Ray Goren is a singer and multi-instrumentalist. Now fifteen, Goren was initially self-taught and grew up listening to jazz and blues. He started playing piano at age three and a few years later he started to play the guitar and write his own music. “Songs For You” is a five-song EP Ray recorded for Jay Vee Records, produced by Grammy Award-winning artist Steve Jordan and set for digital release on August 21, 2015. This is Ray Goren’s introduction to the world.
Ray is the first solo artist to be signed to Jay Vee Records. He’s already played with legendary artists such as Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Robby Krieger, Leon Russell, Deacon Jones and the late B.B. King, but his journey began when he was only five. Ray says, “I started messing with piano when I was three but got really serious about it at the age of five when I was listening to Theolonius Monk and Oscar Peterson; Coltrane as well as Miles Davis and all those guys. My father got me a boombox and some jazz cds and I had a little keyboard at home and would try to play like those guys.”
When Ray was seven, his family moved to California from NYC where he was born and he got into the guitar. “I had been looking online for jazz musician J.J. Johnson, who was an incredible trombone player, and instead of typing J.J., I typed B.B. by accident. The first thing that came up was B.B. King and I don’t know why I clicked on it. I saw B.B. King, Albert Collins, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton. I watched a video of them playing ‘Sweet Little Angel’ and I was moved by the energy, their charisma and something really deep and soulful appealed to me. It got to my heart.”
In reflecting on Ray Goren, Jordan says, “Ray is not just a musician, he’s a great singer who writes great songs. That’s why we signed him. I’ve worked with a ton of great and legendary musicians in my career and Ray is one of the most gifted artists I’ve ever witnessed. The fact that he is so good, at this age, just blows my mind.” Steve Jordan is a highly-respected Grammy and Emmy Award-winning musician, producer and writer who has worked with Keith Richards, Beyonce, The Verbs, John Mayer, Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys, The Pretenders, Neil Young and Kelly Clarkson.
Continues Jordan, “I vividly remember meeting Ray for the first time when he was 12 and I could see in his eyes how much he loved music. I could see the passion and also thought it was a little weird that he was so young and knew who I was. So we’ve been working over the last couple of years. He has a very strong desire to make soulful music. He can play blues and R&B and is pretty remarkable as a young songwriter who wants to get the best out of a song. He’s trying to infuse a message in his music. When he writes about love it’s funny because you wonder how old are you to know about that? Between his guitar playing, piano playing, songwriting and singing, He’s a special talent.”
There are five songs on the EP, including four originals and one cover. The lead single “Those Days” is a bouncing piano-driven tune with influences of gospel, funk and 60s soul. The song is about how Ray sees the world today. He’s opening a conversation about current events, the struggle between peace and strife.” Ray plays all the instruments except drums, which were played by Steve Jordan and the two of them sing backing vocals. “It’s a great way to introduce Ray to the world,” says Jordan.
“Light My Fire” is a slow, simmering blues take on The Doors classic with warm tones and smoldering Clapton-esque guitar. “It’s just groovy, the way it pops, the melody; but I wouldn’t have picked it unless I knew I could go deeper and make it my own.”
“Down And Out,” is a haunting piano ballad of sadness and longing with hints of Elton John and Paul McCartney. Says Ray, “The chords and the melody gave me a very sad vibe.” Jordan adds, “That’s one of the best songs he’s written. We had just finished recording six songs and he said he had a new one that he had just written. So he played it and it floored me. I thought ‘We have to cut this right now!’ So we recorded it, piano and drums; then he put the bass on and that was it. David Rossi put on strings and it was fantastic. “
“Song For Me” is a swaggering funk number with a gospel-led chorus, featuring the stellar bass playing of Will Lee, (along with his vocal expertise.) “I had written this on the bass after I had the melody and the song really came together.” The last track “It’s On You” is a piano ballad with smooth R&B flavor and is one of the first songs Ray ever wrote. “I locked myself in my room writing and I was not going to leave the room until I had written something and I came out with this.”
Ray Goren will make his debut on Jay Vee Records with the release of the EP, “Songs For You”. Jay Vee Records is a boutique record company founded by Steve Jordan and Meegan Voss to fully focus the artists and to support their music. The lead single off the EP, “Those Days,” comes out August 21, 2015.