Material: In terms of social awareness, Fight For You by Raye Zaragoza is an indie rock album that was somewhat ahead of its time. Five years ago the singer-songwriter’s debut album addressed topics such as inequality and injustice with peaceful protest songs like “Fight For You.” The vocal slides that she displays in the chorus section of this song add a calming touch of serenity to her livestreaming shows. But the most personable aspect about her virtual “Studio Apartment Tour” is when she pulls the curtain back on her love life with indie pop songs like “Bushwick Avenue.”
Musicianship: Many of the songs written by this alto singer reflect upon her journey as the daughter of an Indigenous father and an immigrant mother. Compositions like “Driving to Standing Rock” and “In The River” were inspired by real life protests. Zaragoza enlisted the help of Grammy nominated songwriter Johnny Black and several well-known folk rock musicians for the recording of her studio album, but when she performs live, she typically plays the music in a stripped down setting with nothing more than an acoustic guitar. It’s a simple presentation that meshes well with the richness of her vocal tone.
Performance: Instead of predetermining a set list, the New York native encouraged fans to request songs for her to play, throughout the duration of her 30-minute time slot. She obliged onlookers by performing acoustic versions of some of her past single releases such as “Warrior” and “He Calls Me River.” Zaragoza did a nice job of blending the seriousness of her subject matter with soft harmonic arrangements and a soothing vocal tone. Raye sat directly in front of her webcam for the entirety of her virtual performance. This show was also the official release party for her new single “The It Girl.” Before Zaragoza sang this song, she shared a few intimate details about the ways in which her insecurity for having brown skin ultimately lead to her writing an emotional composition about her experience.
Summary: The accessibility of this online platform allows Raye Zaragoza to engage in playful banter with her supporters while singing alternative folk songs like “They Say.” The most entertaining part of this show came toward the end, when she asked her fans to post messages about their plans for the upcoming weekend. And then? She improvised a song about it. Complete with humorous messages and individual shout-outs to her most loyal attendees. This playful moment was a satisfying way to end a night that was highlighted by an array of heavy social messages.