MUSIC – Rainey James catches a dream

RAINEY JAMES has just finished work in the studio when I catch her on the phone.

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Rainey James hopes iTunes showcase is start of something big
Rainey James hopes iTunes showcase is start of something big

The line is a bit crackly as she stretches into the garden to get a signal, but her passion for music comes through loud and clear.

Scottish singer/songwriter Lorraine McMenamin, who performs as Rainey James, has just had one of her tracks released on a new album on iTunes.

Dreamcatcher is one of 22 from a collection of international artists to feature on Renaissance, released on Monday.

The success, which is closely followed by two of her tracks making The Best of British album, due out later this year, comes after a hard eight years trying to make it in the music industry in London. The move came after Rainey, 31, took up the guitar in her final year of school at Our Lady and St Patrick's High in her home town of Dumbarton.

She said: "It was a funny story. It was my last year of high school in 1999 and I decided I wanted to pick up the guitar and I took it straight from there.

"I didn't realise I had a voice, I knew I could sing but then the song writing came along with it."

In 1992 Rainey's mum, Elizabeth McMenamin, died at 37 of organ failure and nine years later her dad, Thomas, 48, also passed away after a battle with bowel cancer.

The hurt cut deep through Rainey's life, but she found music was a way to express herself.

She said: "With everything that happened to me with my parents passing away, I didn't know how to have an outlet on it, so I put it into a song.

"It was devastating, but my friends were there and I decided there are other people who have been through worse than I have and maybe if I can put this into a song, it can mean something that can help that person go through."

One of the first songs she wrote, Somewhere Else, revealed her feelings on everything that had happened.

Beginning with the lines, "She's had enough of all the pain, she doesn't know how she didn't go insane," the song has a haunting quality, which is profound and honest.

"Everyone kept saying 'that is such a good song, I love the lyrics'", says Rainey, "so I thought, let's see where I can take this. So I went to Clydebank College, and did the music course for a year.

I played Glasgow with the college and it seemed to go down well so I just progressed and other songs kept coming from it. I decided I would have to move to London to pursue this.

"I am a huge country music fan so like songs with a story behind them. I like to inspire people so it really depends on how I feel before I write material."

Rainey took her stage name from her grandfather James, who died in December 1995.

She said: "He didn't have anything to do with music but always said to go get whatever you want out of life."

Rainey, who is unsigned and puts her music on SoundCloud, first heard about the competition to get her song on to the Renaissance album on Twitter.

She said: "I haven't got any words for it. I never expected to be just days into the New Year and have a song on iTunes.

"Hopefully it is going to be good from here on."

Last year, Rainey returned to Dumbarton for her first homecoming gig at Ben View Resource Centre, which sold out.

This April she is back there, to play to her home crowd, but the date is yet to be confirmed. Rainey is also performing in Kensington in London on January 26, at AAA club.

Dreamcatcher is available on iTunes on Renaissance, and costs 79p for the track. For more information, visit www.sound cloud.com/Rainey-James

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