Annie O Presents: Raia Was

Annie O’s live music series in the Penthouse of The Standard, East Village is a smart bet any time of year, but in summer it’s a must. We can’t think of anywhere we’d rather be on an early summer evening than up on the rooftop, drink in hand, listening to the live sounds curated by our East Village music maven. The vibes are very real and you should come experience them for yourself. 

June 5th, Annie brings in the New York native Raia Was, who’s set to release her debut album, produced by Autre Ne Veut. The music features the powerful, layered harmonies of 90s R&B with the expansive beats and textures of now. You may not have heard of her yet, but you will soon. Check her out before she blows up. 

Annie O Presents: Raia Was
Monday, June 5, 7-9PM
The Standard, East Village Penthouse
Free with an RSVP to

ANNIE O: You're about to release your debut album. What types of feelings are you have right now? Tell us a little bit about your journey...
RAIA WAS: This record has been a long time in the making, I’m super proud of the work and happy to finally be able to share it. The record has also really come alive in performance and what’s most exciting now, I think, is having the album as a reference for what’s happening live. It all feels like a single piece.

"Reprise" is haunting and gorgeous. What does that song mean to you?
Thank you. Most of the songs on this record started as a form of vocal improvisation, ‘Reprise’ definitely so. It was easier to let out whatever needed to be said that way. It feels really good to come clean lyrically sometimes, and ‘Reprise’ definitely does that for me. But I actually even find the backing vocal lines to be as cathartic to sing as the lyrics themselves.

Tell us about working with producer Autre Ne Veut on this album?
He’s just incredible. The collaboration came about in a really organic way after I was well into working on the record. He was able to take what had been recorded alongside my original sketches and demos, find the real core of each song and fill out the landscape from there. His musicianship is impeccable and I think we were able to make something really special.

What's the best part about collaborating?
Arguing. I argue with myself all the time, but without coming to that real concession or resolution. Having someone to go back and forth with, to obsess over tiny details with, and finally be able to see that what’s right is right — that’s totally the best part.

Are there any specific tracks by other artists you currently have on repeat?
Honestly I haven’t been listening to too much music lately. Though I did just hear Jlin’s Black Origami which really shook me. She’s amazing.

Were you born in Brooklyn? How did that influence your music?
I was born and raised in Manhattan, though I do live in Brooklyn. It influenced me tremendously. I had been into music my whole life and went to a great community music school on the Lower East Side, but having access to (and being allowed to go out to see) live music all the time really gave me the feeling that I wanted to do this. I had a regular gig on Sundays when I was a teenager playing piano at a bar on Avenue B. I was just able to be a practicing, learning, performing musician from a young age.

Does the title of the album have a special meaning?
It does. For me, the record is about parallel lives we have in ourselves, of ourselves, with ourselves. Checking out and being a shell, introverting, acting out, being people who we didn’t think we were. The music all came from that duality and the title Body Double is meant to mark that.

Summer touring plans?
No, I’m laying low for the summer, I think. I’m working on a bunch of projects right now and just came back from a tour in Japan last month. I’m still digesting all of that!

What can we expect from your performance at the Annie O. Music Series?
We’re playing most of the new record with some even newer music that I’ve been working on the past few months. My band has been with me for years and are some of the most inspiring musicians I’ve ever worked with. We’re really excited to play.

What's next?
Lots of writing, beginning to produce and record some of the new music. And new collaborations on the horizon, too.

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