Ray Lavender – Ready For His Close-Up

Ray Lavender emerged on the scene with a blast! Back then I thought without a doubt he’d be one of the kings of R & B for years to come. He had the song writing ability of a Ne-yo, the vocal talents of a R. Kelly, the lovable persona of a Trey Songz–and I’m pretty sure the ladies found him decently attractive. Still he had a swag all his own and when he released the hit, “Girl Gotta Girlfriend,” he had a catchy tune to dominate radio with. However, industry politics sidelined him, starting with a ban of his video, followed by disagreements with the label. It’s been a few years since I last met up with Ray, but he’s back with another banger.  Win, lose or draw, he’s going to do it on his terms.
If you think you recognize the face from the silver screen, then yes, that is the guy from that reality show… Yep, the one with that girl. Those like myself who tune out reality television may recognize Lavender from commercials for The Ultimate Merger, a bachelor type reality show, which helped find love interests for Omarosa. While Lavender was taking a step back from music, he was “winning the heart” of the former Apprentice contestant. Lavender made it to the final episode and won her over, before a technicality disqualified him.  The exposure the show provided was  .  “What that reality show did for me was familiarize me with the public, cause a lot of them didn’t know who I was,” Lavender acknowledges.  “It was perfect for where I was in my career cause had I been all over, it wouldn’t have worked out.”
Lavender admits that he too doesn’t watch reality television, because of a lack of time above all reasons.  So when the opportunity to appear on The Ultimate Merger was originally put before him by his publicist he initially rejected it. After he found out it was a show about love, he really, really wasn’t interested. It took a call from The Donald himself to convince him to participate. “Donald Trump put in a call himself, he was like, ‘listen Ray, I like you. It would be great if you could join us on this show, and it would be a great look for you. You tell me what you want and I’ll tell you what we need’,” Lavender explains.
As he explained, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to be on reality television.  Originally signed to Akon’s label, Konvict, Lavender was supposed to drop his debut album, XRayted in 2008. However the label and Lavender couldn’t see eye to eye on more than a few things, including the title of the album. “First of all a lot of the music that was on that album, I wasn’t responsible for,” Lavender explains.  “Xrayted was not a title that I was happy with. If I lose, I want it to be because I lost, not because anyone else thinks Ray Lavender should do it this way or that way.”
Lavender assured me that him and Akon have no ill will towards each other and they are still close, having grown up around each other and now having children who go to the same events together.  Still, he is satisfied with his decision to part from the label because “you only get to be Best New Artist once.”
Ray, who got his start as a songwriter, and his first big look on Gerald Levert’s “Knock Knock.”  He hopes to have a similar career to the legend by being able to release records that have a wide variety for years to come, in hopes of showing off his range and diversity lyrically and vocally for years to come. Recently signed to his new label, — he has that opportunity.  The independent label is owned by –, Lavender’s manager while he was signed to Konvict.
His first single, a club ready fire starter called “Tequila” is a step in the right direction. While the track is a bit more uptempo than we’ve gotten from Lavender in the past, its still not a  complete shock to fans who’ve gotten to see the many sides of his music on his previous singles and his mixtape work.  “I just got some real party music now. We fist pump pumping. Its not totally different but our bpms [beats per minute] went up a little bit.”
Lavender’s yet to be titled debut album doesn’t have a release date yet, but he hopes to release it sometime this Fall. In the meantime, releasing singles that he is happy about and fully represent him as an artist is the priority. Keep your ears open for more hits coming soon.

Ray Lavender emerged on the scene with a blast! Back in 2008 when I first met with him, I thought without a doubt he’d be one of the kings of R & B for years to come. He had the song writing ability of a Ne-yo, the vocal talents of a R. Kelly, the lovable persona of a Trey Songz–and I’m pretty sure the ladies found him decently attractive. Still, he had a swag all his own and when he released the hit, “Girl Gotta Girlfriend,” he had a catchy tune to dominate radio as well. However, industry politics sidelined him, starting with a ban of his video, followed by disagreements with his label. It had been a few years since I had last talked with Ray, but now he’s back with another banger.  Win, lose or draw, he’s going to do it on his terms.  Get focused, because Ray Lavender is ready for his close-up.

If you think you recognize the face from the silver screen, then yes, that is the guy from that reality show… Yep, the one with that girl…

Those like myself who tune out reality television may recognize Lavender from commercials for The Ultimate Merger, a Bachelor-type reality show, presented by Donald J. Trump, which helped find love interests for Omarosa. While Lavender was taking a step back from music, he was “winning the heart” of the former Apprentice contestant. Lavender made it to the final episode and did win her over, before a technicality disqualified him.  The exposure the show provided was undeniable.  “What that reality show did for me was familiarize me with the public, cause a lot of them didn’t know who I was,” Lavender acknowledges.  “It was perfect for where I was in my career cause had I been all over, it wouldn’t have worked out.”

Lavender admits that he too doesn’t watch reality television, because of a lack of time above all reasons.  So when the opportunity to appear on The Ultimate Merger was originally put before him by his publicist he initially rejected it. After he found out it was a show about love, he really, really wasn’t interested. It took a call from The Donald himself to convince him to participate. “Donald Trump put in a call himself,” Ray recalls.  “He was like, ‘listen Ray, I like you. It would be great if you could join us on this show, and it would be a great look for you. You tell me what you want and I’ll tell you what we need.'”
As Lavender explained, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to be on reality television.  Originally signed to Akon’s label, Konvict Musik, Lavender was scheduled to drop his debut album, XRayted in 2008. However the label execs and Lavender couldn’t see eye-to-eye on more than a few things, including the title of the album. “First of all a lot of the music that was on that album, I wasn’t responsible for,” Lavender explains.  “Xrayted was not a title that I was happy with. If I lose, I want it to be because I lost, not because anyone else thinks Ray Lavender should do it this way or that way.”
Lavender assured me that him and Akon have no ill will towards each other and that they are still close, having grown up around each other and now having children who go to the same events together.  Still, he is satisfied with his decision to part from the label and start anew because “you only get to be Best New Artist once.”
Ray got his start as a songwriter, and his first big look on Gerald Levert’s “Knock, Knock, Knock,” off his Stroke of Genius album.  Ray hopes to have a career similar to that of the legend by being able to release records that have a wide variety, in hopes of showing off his diversity lyrically and vocally for years to come. Recently signed to his new label, Global Artist Group he has that opportunity.  The independent label is owned by Lavender’s former manager from the Konvict Musik days.
His first single, a club ready fire starter called “Tequila” is a step in the right direction.  The track features labelmate Jordan Humphrey.  While the track is a bit more uptempo than we’ve gotten from Lavender in the past, its still not a  complete shock to fans who’ve gotten to see the many sides of his music on his previous singles and his mixtape work.  “I just got some real party music now. We fist pump pumping. Its not totally different but our bpms [beats per minute] went up a little bit.”
Lavender’s yet to be titled debut album doesn’t have a release date yet, but he hopes to release it sometime this Fall. In the meantime, releasing singles that he is happy about and fully represent him as an artist is Lavender’s priority. Keep your ears open for more hits coming soon.

 

Also Check Out:
Characteristics Of A Gentleman: Respect, Etiquette and Ambition

Kevin Benoit

Kevin Benoit graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science in Legal Studies. Empowering the urban community has been a goal for Kevin Benoit for the past 8 years. As a freshman in college, in May of 2004, Benoit created Parlé Magazine, an urban entertainment magazine that focused on literacy through entertainment. The publication has since provided a stepping-stone for many individuals throughout the country, from teens to adults and continues to provide inspiration for inspiring entrepreneurs, writers, photographers and graphic designers. Read more articles by Kevin.

Kevin Benoit has 271 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin Benoit

close

Enjoy this site? Please spread the word :)

Share
Tweet
Whatsapp
Copy link
Email
RSS