Ray BLK still gets star-struck around her school friend MNEK.



The 25-year-old rising R&B and soul star attended secondary school with the songwriter - who has penned and produced hits for the likes of Beyonce, Madonna and Kylie Minogue - and has so much respect for him as an artist that she's in awe of the 'Never Forget You' hitmaker every time they see each other.

Speaking in an interview with new digital magazine The Lowdown, she gushed: "What is funny is I've been friends with MNEK for such a long time and before he was so massive. But still every time I see him there is something about him. That is my friend and we will have a normal conversation, but I am still star struck by him. It's because I respect him so much as an artist and I look up to him so much."

Ray - who was crowned the winner of the BBC Sound Of 2017 poll - recently released her feminist project, 'Empress', and says her life changed overnight after picking up the accolade.

She said: "I went from being moderately busy to having no time whatsoever.

"You are just not prepared for being thrust into the limelight and commercial eye. But it was amazing because a lot of people who didn't know about me suddenly knew about me. It meant my audience became bigger. But it was a lot to prepare for."

The Nigerian-born star - who has just completed a run of shows supporting Rudimental - plans to release her debut album next year, and she has set her sights on winning a Grammy or BRIT award one day.

She said: "I can't wait for my debut album to come out next year. I hope one day I will win a Grammy and maybe a BRIT.

Read the full interview with Ray here: bit.ly/2zeXq0O

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