Artist Name: Sam Ray
Song Title: Born in California
Genre: Electro Pop
Release Date: 12th October 2018
Sam Ray – Born in California
Blending the synth ambiance of electro-pop with 80s aesthetic and early 00s emo vocals, Sam Ray creates memorable hooky pop tracks with thoughtful lyrics, reminiscent of Angels & Airwaves, LANY, and Death Cab for Cutie – but with a distinctly British edge.
In 2018, Ray set out a new musical direction with the releases of “Stolen” and “Underneath My Skin”, and continues to build on his brooding electro-pop sound with the release of “Born in California”.
Discuss the relevance of social networking to music.
Obviously these days; social media is massively important to artists in every creative field, and recently there’s been a sort of shift away from Facebook towards Instagram and Twitter – certainly in younger generations. Now, Instagram Stories are a huge part of everyday social media activity for people, and as an artist you have to try and keep your finger on the pulse, which can be tough sometimes. I think the best thing to do as an artist is to post about the stuff that inspires you or makes you laugh – there’s no point in trying to cater for anyone else because at least if no one else likes it, you will.
Go into detail on why you decided to choose music as a career.
Music has always been a huge part of my life. From a young age I’ve been interested in performing, and I started messing around with an old cassette tape recorder at the age of about 11. I’ve been writing music since about 13 and played in pop-punk and rock bands, so it seemed logical to follow a career that I’d already spent a ton of time on.
Brief us the feedback you are getting from fans on your music.
The new stuff’s gone down particularly well actually! The production value has increased massively over the last 12 months or so, and I think I’m still improving as a songwriter all the time. It’s always really great to hear stuff about people getting chills from a track and that sort of thing!
Tell us how you record your song.
All the tracks I release are self-produced at my home studio. For me, it’s the best way to really fulfill a creative vision because you have so much control over the sonic quality of the music. Of course, you need that feedback from other people too, so I’ve worked with a couple of other producer friends to make sure I’m on the right track!
Tell us the story behind the song.
‘Born in California’ is really about the kind of nepotism and social mobility issues which hold so many people back. To be honest, it was almost written out of bitter angst at the sort of Beverley Hills born and raised music and film stars who are born into great things. I wanted the track to be reminiscent of an L.A.-based artist I’m really into at the moment, so a couple of the production cues are inspired by them.
State your musical skills.
I’m primarily a guitar player, but my most practiced skill these days is in music production, usually involving synths and programming. I play drums and keys too, but I always revert back to guitar!
Tell us how long it takes to complete a song from the start.
It really differs from song to song! The vast majority of ‘Born in California’ was completed in a day or so, with the extra little sprinkles coming over the course of a few months after that while I was working on other tracks.
Go into detail on how you develop your lyrics and melody.
Often for me, the songs that I develop into full productions come from a hook which for some reason is particularly pertinent to me at the time. From there I try to develop lyrics that tell a story or create a strong emotional response with more ambiguous phrases. I think the key to great lyrics is pretty much always in the little details and unique quirks.
State your five favourite genres of music.
Pop-punk was my first love. Blink-182 is the soundtrack to my adolescence. Electro pop is a genre I’m really into these days – I love how crazily stylized the productions get with some artists. I’m a huge fan of artists like Bruce Springsteen and The Killers, so rock is definitely up there. Emo was also a huge thing for me while I was at school – bands like Dashboard Confessional and Death Cab for Cutie helped me (and continue to help me) through a lot. Even though I’m not a massive fan of chart pop, I love Carly Rae Jepsen’s EMOTION and 1989 by Taylor Swift. When pop’s done that well, it’s really hard not to love it.
Describe the chemistry between you and your fans during a live performance.
I actually haven’t done any live performances yet for my solo material, but in the past, with bands, it’s always great when you feel the audience giving back to you through the set! I’ll be heading out to do some live shows from late 2018 to early 2019.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Sam Ray – it’s just my name!
Discuss your rehearsal.
I’ve actually been rehearsing this week for future shows – it’s early stages yet, but a lot of stuff is going through the Main Stage on my laptop, and there are some guitar and keys. It should be cool.
State your favorite musical instruments.
The guitar is always the go-to for me, but I love playing drums.
Discuss your personality in full detail.
I think some people have thought I’m super moody or edgy before they get to know me, but really I’m a dork who probably smiles too much.
Discuss your music career.
I’m currently working as a freelance producer and songwriter, in addition to my solo music career. I’ve recently finished a really exciting project working with an international artist with a couple of top 10 hits to his name, so I’m really looking forward to when those tracks are released!
List your musical work.
Modern Art (2016)
Next to You (2016)
You’ll Never Know (2017)
Underneath My Skin (2018)
Born in California (2018)
I’ve released quite a few singles up till now, and I’ve got a few more lined up for the next 6 months!
Share your memorable experiences with us.
I remember writing ‘Born in California’ sitting on my bedroom floor with a keyboard next to me in the middle of the night. I’d thought of the chorus lyric that day while out on a walk, and just really wanted to get something to audio – about an hour later I had most of the song sketched out. It’s always great when you get that almost instant gratification in songwriting – it doesn’t happen too often!