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January 19, 2016Feature

23-year-old Raeen Roes Wilson has had a turbulent life to say the least. Now making the music she wants, Raeen speaks candidly to Eric Davidson about her mental health, music industry misogyny and not giving a fuck

A lot has been written about Angel Haze. From her past to her recent present, there are features in many of the major music magazines and on blogs outlining her life and where she comes from. However, she still remains somewhat enigmatic.

According to her, that’s down to the fact that she was the one who told the world about her life, before any one else could.

“I had to get all of my skeletons out before someone did it for me. For people to find out any other way would suck.

“Self awareness is really important. I’m going to die one day and a lot of people like to live their lives secretly and suffering alone, but you learn so much when you share. It makes the burden lighter.”

"I'm here on the earth to share my story, show my scars and leave it in a better place."

I was curious to see if there was a difference between Raeen, Angel Haze and her other pseudonym Babe Ruthless.

Raeen explained that it was actually much more serious than a string of stage names and differing projects.

“I have multiple personality disorder, it’s actually called dissociative identity disorder. You change so much that you’re forced to have different sectors of yourself.

“Every part of me is different. Raeen is super affectionate and timid, Angel Haze is contemplative all the time, worrying about her own mortality, and Babe Ruthless just doesn’t give a fuck at all.”

A running theme in our conversation is that she doesn’t want to be pigeonholed or typified.

“I’m not a boy, I’m not a girl, I’m an experience,” she continues. “I’m here on the earth to share my story, show my scars and leave it in a better place.”

Recently, the glare of the gutter press was firmly fixed on Raeen. She wasn’t in a good place and the red-top media attention, as usual, didn’t help.

“I had to stop giving a fuck. I don’t give a fuck about what anyone thinks. It’s my world. I’ve been alive for 23 years, I have God knows how much longer there is.

“If I live it worrying about what other people think, who don’t even know what they think of themselves, it’d be an unending vortex of stupidity.

“I’m just here to be me until I can’t any more and everything expires.”

"It's thoughtful music, it's not just turn up shit."

Keeping in the theme of classifications, we got onto the topic of Raeen being referred to as a ‘female rapper’ by many in the media.

I just don’t see the need for that separation. It’s strange to have that divide in the middle of it. They say “you’re a girl so you have to rap about xyz”.

“I’d prefer to be referred to as a ‘girl 2Pac’ or a ‘girl Kendrick Lamar’ than a girl rapper. It’s thoughtful music, it’s not just turn up shit.

“You go to the doctor whether it’s a man or a woman, but we don’t get that same respect in every area of life, especially music.”

Raeen is also quick to point out that this misogyny can be perpetuated by female writers too.

“A lot of the people who write about me in that way are women, which is weird. The only way I’ve learned to combat it is to not acknowledge it at all. It’s never going to define me.”

"I almost died twice. In that I realised that the only thing worth living for is yourself."

After over two decades of near constant turmoil for the musician it seems like Raeen is coming out the other side.

So how has her perception of the world changed and what’s the next step?

“I almost died twice. In that I realised that the only thing worth living for is yourself.

“The idea of success has changed so much for me. I did the album with the pop shit, which was cool, but at the same time ‘Back to the Woods’ and everything I’m doing now feels so much better.

“I’m coming to random countries and playing a record that I wrote in two months about how fucked up I am. It’s not about preaching to the crowd, it’s just telling them how I live and that’s what they’re coming to see.

“I’m honest and I’m not selling them anything that’s what makes me really stoked. I’m so happy with where I am right now.”

Raeen is currently working on her sophomore album, but ‘Back to the Woods‘ is available now.

Photos by Eric Davidson

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