New Orlean’s is one location in the world that is not short of talent. Many musicians and actors alike have noted their adoration for the culturally enigmatic yet inspirational state and we were delighted to catch up with the wonderful emerging New Orleanian based singer songwriter Nick Ray, talking us through all things southern and his new material for his up and coming début.
All Images Provided By Nick Ray
Photographer: Matthew Landry
…New Orleans is a wonderful city with music influencing it in all corners.
– Nick Ray
You have been in the industry for quite some time but how long exactly have you been involved in music?
Nick: I’ve been doing this for over 15 years, but I’m also including the early, developing years as a musician. As far as being in the public eye, I would say 10. Back in 2004 I started playing in my local scene building a fan base as a solo acoustic performer. Then in 2007 I started a rock band in New Orleans and started doing east coast tours through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
Nick: Well, in these past few months, I have been the one working as the featured artist. It’s been incredible! In this past year I have had a high volume of requests to be featured on EDM tracks from all over the world, including Spain, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Mexico City, Estonia, Tunisia and Portugal. It’s kind of crazy to me just how many producers from outside of my own country have asked me to sing on their EDM records; more so than on my own soil. In fact, in the U.S. I’ve only done one electronic-based collaboration and that was with a good friend of mine, Matthew Landry. He is an excellent producer and visual artist, and is also my new band-mate.
I’m guessing at this stage you produce a lot of the music yourself?
Nick: Yes, absolutely. This past year I’ve pretty much engineered, produced and wrote all of my own material. One song, in particular, that I’m very proud of is a single off my solo record Four White Walls. “Won’t Go There” was produced by me, and mixed and mastered by a guy named Rick Naiser at Festival Studios in New Orleans. The reason for my excitement for this particular track is that this was the first song I produced for myself when returning back as a solo artist. Prior to that, I was the front man in the rock group Touching The Absolute for a few years. This track represents a lot of whom I am right now and only hints at what I’m capable of as a solo artist.
Talk us through your latest song?
Nick: Well it hasn’t been released yet, but it’s a song called “Circles” which is another one of my, I guess you can say, babies. This is another track that I feel represents me well as an artist. I experimented and used my own chopped up vocals to add layers in the back-beat. In a nutshell, this song is about going back and forth in a relationship and in some love affairs you find that both parties can resist each other in different ways. It has been something I have experienced on multiple occasions, so this song is basically a walk in my shoes regarding those experiences. I’m not exactly sure when I will release this track, though I’m very eager to release it. The amazing people at So It Goes Productions are in the early stages of preproduction for its music video. These talented artists have also provided all of my visual concepts for single and album artwork this year.
New Orleans is a great place for inspiration. Is this where your musical routes originate from?
Nick: Yes and No. Here is the thing; New Orleans is a wonderful city with music influencing it in all corners, but it tends to cater to certain genres like contemporary, blues, and of course jazz. Of course, like any city, there are other forms of music you can find if you look for them. With that being said, you are a product of your environment, and sometimes you can’t shake that. So, yes, I do feel New Orleans has rubbed off on me musically, though it’s not my main inspiration. I do feel like some of the more bluesy influences have been ingrained in me, but not so much jazz, etc. A lot of my inspiration has come from outside the city, like Seattle, for example. For some reason the big boom of rock bands they had in the 90’s struck a nerve with me. A lot of my idols have originated from the North-western part of the U.S.
Photographer: Matthew Landry
…I don’t plan on stopping any time soon and my art keeps pouring out.
– Nick Ray
So how would you describe your music? What genre do you fit it?
Have you always been based in New Orleans?
Nick: For the most part yes. I have lived in other parts of the U.S. Like North Carolina for example. I also have moved around some throughout Louisiana. But mainly I have been based out of New Orleans.
Tell us about your last gig?
Nick: My last gig was in Slidell, Louisiana on 4th of this month. Unfortunately I haven’t been playing many live shows lately due to the demand of studio time. I’ve been really busy with new music and collaborations. It’s been hectic and my time has been limited to studio hours. The good news is I’m currently working on building a live show with other musicians to showcase all of the new material. I plan on touring the Gulf Coast and I hope to eventually hit up the West Coast.
We know you’ve been working on some new material but what is the title of your latest project?
Nick: “I’m With You” A track produced by Iwaro and Kajjin from Spain. These two guys are excellent EDM producers. They found me on SoundCloud and contacted me about doing the collaboration. Once I heard the demo I was hooked!
Photographer: Nick Ray
So what does the future have in store for the soulful Nick Ray?
Nick: A lot. I don’t plan on stopping any time soon and my art keeps pouring out. I’ve had a blast collaborating with so many talented artists, and I hope it just keeps getting better. Besides the slew of collaborations I’m currently working on, fans can look forward to the release of my next solo EP in the coming months.
Though musically New Orleans has not been your main source of inspiration what are the best things about being from New Orleans, for you that is?
We hear that some of the best things, especially food, comes from the south is that true?
Nick: Haha, of course! Without a doubt, we have the best food! Have you ever tried Crawfish Etouffee?