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Corinne Bailey Rae is an English singer/songwriter whose career started with a bang. In 2006 her debut album topped UK charts and was certified triple platinum with the help of her first hit single, “Put Your Records On.” A slew of awards and other “best new artist” distinctions followed. As she released subsequent albums, Corinne aspired to stretch herself as an artist beyond neo-soul pop-music success.

In September, Corinne Bailey Rae released her excellent, genre-hopping fourth album, Black Rainbows. It’s an album inspired by her time spent exploring Chicago’s historic Stony Island Arts Bank—a vast collection of Black cultural relics and writing.

On today’s episode Justin Richmond talks to Corinne Bailey Rae about the years she spent in the Arts Bank archives and the stories that inspired her new work. She also talks about her record label’s exhaustive effort trying to push her to recreate the success of her first album. And how an indie skateboarding magazine helped clarify the look of her new album.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Corinne Bailey Rae songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…