The first time I saw Ray, I remember being in awe of her. Looking back, a group of us were sitting around a fire at a summer party, when suddenly, this radiant hippy rocker chick waltzed in and plopped down across the fire. She beamed at us all and began singing her heart out. With only her face and guitar visible from the warm flames of the fire, we sang along and soaked in her vibe. Since then, I am grateful to have seen her perform on several occasions.
You can spot Ray from a mile away, with her unique feisty style, glittery face, and occasionally some funky rose-tinted glasses balancing precariously on her nose. She often dons a towering, colourful backpack, all topped with an artfully painted eyeball. Before her shows, she will hand out eyeball pins and give everyone a heartfelt smile and hug.
Once on stage, Universe Featuring Ray’s presence is easily known, as she will entertain and amaze you with her powerful voice and vocal quirks. She occasionally employs vibrato, rolls her R’s and has a rasp that would make Janice Joplin proud. Then, a moment later, she sings sweetly – smooth as butter. Ray easily sings notes several octaves apart, and with a voice so powerful and fun, she outshines her influences, Karen O and St. Vincent. She has a lot of fun with her guitar, with rhythms that hit hard but still groove. When combined with her sweet melodies and animated presence, she is a rock ‘n roll inferno on stage. Ray is never limited by her venue. She dominates the stages of any bar, café, backyard party, or festival thrown her way. The stage (or wherever she performs) becomes part of her universe, adorning it with her props to accentuate what she’s about. If you see a mannequin head tree and free-standing craft marked with her name and social media channels, you know you’re in for a show that’s out of this world!
Video by Ryley Klima
Her songs are soulful and poetic – these glimmering ballads that discuss love, life, and mental health, all conveyed in whimsical and vocally interesting ways. Ray does not shy from serious topics with layered meaning. “The Best” will bring you back to the beautiful sensations of new love, and sheds perspective on the perplexing issues in long-term relationships. “Lucky #” is oddly unnerving in its melodic charm, as it bounces between her sweet sounds and thoughtful vocal fry. “Black Doggy” discusses the avoidance of unhealthy relationships, and has brought me to tears with its powerful sound and message.
The heart of this woman shines through her performance. Her songs paint images in your mind. With such a warm presence, it doesn’t matter where you are – whether out in a grassy meadow on a sunny day, or in a bar with lacklustre sound equipment, you will absolutely adore being sucked into the The Universe… Featuring Ray!
It’s easy to get consumed in Ray’s universe! Take the cosmic plunge and follow her on social media and kick her jams with the links below!
Facebook – www.facebook.com/theuniversefeaturingray/
Bandcamp – theuniversefeaturingray.bandcamp.com/
Website – www.theuniversefeaturingray.com