Rita Ekwere (a.k.a. Ray BLK) was born in Nigeria, and came to England with her family when she was four. She was brought up in Catford, South London.
Ekwere formed a music group in her early teens with her school friend MNEK. They called themselves New Found Content, but their songs never saw the light of day. However, MNEK has gone on to work with the likes of Beyoncé, Little Mix and Zara Larsson.
Ray BLK first came to the public attention when she was announced as the winner of the BBC's Sound Of 2017, an annual BBC poll of music critics and industry figures to find the most promising new music talent. Previous winners include Adele, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Sam Smith.
Her stage name stands for Building Living Knowing. Ekwere explained to the BBC: "Building: For your future and working hard. Living: Because I believe you have to live your life to the fullest. And knowing: Because I think education is really important. We should keep trying to learn for the whole of our lifetime."