10/05/2009 at 02:00 PM EDT
Singer Corinne Bailey Rae is using music to help her move though the grief of losing her husband Jason – spending much of this year gradually returning to work, writing and quietly playing low-key gigs.
Her 2006 song Put Your Records On
was a massive hit, and now the young widow says she feels "impassioned" about her new songs and wants to pass that feeling on to her audience. "I don't think there is anyone of my generation saying these things, singing about these things," she tells the U.K.'s Observer Music Monthly
She adds: "And it happens, you know. It can happen to anyone at any time. I want to be out there on stage with my hands out going, does anyone else feel the same way?"
It has been an intensely difficult road since Jason Rae was found dead
in March 2008. A coroner ruled that the saxophonist, 31, who played in Mark Ronson's band and sometimes toured with his wife, had died following an accidental overdose of methadone and alcohol.
"I did think I could never do this sort of thing again because if anyone asked me about Jason, I would just explode," the singer, from Leeds, England, says. "For a long time, I didn't even try and write. It was just too big a thing, too raw."
Eighteen months on, Bailey Rae's return to the studio has seen her pen a series of heartfelt songs including two about her loss. She says the one called "Are You Here," was "one of the songs that just came through. It was like I was wishing him here. It's a song about grief and loss and that's really what the whole record is about."
Bailey Rae admits she had tried to get back to work and record some songs too early. "I laugh now at how deluded I was. I felt like everything would somehow go back to normal if I got on with things but, in reality, I was still in shock," she told the OMM
Now, she is looking ahead. Later this year she will showcase the new set of songs in some concert dates and the as-yet-unnamed album is set for release in early 2010.