Audio: Lady Wray's 'Guilty' Is A Pleasure

You would think that after a series of unfortunate events (a fell-through deal with Roc Nation, a delayed second album, and a group project imploding) former Missy Elliott protege, Nicole Wray would throw her hands up and call a truce, but a success story isn't built on the act of quitting, least we forget, and 'quitting' doesn't seem to be apart of Wray's vocabulary.

As a wise woman once sang, if at first you don't succeed dust yourself off and try again, and Wray has done just that, by changing her name to Lady Wray, signing with Brooklyn-based independent label, Big Crown, and culling together fresh material for her upcoming, Queen Alone (due September 23rd). I missed out on Wray's trumpet-blaring intro single, "Do It Again", last month, so I'm catching up with her latest, the blues-tinged, "Guilty". Like "Do It Again", "Guilty" taps into that old soul sound, where Wray croons like a seasoned Jackson 5 family member, and stitches her heart to her sleeve as echoing backing vocalists call-and-respond hauntingly.

Penned by Lady Wray herself, "Guilty" has an emotional back-story to it, as during an interview with Consequence of Sound, Wray explained that she wrote the song after receiving a letter from her brother who was incarcerated during the holidays."It has a double meaning to me, referring both to his verdict and how I felt looking at the Christmas tree and not experiencing his pain with him," she recalled. "I wanted to be just as uncomfortable as he was." Wray shares this discomfort in the searing chorus line ("I won't be comfortable, cause I know that you're gone"), but fortunately, there is a bit of solace nearing track's end, as Wray, the queen of no-quitting, comes out of her darken woes to comfort her brother, letting him know that she's thinking about him every step of the way.

Touching and evocative, "Guilty" is a pleasure to engage in.
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