A Conversation with Ray Dalton

(Photo courtesy of Rogers & Cowan)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is a pleasure to welcome Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ray Dalton to Jake’s Take.

Ray Dalton began his musical journey in Seattle, Washington, where he was working on a goal of working with all of the city’s talented rappers. However, in 2011, Ray Dalton’s life was changed forever when producer Ryan Lewis messaged him on Facebook about a potential project.  The project was a track called “Can’t Hold Us,” a song that Lewis was working on with his longtime collaborator: Macklemore. Ray Dalton’s collaboration with the duo yielded over half a billion streams on Spotify, nearly 530 million views on YouTube, hit the top spot on four different Billboard charts and was certified 6X Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

“Can’t Hold Us” helped Ray Dalton opened numerous doors in the music industry including other collaborations including “Don’t Worry” with Madcon, which the official music video has been viewed over 115 million times on YouTube and hit the number one spot on 21 different international music charts.  He also collaborated with DJ Arty on “Stronger,” which has been streamed over three million times on Spotify.

After helping other artists create hits, Ray Dalton recorded and released his first solo single: “If You Fall.”  “If You Fall” is a song that Mr. Dalton co-wrote with Scott Effman (Chris Brown, Kelly Clarkson, and Mike Posner), produced by Rufus Dipper, mixed by eight time Grammy-winning mixing engineer Michael Brauer, and mastered by Joe La Porta.

In this edition of A Conversation, Ray opened up about how Ryan Lewis contacted him for “Can’t Hold Us,” why he released his solo single, and which two singer-songwriters are on the shortlist of potential collaborators.

Jacob Elyachar: When did you get interested in music? How did your passion evolve into the desire of pursuing a career in the recording industry?

Ray Dalton: As a kid, I remember growing up and always being drawn to what was being played on the radio. The artists seemed larger than life, and it became a goal of mine to hear my music on the radio one day. My parents get a ton of credit as well for exposing me to incredible artists around the house as well like Led Zeppelin, Anita Baker, Babyface, The Police, and The Carpenters. But to be honest, it was not until I joined The Total Experience Gospel Choir as a teenager that I felt like the dream of becoming my own artist could become a reality.

JE: In 2011, you collaborated with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on a little song called “Can’t Hold Us.” Could you share with my readers how Ryan Lewis contacted you and how did that song change your career?

RD: Ryan Lewis hit me up with a direct message on Facebook. He had heard a song I did with Seattle rapper SOL and invited me to work with him in the studio. Social media has become such an incredible tool and resource for artists. It gives so many of us an opportunity to collaborate in ways that were so difficult before when you might not be able to track someone down. You could say that message from Ryan changed my life.

JE: What are some of the challenges that you faced throughout your career? How did you overcome those obstacles?

RD: I have always had a vision for who I wanted to be as an artist, but the greatest challenge for me was finding the right team. I am happy to say that the last couple of years of growth, personally and professionally, have given me the opportunity to learn some things from my management team, lawyers, et cetera. The timing of releasing my new music could not be better, and I am grateful for everything that has brought me to this point in my career.

 

(Album cover property of Ray Dalton)

JE: Recently, you released your first solo single: “If You Fall.” Why did you decide that it was time to release a solo track?

RD: Unfortunately, I put way too much pressure on myself to live up to some expectations that weighed me down at times. I am proud to say that I’ve overcome those things and feel like this is the start of something special.

JE: How long did it take you to write and record “If You Fall”?

RD: It took a day to write the song with my friend Scott Effman, but it took months to get the production where we wanted it. I wrote a ton of music over the last couple of years and had to set this song aside for a while because it wasn’t coming together the way I had hoped. But at a certain point, we went back and started evaluating all the music I had been working on, and I ended up falling in love with the song all over again. It took about five different versions to get the production locked in, but once we did, I knew this was a song I wanted to release.

JE: Who are some of the recording artists, producers, and songwriters that are on your dream collaborations list?

RD:  I have an extensive list of people I would love to work with in the future, but I would like to sit down and write with Lana Del Rey and then follow that the next day by drinking tequila with John Mayer and writing a song.

JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring singer-songwriters who want to have a career in the recording industry, what advice would you share with them?

RD:  Never give up. Always be open to learning new things and practice, practice, practice till you have mastered your craft…then repeat!

You can follow Ray Dalton’s adventures on social media. Visit his Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter channels. 

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar