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INTERVIEW: RAI

How would you classify your music?

My music is nice mix of traditional and contemporary R&B.  Hidden in plain site are messages of love, acceptance, and empowerment.  It’s smooth in most places but soaring in others.  It’s a vibe.  There are parts of my new album “Loves on the Way” that you can just play and let it role.  That was really something that I wanted to have happen on my latest project.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

I usually refer to my main four but to make sure I answer your exact question, I can give you five: Donnie Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Maxwell, and Stevie Wonder.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

My hope is that fans understand that my goal is to take them on a ride.  A smooth ride with highs and lows.  A ride that allows them to escape, to feel empowered, to love, to cry and really to just be more loving.

How’s the music scene in your locale?

I live in Harlem and I love the music scene.  I’ve been watching and observing from the sidelines but I love acceptance of artist who stray away from what’s popular and just does them.  I love the infusion of R&B, and hip-hop and poetry.  Hip Hop of king but I love watching the scene still have a love and heart for good soul music.

What is your Creative process? 

I’m a true artist.  I’m emotional and sensitive about my shit.  One day I’m up and the next day I’m blah.  How I feel often times determine my approach to the creative process.  Overall I like to have a peaceful, open, non- judgmental space.  Most of my writing up to this point has been done alone because I simply am not in a rush.  I hear stories of people making it their mission to write and record a song from start to finish in a hour and a half and they think that’s how it suppose to be.  I’m like, well yeah if you see music as all product and no heart.  I believe that music has the power to change lives and even change the world so what’s the rush.  So I take strategic yet peaceful approach to creating what I think is a good song with a good vibe.

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

Hands down for me is Lalah Hathaway.  And it’s not only because her Dad just happens to be my all time favorite singer and idol but the beauty of her tone and her vibrato and her breathe control is nothing short of amazing.  Listening to her sing inspires me to slow down and really use your voice to tell the story ofeach song.  Her voice is just like butter.  For every song that you have heard of hers recorded, she’s somehow able to sound even better live.  Watching her sing a chord is just indescribable.

For me playing live allows me to touch the people.  It’s a real opportunity to actual the real message of each song that I write.  It’s like test time, you know.  You study, study, study and then you walk in the class to show everyone what you know.  As a person who sees music as not just fun and enjoyment but an opportunity of some sort to minister to someone’s heart, performing live gives me the energy to keep going confirming this is what I was meant to do with my life.

Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

The title track, “Love’s on the Way” is my personal favorite.  I love a well-written song that meets people where they are and allow them to think.  On the surface it’s a motivating song that says love is on the way.  Don’t give up.  It’s right around the corner.  But on a deeper level, it really is about worthiness and believing you are enough.  You are worthy of love.  You are good enough to be loved the way you want to be loved and if you believe that you are then the experience you will have will reflect that.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

I’m a much better songwriter with much more discipline.  I went quite a while without writing anything.  I was in a really weird space and I just couldn’t make myself do it.  I was just not interested at all.  All of a sudden it because a heavy lift to write a song but over the course of the last year I was able to work through all of the emotions and self-doubt and just became a more discipline writer.  I learned how to focus the emotion in an intentional and strategic way and not allowing it to dictate the entire process.  Finding a nice mix between left and right brain.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

Donnie Hathaway.

What’s next for you? 

Preparing for the release of my LP Love’s on the Way and doing all I can to touch people and make sure it’s a success.

Listen here

Socials 

https://www.instagram.com/raimusicworld/

www.therealrai.com

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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