“I’m taking the bull by the horns and doing it my way…callin’ the shots… This stuff is real, it’s raw, and it’s 100 percent Ray…. I‘ve lived out on a limb before…might as well take it a couple steps further!”– Ray Scott
Warner Bros. Records released Ray Scott’s debut album in November 2005 to an overwhelming enthusiastic reception. Something new and fresh was on the horizon. My Kind of Music became the #1 selling country album on Billboard’s “Heatseeker’s” chart that week and the #1 selling album on CMT’s (Country Music Television) sales chart. The album landed on the “Top 10 Albums of 2005” lists in Billboard, Dallas Morning News and the Miami Herald to name a few.
A year later, Warner Bros. Records stalled and Ray entered a waiting area that would seemingly delay the release of his sophomore album indefinitely….until now. Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Ray puts the last few years into perspective…
“After a couple of frustrating years I’m finally free, and the taste of freedom is sweet! The time has never been better in the music biz to do something different.”
Direct connection to the fans is what catapulted the release of independent albums Crazy Like Me, and Ray’s latest, soon-to-be released project, Rayality. The last few years on the road playing his brand of outlaw country has paid off and the listeners have responded. With limited air play on the first album, My Kind of Music still sold nearly 100,000 units proving that country music fans wanted more of what he had to offer.
It’s his attitude. He does it his way. He says it his way. He knows where country music’s been and he knows that he’s taking it someplace new. His way is the way of the steel guitar. It’s recitation and gospel, with a little blues and rock thrown in for seasoning. But when it simmers to a boil and he serves it up in that deep Carolina drawl, you can’t call it anything but country music.
It’s Ray’s grasp of plainspoken poetry, unique turns-of-phrase and emotional directness, not to mention wit that appeals to people – the same qualities that turned the songs of Kristofferson, Jennings and Nelson into a movement.
“Those guys defined an era of country music,” he says. “They left a permanent impression on me that I wear like a badge of honor. I loved the realness of their music. That stuff will always be great, always stand up to time. Those old boys meant what they were saying. They lived it.”
By the time he was 19, he’d formed his first band in Raleigh, North Carolina. That band promptly fell apart because, among other reasons, none of the members had much music business savvy. Realizing he needed to learn a few things if he wanted a career instead of a hobby, Scott moved to Atlanta and got an Associate’s degree from the Music Business Institute.
“A buddy and I were on our way back to Raleigh from a road trip,” he explains. “I was driving through Nashville and I looked out over the skyline and got this really strange feeling. It was like a moment of clarity, telling me this was where I needed to be. Something seemed to say, ‘No need thinking anymore about it, your mind is made up.’ Within another six months, I was here…”
It was Nashville’s strong songwriting community where he dug his heels in and began writing in earnest. He studied the craft of songwriting, trying to learn everything he could about what makes a great song great. People began to pay attention to Ray’s songwriting and has garnered cuts from Randy Travis (“Pray for the Fish”), Clay Walker (“A Few Questions”) and most recently with Trace Adkins for an upcoming project.
“Doing it this way is gonna be challenging, but I’ve been gambling in Nashville for 13 years,” Ray says. “Why the hell not bet on myself?! Bottom line is…somebody’s gotta keep real country music alive….there ain’t as many of us around as there used to be…”