Interview – Thurston Ray

Every now and then listeners stumble upon great musical acts when they least expect it. With the myriad of live stage musicians that spread their musical notes across cities around the world, there are always gems to remember. Earlier this summer, in that full performance spirit, Brooklyn’s The Way Station surprised guests with an unexpected treat. Thurston Ray was unleashed and immediately captured the ears of every audience member in that Dr. Who themed venue. With his obvious soul and animated dances on stage, listeners were drawn to his energy right as they entered the doors. Thurston was able to be tracked down afterwards and shared a bit on his musical place in the growing musical atmosphere.

One of his most notable tracks is I’m Here. “This was a nice collaboration with my musicians. It’s about being vulnerable and not being afraid to share that with a special person. We all want to be heard and seen.”

Within his genre, Mr. Ray was optimistic in its growth. “There are many thriving artists in Soul/R&B.There is a lot of great talent. Live shows are really a big focus for these artists and I am happy to be a part of that movement.” He honors the craft well in that regard.

His musical exploration continues to expand every day. “I want to stretch my creativity. I don’t wish to box myself into any [one] genre. My hope is that listeners will go on the journey with me as I carve out my own place in music.”

I’m Here is not his only success, he elaborated a bit on some others in his discography. “Musically, I really love this project ‘Embrace’ because I had to become more uncomfortable while making it. I had to not rely on a singular producer, but I had to take a bigger role and be open to change. So right now, this is my favorite project, but every project is a favorite in that moment, I guess.”

Performance ambitions are high as he plays more gigs. “I would like to perform in different venues and I would like to incorporate theatrical elements one day. I would like to have more instruments and voices in the mix as well. I see this going on a larger scale.” Only time will tell!

Thurston reflected on his most difficult experience to date. “My most difficult [show] would probably be my first time performing my original music in a full set with just me on keys. I usually have other musicians with me, and I am not the most confident on the keys. However, I stepped into that challenge, and I am glad that I did. Today I … have other talented musicians for this purpose, however, I could do some things myself as needed. It’s all about stepping into these uncomfortable places and growing from it.”

Beyond Soul and R&B, Mr. Ray gave his two cents on music as a whole in the chaotic 2017. “I am still in love with full length albums and I still buy CD’s. Right now, the music scene seems to be more about quick pieces of work, and I feel that full length albums are more interesting and require more from an artist. It is unfortunate that people don’t really purchase CD’s as they used to. I guess I am a bit old-school, Ha-ha. What I do love about the music world today, is that being an indie artist doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. I am grateful that I can share my music worldwide, and I don’t have to have a major label deal to do it.”

Music is just one of many mediums Thurston taps into. “I love theater and I pursue acting when I am able to. I would love to do more in theater… I love art in general. I like supporting other artists. This is very important to me. I check out plays, dance performances, visual art and other forms of creativity.”

A day off is rare but is used best even as he pushes ever forward. “A day of freedom where I can simply flow with the day; go for a run, spend time writing, connecting with friends or creating in some way [is ideal]. I am still writing. I am hoping to be back in the studio before the end of the year and [plan to] release something in 2018. This is my prayer! We are also ‘embracing’ the stage and trying to get into more cities to share this music.”

Jam on.

Give I’m Here a watch and a listen below:



Related articles