Abba Voyage: Doncaster Eurovision hopeful to star in 'Abbatar' spectacular in London

A Doncaster singer who once bid to represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest has been signed up to take part in pop supergroup Abba’s upcoming virtual reality series of concerts.

By Darren Burke
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 9:05 pm

Rachel Clark, who hails from Barnby Dun, will be joining the 70s pop favourites for their upcoming Abba Voyage spectacular which will see Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, and Björn Ulvaeus transformed into ‘Abbatars’ for the eagerly anticipated series of shows in a specially built London arena.

Rachel, 31, who goes into the stage name Raya, has spent the past few months working with the band, including alongside Andersson for live band rehearsals in Sweden.

Tweeting a picture of herself in the studio with the music legend she wrote: “And so it begins!”

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Rachel Clark, also known as Raya, in the studio with Abba's Benny Andersson in Sweden. (Photo: Abba Voyage).

In 2018, she was among six hopefuls hoping to fly the flag for the UK, but was beaten to top spot and a place in the Lisbon final by singer-songwriter SuRie who triumphed with her number Storm.

In an introductory video played ahead of her performance, the former Doncaster Rovers' Vikette and one-time Hungerhill School pupil, described herself as a "short, northern firecracker with a heart of gold."

Her upbeat dance song Crazy, about love infatuation, was cheered on by mum Joan and friend Fauve, who were in the audience.

She said: "My dad was my biggest fan and of course it's sad that he's not here for the biggest thing I've ever done. I hope he'll be looking down on me and I hope I can do him proud.

Raya, who has lived and worked in London as a singer, dancer and DJ for several years, has performed all over the world, provided backing vocals for Hurts, danced for Little Mix and has appeared in ITV drama Mr Selfridge.

The Abba Voyage concerts will get under way at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on May 27 and are scheduled to run through until December.

The shows will depict the group as they appeared in 1977 and have been created with motion-capture and performance techniques with the four band members and the team from Industrial Light & Magic, the company founded by George Lucas, in what is the company’s first foray into music.

It comes after the release of new ABBA album, Voyage, released last year and featuring ten new songs including the previously-announced "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down".

The concerts will feature a 10-piece live band playing alongside the group's avatars, performing 22 of ABBA's songs.

Fans from around the globe have snapped up tickets for the eagerly anticipated series of shows which will be held at a specially built venue which has been dubbed the Abba Arena and will be the band’s first concerts since 1980.