitting the road to bring her sonic medicine to listeners all over the U.S., with a particular elation for her NYC and LA stops as those are her home cities.”This tour will include my biggest shows yet, and it feels like such an exciting homecoming,” Raye tells us. “I’ve been working so hard on these songs for years, and I can’t wait to perform them for the people who’ve been there for me.”
Below, we talk to Raye about her new album, performing at Newport Folk Festival ‘23, her Faherty favorites, and more.
What was it like performing at the Newport Folk Festival this year?
“Performing at Newport Folk Festival was such a dream. It was so amazing to be surrounded by my heroes and get to hear so many of my favorite artists play.”
Your new album Hold That Spirit was just released, congratulations! Tell us more about it and the journey while making it.
“‘Hold That Spirit’ was written when I truly needed healing. It was created the year I turned 29, which was the year I got engaged, the year the engagement fell apart, the year I finally sought help to heal from disordered eating, and the year I gloriously entered my thirties. ‘Hold That Spirit’ was the inner voice that kept me going through the rollercoaster. It was such a cathartic experience making this record and it’s definitely my most vulnerable work yet.”
We read that you only collaborated with women on this project. What does sisterhood mean to you?
“We live in a society that has historically pitted women against each other, and it’s one of my favorite acts of rebellion to encourage as much community amongst women as possible. It was so amazing working with all women on this record. 100% of the producers on my record are women, and only 2-3% of producers in pop music are women. It’s on us to change the tides and empower our sisters.”
What kinds of pieces do you like to wear on stage? And what do you wear when you’re en route and traveling to your next stop?
“I love wearing statement pieces on stage that I probably wouldn’t wear in my everyday life. They make me feel like I’m stepping into a different side of myself. When I’m traveling to my next tour stop, I’m always in something super comfortable, like Faherty’s comfy matching sets.”
Your heritage is a rich tapestry of cultures. How do they show up in your music and lyrics?
“My cultural identity is a huge part of my music because it makes me who I am. I love writing songs about my mother’s immigration story and my family’s Indigenous background. We live in a society that so often waters down and quiets the stories of marginalized people and I feel really empowered sharing my family’s stories through my music.”
A couple of years ago, you spoke about making live music more accessible. Why is that important to you and how do you think the music industry can achieve that?
“It’s important that everyone has access to live music, no matter who you are or where you live. I love Levitt AMP and how they build stages and give grants to different smaller cities around the country. When I’m traveling, I try to do shows in communities that don’t often get national touring acts in their cities.”
We’re doing what we can to help end appropriation in fashion by working with our Native design partners to create authentically-designed clothing that benefits Native communities. Are there any ways appropriation shows up in music? And are there facets of Native representation you would like to see better showcased in the mainstream?
“The best way to help Native representation in music and fashion is to keep uplifting Indigenous artists and designers. I love that Faherty partners with Native designers, and I wish that more clothing brands would do the same. When it comes to music, I hope to see more Indigenous artists invited into mainstream music festivals, so they get bigger platforms for their art. Some of my favorite Indigenous artists that everyone should be listening to are Samantha Crain, Black Belt Eagle Scout and Aysanabee.”
What has it been like partnering with Faherty on our Sun Sessions concerts and performances?
“Partnering with Faherty is such a dream. Your support has helped elevate my music so much. I love that you’re way more than a clothing brand and that you’re constantly bringing people together through Sun Sessions and their community.”
Do you have a Faherty favorite that’s your go-to?
“I love all of my flared pants, including Stretch Terry. I have five colors! They are so comfortable and I can wear them with anything.”
How would you describe your style?
“My style is eclectic for sure, but I’m super inspired by 70’s vintage. I love flared pants, earth tones, and band t-shirts. When you tour as much as I do, your wardrobe includes a lot of tees. I also love to get dressed up in my flowy Faherty skirts and dresses.”
Check out Raye's new album, "Hold That Spirit" here.