Ray Goren Merges Old and New

  • 06/15/2018
  • Melina Paris

By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

It has been five years since the now 18-year-old Ray Goren played at the Long Beach Bayou Festival. He will be back this year, now with more life experiences. He’s bringing the blues he grew up on to close the festival on June 24.

Bets are Ray, a prodigy, will bring a well-seasoned yet, fresh performance along with backup from his longtime blues band. Ray is full of energy as is requisite for his age. He displays a mission when it comes to his music, where he has been busy innovating his own projects in songwriting and playing his own material.

“(It) isn’t as much blues but it’s more singer-songwriter stuff and kind of a hip-hop thing,” Ray said.

He said it’s about growing as an artist and maturing as a person. Recently, he has applied enough gear to his act to make a one-man band. He has percussion and keys and of course, his guitar. He incorporates a driving blend of rock and a  hip-hop beat, along with his voice.

“I love it all,” Ray said. “My current solo project is like that but it doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun and play the blues. It’s where I came from so, I don’t want to forget about it.”

On his latest album, Me, Ray said he wrote many of the songs in “one spurt.”

“It’s the most personal album I have out,” he said. “All the songs are based on true events.”

He said, it has it all, some sad numbers and some comical ones and some love songs. Ray also wrote some songs with his mentor, Leon Russell, who died November 2016.

“He taught me how to write music and lyrics,” Ray said. “And, on this album, we worked on one of the songs together. All my songwriting to this day, even though he’s no longer with us, is inspired by the things he showed me and taught me coming up as a songwriter.”

The song they collaborated on is, Fallen Angel “(Slash)” Puzzles. Ray said he flip-flops on the name all the time. One of those comical songs he mentioned is called, Have a Nice Day.

Ray has previously made an intriguing comment about some of his goals in which he said, he wants to see himself innovating a new sound in pop music.

He said he still stands behind that comment.

“[It’s] a combination of singer-songwriter and urban style music and bridging the two together with some electric guitar behind it,” Ray said. “I really find that even now, stuff that is unreleased, I hold in a lot…. I’m going to be releasing some of that kind of sound soon. It’s also very lyrically driven. It’s my little passions and I found a way to blend them all together.”

Ray has a summer tour across the United States. He will play all of his own new music and write and release singles as he tours behind them. But for now, at the Bayou Fest, Ray will be on stage with his old blues band.

“(I’ll be) with my mentors who really brought me up,” he said. “We’re going to have a great time playing some blues.”

Time: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 23, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 24

Cost: $25 to $35

Details: longbeachbayou.com; www.raygoren.com

Venue: Queen Mary Events Park, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach


Check out another Bayou performer:


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Melina Paris

Melina Paris is a Southern California-based writer, who blends her passion for writing and connecting people to their local community into pieces centered music, cultural events, the arts, and most recently, the intersection of art and social justice.