Ray Ray

Ray Ray

Q: Being a professional musician is a difficult path in life to take. What made you decide to embark on that journey?

A: I was originally pursuing acting all throughout middle school. Being on stage always gave me that spark of joy that nothing else seemed to. Once I was rejected from LVA my freshman year of high school, I decided I may need a new career path. Music has always found a way to my heart and drummers always grabbed my attention at concerts. Performing is a necessity to me. Nothing can top watching someone find joy through your music. Each person translates music differently and resonates with it in a unique manner. If I can tell a story, raise awareness through my own personal experiences, and bring true joy to one person, then I have fulfilled my purpose.

Q: What is it about drumming that particularly interested you?

A: I love competition and the fact that drumming is such a male dominated career, really drew me into the instrument and craft itself. I want to change the way individuals see female musicians and female drummers overall.

Q: What kind of training/instructing did you have for drumming?

A: I started out with School of Rock back when I was 14. I then took a few drum lessons from a close friend of mine. At 17 I began lessons with John Frexias where I learned the basics of reading drum charts. In high school I was in the marching band and jazz band, from there I took an elective called “rock 101”. I learned about the roots of music and how it became what we hear on the radio today. I wanted to further my knowledge in other genres and Mark Kimpton was the guy to go to with over 40 years of experience under his belt.

Q: What are the personal challenges you have gone through as a musician, and how did you overcome them?

A: As much as I hate to state that I’m a “female” drummer specifically, I have to point out the elephant in the room. I have most definitely been degraded for being the gender that I am in this male driven career path. I’ve heard it all, from “you’re good for a girl,” to “it must be hard playing for such long periods of time with such a small figure”. I understand most people’s intentions, and that they mean well. I had to tell myself that being a female drummer who happens to look very young for her age, and is no more than 110 pounds, to embrace what I have been blessed with. Being undermined from the start can be quite amusing. When people who have never heard or seen me perform ask “are you good?”, I simply reply with “that’s up to you.” I truly believe this. I look young and have a tiny figure. However, once I’m behind my kit, I would hope to silence the doubt that onlookers may have as far as my passion and love for what I have been blessed to be able to do everyday.

Q: In terms of musical style, where do you see fitting? It can be more than one.

A: My personal style seems to fit best along pop, alternative, and a splash of r&b.

Q: What was the first slice of music that ignited your imagination?

A: Primus was the band that seemed to tap me on the shoulder and say “music has no boundaries”. “Tommy the Cat” was the first Primus song I had heard. The crazy slap bass line, unexpected rests, and the connection between Tim Alexander and Les Claypool was so mesmerizing to listen to. It was very “in your face” and confident!

Q: Tell me your artistic influences and how they affected you. What did you learn from them?

A: I have to mention Sheila E. when speaking of influences. The amount of energy and talent that woman has is amazing! Travis Barker (Blink-182) is such a powerhouse! Even after having blood clots in both of his arms that temporarily halted his drumming career, he’s still a mad man! What he can do with a 4 piece kit, reminds me of how full John Bonham would make his sound. Watching Travis play really helped me come out of my shell as far as power when performing or even practicing. In the beginning, I played like a girl. I was 14 and weighed nothing. My drum teachers would tell me to play with purpose. I thought I was, until I watched Travis. After practicing for quite some time, I found a way to convey my passion with more of an oomph factor. I was told I played too light, so I changed up my technique, and played with purpose. I wanted to be heard even if I was in the back of my band behind the lead singer.

Q: Can you describe how you have evolved creatively throughout the years?

A: I started out drumming to classic rock. I grew up around Journey, Bon Jovi, Queen, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, etc. With this genre, the drum beats are pretty straight forward. Not to say classic rock doesn’t have its technicalities, but for the most part it was a great genre to start out with. From there, I really found myself pulled into pop music. It was what I would hear on the radio going to school most days. With pop, came R&B. I love Blackbear, Hot Chelle Rae, AJR, 21 Pilots, Khalid, Post Malone etc. My favorite creative process is adding my own catchy, upbeat drum style to r&b and pop songs that have the usual synth drum beats going on. I’ll listen to a Post Malone song, hear a ton of different drum beats, and add what I believe would compliment the overall piece. I played it safe in the beginning, as I grew throughout the years, I focused more on upbeat grooves along with an absurd amount of fills in the blank spaces of music. Most musicians thought I was crazy for throwing in full fills in the middle of a verse. So I chose to take this “crazy” and put it into my own music where it fit best.

Q: Do you feel being a musician is a job or a hobby? Or both. Please explain.

A: I believe being a musician can start out as a job. The beginning can be the roughest path. You have to find where you want to belong and what interests you. If you never find your own identity and purpose for playing then the world will never know who YOU are as an individual. Music becomes a hobby once you have your own purpose and are no longer trying to be someone else. It’s one thing to say “I’m influenced by Travis Barker”. It’s another to say “I want to be Travis Barker.”

Q: Are there any artists you dream of collaborating with? Which ones and why?

A: Travis Barker is a given. He has some of the craziest hi-hat, snare combos. That man can fly around his kit all the while slamming on every piece of it. His creativity is insane, I would love to watch his thought process on a brand new piece. Brendan Urie of Panic! At The Disco is another collaboration goal. He can play everything! An amazing all around musician. Not only does he have the talent to play each instrument and sing, but he can hear each part of a song before it’s been presented. He has the vision that every musician wants.

Q: Are you planning a full-length album? Any details you can share?

A: I am! Before my first release I did my research on singles vs albums as a new artist. Singles seemed to be the best way to get listeners to hear each song as a whole. It seems to be best to release an album once you have a steady fan base, so that’s exactly my plan. I’ll be releasing singles for a while just to get my name out there and to familiarize others with who I am and what I’m trying to say.

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