Raye Zaragoza is a galvanizing presence, a self-assured artist making music to fight for, represent, and celebrate those left too long outside the spotlight.
Known for tenacious feminist anthems and fearless protest folk, her stage presence teems with determined morale. However, Zaragoza was not always the fortified woman of color who takes the stage today.
As a Japanese-American, Mexican, Indigenous woman, Zaragoza spent much of her early life trying to assimilate with the world around her, to meet punishing standards of beauty synonymous with just one color of skin—and not her own. Raye confesses, “I truly thought that in order to be beautiful, you had to be white.” She has come a long way from that youthful pain, proclaiming “I am proud to be a multicultural brown woman with insecurities and a vibrant intersectional identity that I continue to grapple with. I hope young girls of today will know that The It Girl is whatever the hell they want to be.”
This rightful confidence radiates across Woman in Color, Zaragoza’s sophomore album out now on Rebel River Records, her own independent label. The album delivers powerful missives about embracing one’s own identity and discovering the power behind it, all across brisk, emotive, compelling folk melodies. Once deemed “one of the most politically relevant artists in her genre” by Paste Magazine, Raye now offers an intimate exploration of coming into her own, in a country where for many, simply existing is political.