interview / nicole camack — portrait / joshua galloway
Ray Ellis, in your own words, who are you, and what do you do? I am a recording artist, visual producer, and a silhouette for the people. I’m from the Motor City – Detroit.
Biggest fear you have overcome? Pursuing my music as a career. I had to literally drop everything, and put all of my energy on focusing on my craft.
How do you get in your element? Raw energy and vibes. I don’t have a super complex way of getting into “my zone”. I should probably work on that. I’m going to light some candles and unlace my shoes before I record, see if that does anything.
What societal stereotype do you most aspire to defy? Rap. Not Hip-Hop, but the art of rhyming. When people think of rap they instantly put you in a box. It’s becoming extremely trendy. I feel like the culture is slowly coming to a place where artists are breaking more barriers with their music. We’re coming back to presenting rap as an art form and not just lyrics in a song.
Who has had the most influence on the creative you are? I would say 2007 Lupe Fiasco. I remember like it was yesterday when he dropped “The Cool”. That album spoke to me. At the time it was so fresh, real, and different. To this day it reminds me to stay true to my sound and not what’s trending.
What makes you any different? I wasn’t raised on Hip-Hop music. I fell in love with French House and alternative rock before I began to study Hip-Hop. And most importantly, I’m not afraid to push barriers with my craft.
The soundtrack of your life of artists who have influenced you would be: Gorillaz, Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell, Bonobo, and Kanye.
Outside of music, where do you find inspiration? Going to work, clocking in, and hating every second of it. It’s just a huge reminder to work harder on what’s really important: my music.
str8recline.com / @Ray.Elz
This interview was conducted fall 2014.