Updated: Jun 14
Interview with Ray Gifted Keys
Photo credit: @Skootyvisions
Ray Gifted Keys
So I met Ray in an Uber coming back from a Friendsgiving at an Airbnb. We instantly clicked and the conversation was eternal even tho my ride was short I could tell we had soo much to discuss about and music!
photo credit: @Skootyvisions
H.LALA: So Ray, where were you born and raised?
Ray : Detroit MI all day laughing…
H.LALA: Ray when is your birthday?
Ray: May 28 Gemini season coming up!
Yes, yes, Absolutely alright now!
H.LALA: When did you realize you had a creative ability?
actually I didn’t recognize it, my parents did , I started playing the piano at 2 years old, my dad started playing the piano and I went to him and just played everything I heard. So at that moment my parents knew there was something different about me!
H.LALA: Wow ok that’s awesome so how did you start getting into music and things that expounded on your creative abilities?
Ray: umm when I turned 13 I used to walk across this trail at the train tracks off Conant like a jail cell , haha you know where I’m talking about, well somebody gave me and my brother a chance his name is J Smooth, shout out to J Smooth. He created an opportunity for us, he used to give me studio time for 5 whole dollars for seven hours. That was studio time. He didn't care that we was down there banging on equipment. He thought it was neat so it took me about 2 or 3 summers. I just kept going back, getting better and better.
H.LALA: Ray, What was your first gig?
Ray: My first gig was at Belle Isle umm somebody had like a big trailer out there, you remember the ones you turn into a stage? Well my step dad had come and made me go up there and sing. I don't even know what the song was but the rest was history! I ended up having every single car come over there.
I got 12.00 for each bootleg CD, haha bootleg CDs ya'll.
H.LALA: What were your personal struggles as an artist?
Ray: Definitely trying to stay focused when you are trying to get into creativity your thinking about things it’s just something that’s consciously there. It’s like I’m here working on making money but thinking about other things for creativity over there, so that was kind of hard. It's been three years since I decided to take my career to the fullest and don’t give anything else time. Ever since then it’s been working for me.
H.LALA: Who are the people that you have worked with in the industry?
Ray: Ohhh umm shout out to Timberland, Young Cash, T-Pain, Brian & Q from Day 26, shout out to Brandy, that's my idol, her daughter Sy’Rai and her boyfriend are pretty cool. I worked with the Wicker twins, YouTube personalities and influencers oh man it’s so many haha. I also worked with Aaron Reid, who is L.A Reid's son , on a few projects for him. I worked with Tiffany Evans on a couple of songs, she didn’t take them but it’s cool I was just very honored. Dwayne Wayans who is the founder of my wife and kids music that comes on for his uncle Damon Wayans still more to come!
H.LALA: So we are both air signs. You are a Gemini and I am a libra. So we are cousins haha We have many admirers but few capture our heart. You had a heartbreak, tell me about it.
Ray: Oh yeah, it was kind of bitter sweet. I lost the first person that ℹ actually gave my heart to, her name was Shanice, she passed away from bone and breast cancer. It was a struggle. I can't lie but before her I had writer's block. I didn’t know what to write about, she was just a sweet soul and taught me about life. You don’t have too many people that have cancer at a young age like that and pass away from it. That experience drew me closer to God! It makes you wonder about life when people die soo young. I’m happy it was bitter sweet losing her, but it did evolve me into a better writer. The experience helped me become more relatable.
H.LALA: Wow I love how we should be more relatable. No one is really coming with originality in the industry. We have a lot of copycats.
After you had that loss of love, what projects did you pour yourself into?
Ray: I poured myself into an album and EP called Growth and desire a year ago. I was trying to enjoy every moment with her so I wasn’t pushing myself on projects.
H.LALA: In what way do you feel that the industry you're in helps the culture now?
Ray: Umm, it could help more for the culture. I don't think it’s helping enough. I feel like everybody is in their own lane, I feel like my music is gonna heal the world, I'm going in a different direction. R&B isn’t dead, I just feel it isn’t pulling the right message.
Through my music I want to bring that feeling back of love and unity. That our culture will learn how to forgive each other. Let’s get back to humanity with some sympathy. We are losing this in our culture.
H.LALA: What’s a few things that you feel that is hurting the culture today?
Ray: Oh black women! The way they are degraded in songs. It’s not enough queen songs I always say black women are the (BBQ) Black Beautiful Queens you know like we got the sauce. I like to acknowledge the women that look like me. Brown skin women don’t get enough love.
Music is. Avery powerful influence in our culture so I want my music to be universal.
H.LALA: Any future projects?
Ray: I’m still working on an interlude album. I got about eight projects done.
Getting a catalog with a few super producers right now, I can’t say their name but they are some heavy hitters in the industry.
H.LALA: Ray thank you soo much for talking with me about music and culture. What are some social media handles we can find you at?
Ray: Of course Instagram (RayGiftedKeys) and I have a www.linktree /RayGiftedKeys.com and that is where all my social media handles are. Everything will show up even my YouTube!
Photo credit: @Skootyvisions
H.LALA: Sounds great. Thank you soo much Ray I appreciate you. If you don't mind I would love to follow up with your growth and do a second interview.
Ray: Yes, most definitely!
This is Hollywood Lala and let’s get to uplifting the culture, peace!