Lauren Ray is is a singer and songwriter currently residing in London, UK. She has a Polish/South African father and English/Irish mother and they, along with her three siblings, have lived in South Africa, Poland, Austria and the UK. She has a new single ‘Drive’ which is out now on Tamlan Records and some UK summer festival appearances. We sat down to ask her about her songs, music contests and her favourite hot beverage. Enjoy…
- What was the first gig you attended? Where was it and how old were you?
I am certain I went to some amazing classical concerts in Vienna and Poland where I was living until I was 9 but my first experience (that I can remember) of a fully blown music concert was seeing Celine Dion with my mum in 1998 – I remember everyone was still riding on the recent Titanic movie release and I’m fairly certain she was singing on a boat at one point.
- Where are you planning to tour next?
My focus is in the UK for the time being, building up the support from my home before venturing out elsewhere. I really enjoyed my recent Caffé Nero tour and so I’ll definitely be hitting the road again in the summer.
- Who is in your current touring band and who plays what?
At the moment it’s me and my piano performing. I have on a few occasions brought in a drummer, guitar player and double bass player for a gig but they are not my regular band mates – although this is something I plan to make more permanent.
- Do you play any musical instruments?
I play the piano….but wish sometimes I could play the guitar. I’ll have to make time to learn one day.
- Could you tell me about your new single ‘Drive’
‘Drive’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album because I love the smooth, laid back feel to it. It is about having the courage to move forward with a relationship with full force despite not having the guarantee it will work out down the line. I think deciding to give your love and energy to someone else can be scary but is something we are all bold enough to do all the time and I think that’s amazing.
You can watch the official music video for ‘Drive’ below:
- What do you have planned in terms of future releases
My debut album comes out in the Summer which I’m excited for people to hear.
- Did you enjoy school? Regardless of whether you did or not, what song/s remind you of your schooldays?
I enjoyed aspects of school – I’m sure everyone has gone through periods of both loving and hating it but I am definitely glad to be finished. The songs that remind me of great times with my best friends at school are: All the Spice Girls songs, Belinda Carlisle – Heaven is a Place on Earth, All Saints – Never Ever and Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time. Also I was always being asked to sing Eva Cassidy’s version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ at school concerts, parents’ evenings and special ceremonies so every time I hear that I think of every formal occasion at school.
- As you will be performing on The Caffe Nero Stage at Cornbury Festival, do you have a favourite hot beverage? Or do you prefer cold coffee drinks like frappes? What is it and why?
I am a hot coffee beverage person and have a massive sweet tooth (but am trying not to have one) so I almost always order a Soy Milk Latte with a shot of Vanilla or Caramel flavour for good measure.
- Have you ever in your life/would you ever take part in a song or singing contest?
If you mean a televised singing contest like X Factor or The Voice then (never say never because online statements last forever) no I don’t imagine I will ever put myself forward for one. I don’t see those particular platforms as being the right avenues for my music or me as a person. I think the closest I’ve come to something like this was when I was 12 I auditioned and landed a place in the children’s choir that sang with Martine McCutcheon on the 1999 Children in Need single ‘Love Me’ which was a great experience.
- Which artist did you go to see perform with low expectations but ended up impressed? Where and when was this?
When I was in Nashville for the first time I wasn’t particularly organised despite only going for a few days and hadn’t booked any shows beforehand. However luckily there were a few tickets left for a show at the Ryman whilst I was were there which was to see Band Of Horses. I only knew one or two of their songs at the time so my expectation for the concert was lower than it should have been because they were incredible. The venue of course is legendary and I was blown away by their live show.
- Has a radio DJ anywhere (and any era) ever impressed you and if so why?
I have always loved listening to Zane Lowe talk about and play music. His insane level of enthusiasm and passion for music and the artists is infectious.
- Two tickets arrive for an artist you’ve always wanted to see live. Who is it and what song/s are you hoping to hear?
I picked two…
Beyoncé – All of her songs but I’d hope that Love on Top and Daddy Lessons were performed.
Foo Fighters – Two of my favourites are definitely Learn To Fly and Virginia Moon
- What have you learned NOT to do on stage?
I have learned (still learning) to find the balance between saying absolutely nothing in between songs and also then saying too much and talking rambling nonsense. I used to do the former which was awkward and then definitely went through a phase of the latter (also awkward) but I am pretty sure I’ve found a fairly respectable balance of in-between song ‘banter’.
- What is it like working with producer Neilson Hubbard?
I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for Neilson as a producer and as a creative person in general. He is extremely passionate about creating music that moves you and he had no agenda other than to help bring out the songs I brought to him. Despite working very quickly he has a very calming presence which was perfect for me as I also like to work quickly but I was nervous heading out to Nashville to fund this album on my own so I needed someone like Neilson who I had trust and confidence with to keep me chilled out and open to create.
Lauren Ray’s new single ‘Drive’ is available to purchase now. In addition, Lauren will be embarking on a series of live shows in the UK including The Caffé Nero Stage at Cornbury Music Festival, Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom on Friday 8th July 2016. For more information visit Lauren’s official website here: http://bit.ly/1VOmjHN
(All photos credited to Rebecca Miller. Many thanks to Lauren for taking part in the interview and to Steve Rose at Emms Publicity for helping with this article)