Known for her no-holds-barred lyrics and straight talk, whether on or off the mic, Ray BLK (real name Rita Ekwere) speaks her mind.

BLK stands for Building, Living, Knowing and is just one of many ways Ray embeds purpose into her work.

 “I always have to get everything off my chest,” says the singer-songwriter. “As an artist and somebody who’s been blessed with a platform, I feel like it is part of my responsibility.” 

We’re so excited that this MOBO nominated, BBC Sound award-winning, Queen of R&B is performing at the Apprentice Nation Spring 2021 Live Show.

You might already be familiar with her song ‘Warrior’ which featured in the film Rocks with BT’s BAFTA Rising Star Bukky Bakray:

Coming from an underprivileged background myself, in a council home, with a single parent, pushed me to be my best and made me determined to create a better future for myself and I want young women, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds like myself to have those opportunities too. 

I’m proud to be working to level the playing field, not just in the music industry but in career and life journeys, whatever path people choose.

Speaking more on her mum being her driving force, Ray shared the one lesson that has propelled her forward: she can be “absolutely anythingdon’t let anyone tell you what you’re capable of doing.”

“To a point where I actually think it’s laughable, like “Well, if you want to be Prime Minister, you can be”, and I’m like “Well, I can’t be Prime Minister”, but she’s like “You can if you want to be. Why could you not?“.

That’s a message that has really stuck with me and I think it’s one of the main things that’s gotten me here. Because a lot of people thought, me wanting to become a singer was impossible or ridiculous or far-fetched, and my mum’s always been like “Well, of course you can”. 

If you have the talent and the drive, you can make it happen for yourself. So, don’t allow your circumstances to limit you.”

Raised in Catford, South London and born in Nigeria, you can hear both Grime and genre-bending influences in Ray BLK’s tracks. See how her upbringing influences both her infectious melodies and storytelling in Ray’s breakout hit ‘My Hood’, featuring Stormzy.

Join Ray BLK, performing live on the 22 April at the Apprentice Nation Spring 2021 Live Show:

I’m beyond excited to be working with Apprentice Nation to raise awareness of the diverse paths that anyone, no matter their background or gender, can access today.

And it doesn’t end there. Lock into Apprentice Nation’s free, on-demand content to hear about the ups and downs Ray BLK has faced in the industry as a black woman – another topic that she has frequently and openly discussed. “It’s about being told no and always remembering to tell yourself yes.

Sign up to Apprentice Nation today to get exclusive access to Ray BLK’s pearls of wisdom.