Canadian country powerhouse Nicole Rayy is calling on all 90’s lovers with the release of her nostalgic, feel good single “Feels Like Yesterday,” available today across streaming platforms. Opening with a retro guitar riff, Rayy’s soaring, pop-fuelled vocals reminisce on the pop culture of her childhood, with the nostalgia solidified by a sample of Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” in the chorus.

““Feels Like Yesterday” is pure nostalgia for growing up in the 90’s,” Rayy shares about the track. “Whether you were born then or you were living your teenage years in the 90’s I am hoping this song will transport you back to that time in your life. My co-writers (David Madras & Matt Teed) and I really wanted to include references most of us could relate to from that era in our lives, from singing Britney Spears to memorizing your friends’ home phone numbers. So burn this one on a mix CD and crank it up on your boombox!

Rapidly growing her name in the country industry, Nicole Rayy has amassed over a million catalogue streams to date, with her smash 2020 single Broken Boys racking in over 500K streams alone. She’s received praised from country tastemaker press such as The Boot, Complete Country, and Top Country while finding her music places across popular playlists like Spotify’s New Music Nashville and Live Country, as well as Amazon Music’s Breakthrough Country and Certified Country. 

Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?

It has been quite the journey so far, this year I am actually celebrating ten years in the country music industry! It all started with my first album, recorded at Cherry Beach Sound, “Only Everything.” From there I was introduced to a woman who really helped me navigate the early days of my career, Anya Wilson. She introduced me to my first manager, Janice Starodub, who really pushed me to discover my individuality as an artist and was by my side while I released my second album “Dig”, produced by Douglas Romanow. After she passed, I pushed on to carry out the plans we had for the next steps of my career which led me to my third album “All Woman”. An album that inspired me to create more opportunities for women in the music industry including my live show “All Woman Music” and my all-female festival “HarmoniaFest”. I am now lucky to be working with another amazing producer, Brian Howes, on my current music and I am excited to be working towards my fourth album which I feel will be the most authentically me.

How would you describe the highs and lows of being an artist? 

There are a lot of them. Being an artist is definitely a roller coaster of emotions at all times. Some days I feel so proud of how far I’ve come and everything I have accomplished. Whereas other days I get caught up in everything that hasn’t happened yet. It can be difficult to put your emotions aside when your job is also your passion. I try to remind myself daily to celebrate the small wins and to be grateful I get to do what I love every day.

What’s a musical guilty pleasure of yours?

Ha-ha, I think I have a lot of musical guilty pleasures, including music from musicals and the soundtrack from the movie Josie and the pussycats. ☺

What are some sources of inspiration for you?

My life is really my inspiration for my music. I always say that my songs are sort of like reading the pages of my diary. I am constantly inspired by love, heartbreak and the relationships in my life.

Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?

There are honestly too many to name, but picking just one I would have to say Taylor Swift. Not only do I admire her voice and her incredible songwriting, but I also admire her as a businesswoman. In this industry, it’s important to not only practice your art but also to learn the business side of things. I admire that she is such a force in both aspects of her career. 

Favorite activity to blow off some steam?

Working out! I am a huge believer that movement is medicine. I need movement daily to blow off steam and to work out my emotions physically. 

Tell us about your latest release and how it came about

“Feels Like Yesterday” is all about the 90s. I am so excited about this song and the nostalgia that I hope it brings to my listeners. I wrote this song with two talented artists and writers, David Madras and Matt Teed. I brought this idea to them with not much in mind for how to write it, only knowing I wanted to write something about that feeling of growing up as a 90s kid. They were excited by the concept and I think we wrote something really special together. We had a blast reminiscing on all the trends of the 90s and finding clever ways to fit them into the lyrics.

What are some things you do to deal with anxiety and creative blocks?

Movement is definitely my go-to to deal with my stress and anxiety. It gets me out of my head for a while and helps me deal with mental blocks in a physical way. Other than exercise I also love talking to the people I trust. I have wonderful parents and a partner in my life that have definitely talked me through some tough times of anxiety and creative blocks.

What’s the future looking like for you?

It looks like it is filling up with shows, which I am very excited about. Like all artists right now I am very excited to get back on the stage. I am organizing my own female festival “HarmoniaFest” again this year, it is taking place on September 11th. I also have another new song in my pocket that I am excited to share with my fans in the fall. And I am currently in the middle of recording a Christmas album, part of which will be released this holiday season.

What inspires your visuals, videos, looks etc?

It really changes based on the song. But some visuals for my music videos are inspired by things I dreamed about as a kid. Growing up I always wanted to be in a music video that took place in the rain, which I made happen with my last music video for “Sad Song”. I also got to live out of Britney Spears’ dreams with a tribute to her video “Baby One More Time” for the music video for “Feels Like Yesterday”, which will be released in August. 

What is the most embarrassing memory and most proud moment of your career so far?

I am pretty easily embarrassed so I have definitely done lots of little things that I think are embarrassing that people probably didn’t even notice. But luckily nothing terribly embarrassing has ever happened. Being in the industry this long though, the videos from my early days are starting to look pretty embarrassing ha-ha. 

I have quite a few proud moments it’s hard to pick one. My top few are putting on my own music festival, being nominated for Female Artist of the Year at the CMA Ontario awards and performing on stage at the World Music Festival in Shanghai, China.

What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?

Where do you think the music and entertainment industry is headed after this past year?

In my eyes, over the last year, many artists were put on a level playing field. Whether you are a huge artist or an emerging artist we were all stuck at home having to get creative to keep our careers alive. I hope that this causes a shift in where the music industry is headed. I hope it opens up opportunities for more independent artists and those who have worked hard during this time to breakthrough. As someone who works hard to create more opportunities for women I also hope to see a shift in this industry for females.