Prepare to be taken to church this April when Sugaray Rayford comes to Gateway City Arts on 4/13 for a concert sure to shake your bones. Sugaray could start a fire with his voice and performs with the same force. We are in the third month of the year and he has already been nominated for two awards in 2019. Though Sugaray now resides in LA, he got his start at age 7 in Texas. It is clear when you listen to his songs or watch live or recorded performances that he is a well-seasoned and passionate artist that has been making music most of his life. Recently, Sugaray took some time to chat with us before he joins us next month.
GCA: It's only March and it seems that this has already been a big year for you, can you start by chatting with us a bit about this year so far- we know you were nominated for two Blues Music Awards.
SR: It’s been a great year so far, first tour in UK, Mahindra Blues Festival in Mumbai and a week in Bern Switzerland at Bern Jazz Fest. Now a month long tour across our beautiful country! I feel blessed and honored and a bit tired all rolled into one.
GCA: When listening to you and reading about you I have seen (and noticed) a lot of comparisons to Otis Redding, James Brown, and Muddy Waters; are there specific artists that came before you that you feel really influenced your art and your sound?
SR: Not really, but for some reason people feel that they must quantify what they see and hear in caparison. Definitely not bad people to be associated with. Honored to be compared to these great artists.
GCA: Congratulations on the recent album release, I've been listening to 'The Revelator' all morning. The album Somebody Save Me was just released at the beginning of this month. Can you talk to us a bit about the themes explored in this album?
SR: Eric Corne did a great job in writing this project! I told him I wanted to talk about the state of things in our country , but always from a position of love and respect . This album is me speaking on the duality of the human spirit.
GCA: I did read that "darkness and light" are some of the main themes here, what do you mean? How do these concepts show up in the album?
SR: Good/Bad, Light/dark. Human nature the way it is and has always been.
GCA: How is this album different from your previous works?
SR: Just the evolution of my career and life. My music changes as I live and experience. It forever evolving.
GCA: Is there a song off of Somebody Save Me that you feel you identify with most at this point in your life?
SR: 'Time To Get Moving' and 'The Revelator'
GCA: We are looking forward to having you here in Holyoke, have you performed in Western Massachusetts before?
SR: I am looking forward to playing in Holyoke and meeting new people in new venues. Once or twice.
GCA: In addition to this year's nominations, you have been nominated and have won a number of other awards in the past. What does success mean to you?
SR: Success is a day to day adventure, different day different success. Mainly I fell successful when people would take the time and their hard earned money to come out and hear what I have to offer. Connecting with the audience, whether there is 1 or 10,000 people, is my goal every show . When I can see them forgetting their troubles for a little while and leave with a smile on their face, that is success!
GCA: How has the church and gospel music influenced your music? Do you feel music can be a religious experience in itself?
SR: It was the foundation of my life growing up, that will always be a part of me. Absolutely music is a spiritual experience.
GCA: If you could give advice to aspiring Blues or Soul musicians, what would it be?
SR: Follow your heart and vision and be dogged about it!
GCA: What's next for you?
SR: I am just living life and trying to enjoy everything that comes my way the good the bad the ugly and the beautiful.
Music is always what is next, touring, writing, recording and performing.
Thank you for taking the time to even want to talk to me and I look forward to partying with Holyoke on April 13th!
Sugaray Rayford performs at Gateway City arts on Saturday, April 13th. The show starts at 8PM and the doors are at 7PM. Tickets are on sale now.
If you would like to learn more about Sugaray Rayford click here.
If you are interested in seeing Sugaray Rayford live at Gateway City Arts, click here to learn more and purchase tickets.