By Danielle Gorman
I don’t often come into contact with celebrities. In fact, I never do. But I have met someone who is on her way to becoming a musical sensation. And her name is Emily Ray. A confident, talented Brazilian singer who has moved to the U.S. to study business and build a musical empire, Emily Ray is starting to make a name for herself among local musicians. She has even started her own production company, Emily Ray Entertainment.
We here at Blithe & Bonny sat down with Emily Ray to ask her some questions about life as a musician starting out.
BB: When and why did you start playing and performing music?
E: I started singing when I was four years old and playing instruments when I was seven. I started playing the piano, then the guitar when I was eight and the flute when I was nine. I used to travel with my family to my cousins house and they would say “Hey Emily, if you sing for us, we’ll give you 10 bucks.” So I said “Sure!” I wanted money to buy candy. So that’s why I started singing when I was four years old and living in Brazil.
BB: About what time did you start actually performing in the capacity that you are now—with a band, doing recordings, that sort of thing?
E: I started [performing with a band] when I was 16. I was a back vocal to learn how to sing on stage. I was performing with famous artists in Brazil. I started performing with my actual band when I was 17. Then I moved to the U.S.
BB: Do you have any musicians that inspire you?
E: The musicians I most admire are Alicia Keys, Rhianna, and, of course, Beyoncé (she’s a Queen!), and Whitney Houston—she’s a Queen too. Houston has most inspired my musical life today.
BB: I have to ask—how do you handle mistakes during a performance?
E: That’s super funny. Sometimes I forget the lyrics! I just try to talk to the audience so they won’t notice. Other times I try to do riffs to cover the parts I missed. I’ll try to raise the energy in order to fix the mistakes and cover up that I’ve forgotten something!
BB: Do you ever find that normal obligations of work and school overwhelm you because you’re trying to do music at the same time? Does one take precedence over the other?
E: Yes. I try to be really positive, because when I’m positive I handle things better. I’m not perfect! I have friends in Rio and it’s hard because with the different time zones I can’t answer all of their calls. I’m either at work or singing. Luckily, my friends are amazing and try to support and understand me. I try my best to talk to them every time I’m free. I try to explain if I’m busy, and not only to them, but my family as well. My family is very supportive. They’re what make me strong every day.
BB: That’s wonderful. Are there any current projects in the works?
E: I just signed a contract for a two-month tour this July and August (I can’t tell you any details about it because it’s still in process). We have many shows coming up as well. And I’m producing my new album, which has a new single, with the help of my producer in North Carolina and my producer here.
BB: And will all the tracks be original songs?
E: Yes, all originals. No covers. For the shows, I’m going to mix my own songs with cover songs. I’ve got competitions in Brazil that I may be traveling to Rio for. I just can’t wait to tell everyone what’s happening in the next few months.
BB: Did you write the single by yourself or with a co-writer?
E: I wrote it myself but I did have my producer fix the English mistakes! Writing songs is one of my favorite hobbies.
BB: With all of the experience you’re garnering, does this mean your goal is to be an international music star?
E: Yes! Like Shakira or Ricky Martin, they’re not only famous in their country, but here as well. And that’s what I want to bring—my Brazilian culture to the U.S. and also the songs I write in English to Brazil. So it’s mixing my Brazilian culture with my American culture.
BB: What inspires your song-writing?
E: I’ve been writing since I was 8 years old, when I first got my guitar. Some people ask “Hey Emily, do you have a love story that you experienced? Is that why you wrote this song?” And there are some songs I write that are inspired by things that happened to me but I’m also inspired by other people’s stories.
BB: Has your music evolved?
E: Yes. When I first started writing and singing, my style was Pop and MPB. And a bit of Pop Rock too. As I started growing up I changed my style to R&B—like Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, and Mariah Carey. Really, though, I’ll sing anything. I like most genres. Today, for example, I sing lots of American music.
BB: How can fans gain access to your music? Do you have a website or CD?
E: I’m getting my CD ready right now. But basically if you go onto YouTube, and you type Emily Ray Oficial (the Brazilian spelling) you can find my music. Soundcloud has my music too; I have many recordings there. My website is emilyrayoficial.com which has updates on my musical career, events, pictures, videos, and an online store. You’ll also find my biography there. My album is coming out soon, in English and Portuguese and I’m so excited.
BB: What advice would you give to beginners which are nervous?
E: If you love music, or if you love singing, and you think you have great potential to reach success, then go for it! Don’t hesitate. If you’re nervous, just follow your heart. If you know you love music and can’t imagine doing anything but singing on stage, then don’t think twice. You have to have passion for any career you chose to follow, and if it’s music—which is competitive—sure, you’re still beginning, but don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not capable or able to reach your goals. Or to do the things you love. Let yourself do it. And that means working hard and doing your best to prove to other people and yourself that YES, you’re able to do the things you love.
Check Emily out on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Facebook.