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Alison Ray Alison Ray

'A New Ray of Musical Hope'

Born in Memphis, Alison Ray was raised by her Mom and had a very rough childhood. By her teens, an abusive father was out of the picture and her family moved around quite a bit. “I’ve always been something of a Gypsy and very rebellious, but I was there for my Mom and my 2 Sisters”, Alison says. “Musical talent abounded in my family. Everybody sings and my Sisters are great dancers. But with our rough financial circumstances, music and writing was the escape for me. I’ve always felt like people have misunderstood me somehow and only seen the outside. No one saw the pain and shame I carried because I hid it well. I’m still very vulnerable but I’m also strong and I am a survivor. Through my music I got a chance to address a lot of what I had buried for a long time. I’m still on the roller coaster but I feel like I’m getting closer to dealing with things that have haunted me in the past.”

The Rock-Pop singer/songwriter Alison Ray turns triumphant, furious, heartbroken and hopeful on her Chime Entertainment debut EP. The powerful collection of self-penned songs demonstrates a wide range of emotions and shows off a very distinctive, strong and revealing radio voice. Working with Writer/Producer and Chime President Marc Tanner, Ray delved deep into her experiences to craft this collection of songs. There is fantasy and passion in the lead single, “Does the D.J. Know?” “When I go into the studio, I create a world where I can explore and try many different approaches to each vocal and capture the mood of each song. It’s almost like acting and becoming a character.”

Alison has an appreciation of all types of music and admires many artists including Alanis, Madonna, U2, Gwen Stafani and Rob Thomas. Recently Alison’s song, “The Dance of Life” is the featured song of Imagining Ourselves Project sponsored by the International Museum of Women. The Web site, Book, T.V. campaign deals with young Women who have overcome obstacles and are achieving amazing things. “It’s an honor for me to be a part of it”, Alison says.

Chatting recently with Alison, and noting that it had been stated in her press that she'd "... always been something of a Gypsy and very rebellious," I first wondered what the most 'gypsyish' thing she had ever done was? "When I was 20 I packed a suitcase, a few boxes of nick knacks and pictures, loaded my Dodge Colt, and drove from Tennessee to Hollywood not knowing a soul. I had a dream and 500 dollars. I checked into a seedy Hollywood motel, but I was here and had escaped my “little life” to the the Big City. It gave me a rush of excitement."

And just where does one find such an inner musical strength to showcase the pain and suffering that befell you through musical interludes? Lyrically unearthing once hidden, unspoken moments from your past for all must have been tough at the beginning, surely? "Whatever I was feeling, no matter how dark, painful or positive realizations, my music and lyrics are always the place to get them out, a lot of the time, it is the only place. Anger, frustration, happiness, anything, I finally have a place to put it down and express myself completely. I just hope lots of people can relate ant I can inspire them."

And are there still childhood memories too painful to even consider putting into songs, perhaps? "I still have growing to do and I have a lot of past stuff I haven’t written about. But I’m sure someday I will. I definitely don’t want all my songs or my life to be about the past and painful things that happened. Hey I don’t want people to get the wrong impression of me, that I’m a dark broody person all the time, I like to have as much fun as anyone else, I can be a fun girl too!"

Right on! So, for the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your debut EP, how would you yourself describe your sound? "It’s an original sound, which I’m proud of but if I had to describe it, I’d say its guitar driven, rock/pop and the louder you play it, the better it sounds. My lyrics are very important to me; I work very hard on them."

Your EP being self-titled either means you ran out of time, you couldn't be bothered, or you were out voted at the final moment by the company executives! So, which one was it for you?! "My physical album is titled, “Downside Up,” but the I-tunes and digital EP was just self titled to make it easier."

If there was one track on this EP that truly encapsulated Alison Ray at her musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "I think all of the songs are a part of me so it’s hard to pick one, but for the sake of the interview – “Does The D.J. Know.” It’s about being vulnerable, it’s about love, the power of radio, experiencing your anger and rocking out. What more could you want from one song!"

Please tell us more about your involvement with the Imagining Ourselves Project "They came to Chime looking for a woman artist who may want to be a part of the project, when I heard what they were about, committed to empowering women worldwide, I wanted to be a part of it. I wrote a song called “The Dance of Life,” especially for the project which means a lot to me. Now I know millions of women and I, are a part of such a powerful thing."

When can we expect to see your aforementioned debut full-length album hitting the shelves? "I just found out, it will be released on Dec. 5, 2006. It’s called “Downside Up,” which is kinda like my life. I want all your readers to go and buy it. And the video will also be available soon."

If you could cover any '80s (possibly cheesy!) pop song, which one would it be ... and why?! "Oh, that’s easy. “Rebel Rebel,” by David Bowie. I really relate to that song!"

Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I like Penguins because they’re wobbly, they’re cute, and most importantly cuddly; and I like little men in tuxedos!"

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Alison's new CD, just answer this easy question: For her debut album, Ray worked with Grammy® and Oscar®-nominated producer, writer and Chime president Marc Tanner. Please name all his Grammy®-nominated work with regard to music albums!

Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before November 1st with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: ALISON RAY SIGNED CDs' to:

“Does The DJ Know?” Video

iTunes buy link

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