Have you ever felt so exuberant and delighted in life that you have wanted to sing about that feeling? Independent artist Zachary Ray certainly has. His latest release, a single called ‘Cloud 9’ in collaboration with artists Shreya Bhattacharya and Bernard Dafney, is a testament to this.
The song with its accompanying peppy video came out this month and has quickly racked up the views and positive reviews.
Having grown up in a musical family, Ray studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music where he focused on vocal performances and learning the art of the music business. “I got into music naturally with my family being musicians, so I grew up singing. Music is a huge part of my family. I was blessed to be able to take music and vocal lessons at a young age. In class nine, I started taking music even more seriously. In class eleven, I went to Berklee for a visit during one of their open houses. After I finished my degree at Berklee, I started teaching in a music program in Mumbai. There I met friends who asked me to move to Kolkata and I started teaching and training at the Calcutta School of Music. Now I’m in Mumbai working with Global Music Institute as their educational and industry rep. I’ve always loved working with other artists for the song writing and production process. Mumbai has so much talent and I’ve really enjoyed working and meeting so many singers and songwriters here,” declares Ray in an exclusive chat with Sunday Guardian Review.
Fresh off the success of his recent release ‘Danger’ which featured artist Siddharth Basrur, and a follow-up remixed version of Danger featuring Jeanne Merchant, Ray has had a busy year. When asked about the challenges of trying to make it in a competitive industry, he says, “I think it’s very easy to compare yourself to others, especially in the music industry. The world is filled with so many incredible musicians and singers but it helps me to remember there is never going to be another Zachary Ray. I’m unique. I have a story to tell and words to share that nobody else has. As artists we have to always remember that our voices and our stories are different and we have a perspective and journey that nobody else has.”
His latest number ‘Cloud 9’ is a pop song in English with vocals by three talented artists – Ray himself, Bhattacharya and Dafney. It has been produced by Brandon Bee and Nelda Studios, who is famous for being Justin Bieber’s producer.
“The song speaks about the feeling of not feeling enough, living through the hardest of days but being able to hold onto joy through those days and not just survive but thrive with the help of family and friends. One of my favourite lines in the songs is, ‘So I’ll hold up my head, no matter where I have been. So hold onto joy, it’s the best medicine’,” smiles Ray, speaking about the song.
With his immense love for creating music, Ray views music as a tool that can be used to bring transformation and healing for people around the world. For 12 years, he’s been using the gift of music to teach and train aspiring musicians. For 10 out of those 12 years he has lived in India, using his experience and education to teach at the Calcutta School of Music. He started a company in 2015 called Chaitown Creatives which is now called Chaitown Community.
Ray’s love of music and sharing his story through lyrics led him to start song writing and recording his original music. He has worked with friends and artists like Jody McBrayer (Avalon), Nathan Walters (PlusOne), Angie Miller (Zealyn), and Brandon Bee. He moved back to America for two years to write and record more original music, but soon returned to live with his family in Mumbai, India and began collaborating with multiple artists here and representing Global Music Institute. Dafney is an actor, singer, director and acting coach. He has performed at several events and is featured in the TV series called ‘The Great Indian Murder’. He owns an acting training studio called Dafney Productions in Mumbai. Bhattacharya is a close friend of Ray’s. She is a vocalist who graduated from the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music, and is known for her versatile singing techniques in Jazz, RnB, Gospel and also Western Classical music. Her choice of music today is to sing Jazz, RnB and Neo Soul. She currently lives in Mumbai and is an active performer there and throughout the country.
With three of these energetic artists coming together, it is no surprise that the upbeat and peppy single Cloud 9 is doing so well. You can catch it on Youtube, and all other music streaming platforms.
Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com.