About a year ago, Pittsfield native Raiche Wright was getting radio play after releasing her first single, "Money Pies." By that time, she had already signed with Atlantic Records, offering a hint of big things ahead for the pop singer. Since "Money Pies," Raiche has dropped an EP, "Drive," that features the title track and "Complicated," among other tunes. This spring, she also embarked on her first major tour, hitting cities such as New York, Nashville and Vancouver. On Wednesday, The Eagle caught up with her by phone while she was staying in the Berkshires between Atlanta recording sessions. The interview has been edited for length.
Q It's been a year since we caught up with you, since "Money Pies" was playing on the radio out here. What have been some of the highlights of this past year?
A Definitely the biggest highlight would be going on tour.
Q That was fairly recent, right?
A Yeah, that was about two months ago, and that was a really, really, really amazing experience. I learned a lot about myself and other people and just touring in general.
Q What did you learn specifically?
A I think I learned that — I kind of regained another level and sense of confidence. People were very, very, very accepting of me and my music. Seriously, I was so surprised because I've just heard really bad stories about people going on tour, especially new artists like myself, and they either get booed or just nobody claps. Nobody cares about the music or whatever they're doing onstage, but people were very engaging. It made cry a few times. It was just so beautiful to feel that. So, each show, I just gained more and more confidence with myself and my craft and just my career in general and what I'm doing.
Q How did that engagement manifest itself? Were people singing along?
A It was more like, literally, the first show, I went out and I did this little turn, like a little twirl, and people were just screaming. I did nothing. I barely did anything, and people would freak out. You'd flip your hair, and people freak out. It's kind of really cool. They just see you as something else, I guess, because I see myself as just a normal human being. ... And then also, yeah, a few people were singing my songs, singing along to my songs. Some people were front-row, "I came here just for you, blah, blah, blah, blah." I touched someone's hand. They were like, "I love you!" I said, "I love you!" back, and they freaked out that I even spoke to them.
Q Before this tour, your EP, "Drive," came out. What was that recording process like?
A It was intense. That actually was a very intense process. I was learning a lot about myself then, discovering what I liked and really, honestly, who I was. I think human beings go through a few processes, a good few handful of processes, of rediscovering themselves, discovering themselves, rediscovering themselves, discovering themselves, and that was definitely a point where I was rediscovering myself. So, it was a challenging experience to say the least. I was having people push me harder, and I guess I wasn't so used to that at that time in my life. But I'm so grateful for it. Now, that it's over, I'm so grateful for it. ... Now, when I go in there and record, it's way easier. It's like a breeze. And also, when it's not a breeze, I want to push myself. I have that now within myself to want to push myself harder and longer.
Q What are some of the messages you hope that you got across with this album to listeners?
A I think "Drive," just the main song as well, it's an inspirational song, and "Shine" as well. I have so many messages from people just being so appreciative for that music, and that makes me feel so good. I love that my songs have a message in them, and I want to keep that going. I want all my songs, or at least the majority or most of them, to serve a purpose with a deeper message than just ... a feel-good song. I really want them to have a message of encouragement or just being able to push through or of seeing a different side of the story or a picture that you would probably have never seen, different perspectives. And I think that is what is so beautiful about being able to create music.
Q I saw the music video for "Drive." It kind of had this retro film feel to it. What was that experience like, filming the music video for that song?
A It was really fun. It was ridiculously freezing, and they had me in little tiny slipper heels, out in the snow, digging in the snowy dirt, but it was definitely a good time. I literally had frostbite for a week on my toes.
Q Where was it being shot?
A It was Upstate New York.
Q Have you had any film or TV opportunities come out of this?
A I'm definitely interested in that. We haven't done that yet. I think we're really just working on music, but I am so interested in doing films and movies and even animated movies using my voice. I feel like being a singer, this is [my only] instrument, I've been really crafting it and exploring my voice so much more, and it's so beautiful. I feel that my speaking voice could be the same thing, and I think that'd be so cool to be able to be a character on an animated show but also regular movies and acting, of course.
Q Thinking back to a year ago and then now, has there been anything that you've experienced thus far, related to the music industry, that's surprised you? How are you feeling about pursuing this career today as opposed to about a year ago?
A I think I always keep an open outlook on everything I get myself into, so I never had any preconceived notions. Given that, nothing's really, I guess, surprised me. But I have learned a lot about the music industry. I think there's multiple different sides of it, and there's so many different kinds of people in this industry, and I guess you just have to choose the right people.
Q What's next for you? Will there be a full-length album soon?
A I'm definitely sure that there will be a single, and I'm hoping after that single, it will be an album.
Benjamin Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @bybencassidy on Twitter and 413-496-6251.