Cheney 'CRAY' Ray has been on an absolute tear this summer since releasing her single 'idontwannatalkaboutlove' last month. In her follow-up EP 'Seasons Change and So Do I' CRAY gets vulnerable with her audience and sings about the difficulties of balancing love and a rapidly accelerating career.
We were fortunate enough to get some time with CRAY to speak about this EP and her forthcoming live show:
MM: CRAY! Thanks for joining us. You’ve been crushing it and moving a million miles a minute - what’s been going on in your world since the release of ‘Idon’twannatalkaboutlove’?
CRAY: EVERYTHING. haha. It's been really nonstop, working on the EP and putting together my first live show has been A LOT but also extremely rewarding and exciting!!!!
Woah - live show, awesome! Can give us any insight to that? What does it look and feel like?
Its gonna be basically my brain put on stage. We have designed lighting, drum kits, my guitar strap, mic stand it’s all customized to me and my EP. Some moments will be soft and some moments will be crazy energy. I’ll be playing piano and guitar.
We’re just a few days into the release of your new Seasons Change and So Do I EP. What most excites you about this release, and what do you want your listeners to walk away with?
I've been working on the EP since last year, half of the songs I wrote last year so I'm really excited to just let it into the world and let go of it myself. I want listeners to walk away with something authentic. This EP really has its heart on its sleeve, it's sad and real and I never want to write anything that isn't something personal to me. Everyone goes through heartbreak, anger and sadness, I want everyone to know they are not alone, and if I can get through it so can they.
The subject matter of the album feels very self-empowering and vulnerable, can you talk about your inspiration for the record?
Half the EP I wrote when I was in a relationship, and the other half I wrote after it ended. It's a journey of all the emotions heartbreak brings, it's really honest, coming straight from my experiences and emotions. I feel like it's a story of falling out of love but back into love with myself in the end. As the album progresses with each song, so does its energy, sad to powerful to angry to hopeful, I tried to really make it a story.
Now that you’ve completed this story, what’s next? What are you focusing on and investing your time in outside of your work and the live show?
Writing more, practicing more, getting this live show even better. I’m constantly creating. I’m playing some festivals where I’m going to be singing some songs. Focusing on just growing and becoming better.
You’re known not only as an artist but also as a gamer and embracer + proponent of nerd culture; what was your first meaningful experience with games and internet culture? What makes it special to you?
My first meaningful experience was probably getting my Gamecube for Christmas. I have a photo of it actually. I feel like as a child I struggled with learning disabilities and felt a little out of place but gaming always was something so familiar and comforting. I played Super Mario Sunshine probably 100 times over and it really got me through a lonely time of childhood.
What is your favorite game of all-time?
THATS a very hard question. I cant really name one but if I have to I'd say the Fallout Series... specifically Fallout 3 or New Vegas.
What games/pieces of media have your attention recently? Do you skew towards any specific genres or moods?
I am a huge horror buff so I LOVE playing horror games. I just currently played through the Blair Witch game that just came out and I'm also playing Links Awakening on Switch and really enjoying it. I love every genre every style of game but my bread and butter is RPG'S.
Horror is a wiiiiide-ranging genre what are your top 5 horror flicks?
You are a busy human. Do you have any habits or methods that help you stay focused and deliver amidst life’s curveballs?
MEDITATION, therapy and just cleansing my energy. I sage a lot, write a lot, and try to always be conscious of how I'm feeling / my needs. Just being vocal to myself at where I am at and how I am feeling is so important.
What was the first moment or experience in your life that you decided "fuck yes, I’m going all in on music?"
I love talking about this!!!! I was TINY and put out maybe 3 songs and the queen Anna Lunoe hit me up to be support on her tour. I remember the day I called my mom and screamed for 2 hours. Anna is such a powerful inspiring woman to me, so having her fuck with my shit and want to support me meant the world. It made me super confident that I could do this and make it work because she saw it in me.
If you had a magic wand, what is one thing that you would you change about the music industry?
I'd want all women in music to be paid and treated the same as men.