Beyoncé Lion King album: The young Brit who wrote the first track

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When she was 16, singer Raye told herself she was going to work with Beyoncé.

As ambitions go, it’s similar to a child making a rocket out of loo rolls and telling themselves they’re going to the moon one day.

But just five years later, Raye has done it – having co-written Bigger, the first song on Beyoncé’s new Lion King album The Gift.

“It’s absolutely crazy how things have turned out,” she tells Newsbeat.

Raye’s scored solo hits and written big songs for people like Ellie Goulding, David Guetta, Little Mix and more.

But having a cut on a Beyoncé record is arguably her biggest song-writing credit yet.

“Everyone in my age bracket grew up listening to her religiously.

“I studied Beyoncé and her performances, I used to watch her videos crying.”

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Beyoncé and Jay Z attended the European premiere of The Lion King in London in July

The song was penned at a writing camp at Beyoncé’s studio – which is where songwriters and producers all work together over a short period of time to come up with songs for a major new project.

Six people are credited with writing Bigger – including Beyoncé – but Raye says the song began life due to a bond with US songwriter Stacy Barthe.

Bigger was written in a ‘dark, sad place’

“I remember we were both in a really dark, sad place and we wanted to create something to empower ourselves,” says Raye.

“We spent maybe two or three hours on it. It was 3am and I remember Beyoncé’s team came in and heard what we’d created so far and just completely freaked out. It was incredible.”

But while Raye knew Beyoncé and her team liked Bigger, she didn’t find out the song had made the album until a few days before the record was released.

“There were hundreds of songs and you never know. So it was a real moment to hear it was going to be track one and that she’s done a video for it.”

And while Raye says she kept her composure in front of Beyoncé, while she was working with the star, she admits she was “completely losing it”.

‘It took a lot of work to get here’

Since coming to attention in the UK with Jax Jones and Jonas Blue collaborations in 2016, Raye’s become an in-demand vocalist, writer and hit-maker in her own right.

When we spoke to Raye, she was chatting by a pool at David Guetta’s studio in Ibiza.

But she says having a credit on a Beyoncé song is validation for several years of hard work in the music industry.

“I want to be taken seriously as a writer,” she says.

“It took a lot of work to find my way into the writing rooms, then the bigger rooms, to eventually get into a room like this. Then to actually have a cut, it’s just crazy, I’m over the moon.”

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