A native of Philadelphia now residing in Wilmington, Delaware Raye has been a staple in the arts world. As Executive Director of the Christina Cultural Arts Center, she has been one of the original driving forces in the establishment of Wilmington’s Creative District which extends from the central business district into neglected, low income neighborhoods.
Raye is stepping out again to make a more personal artistic statement on her second recording project and new release, “Every Good-by Ain’t Gone” produced by long time musical mentor and enduring friend Dennis Fortune. The proverb “every shut eye ain’t sleep and every good-by ain’t gone” is a lesson preached by elders from her southern roots. Often people mistake the appearance of being asleep or the meaning of a visible absence. Raye is very much “woke”. Her emergence on the music scene is flavored by social interludes or disappearing acts as a performer. However her leadership as a curator, educator, activist and mentor has been constant.
Raye’s jazz influenced interpretations on this recent project breathe her lived experience into selections such as Stevie Wonder’s “ Superwoman Where Were You When I Needed You”, Linda Creed & Thom Bell’s “People Make the World Go Round”, Ewab MacCroll’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s “She’s Leaving Home” and Will.i.am & John Legend’s “Ordinary People” produced by guitarist E. Shawn Qaissaunee.
Sistah Girl’s Lament, her debut recording was produced and arranged by Dennis Fortune and covers the Rodgers & Hart classic “My Favorite Things”, “Never Can Say Goodbye”, and her self-composed tribute to Phyllis Hyman, titled “We Miss You Phyllis” and the title track “Sistah Girl’s Lament”. “Sistah Girl’s Lament” was distributed by FVC Records. The debut project traces Raye’s transcendence from blue adversity to triumph without losing her song”.
Both recordings are a wonderful collection of jazz, R&B and blues inspired compositions that convey the miraculous ability to feel joy even in the presence of pain. Raye describes her work as a “deeply personal but creative expression of life’s twists and turns.
Over the years, Raye has been honored to collaborate with very accomplished musicians: Dennis Fortune (piano), Suzzette Ortiz, (piano/choral master), Harry “Butch” Reed & John Coley(drums), Michael Cruse(bass), Madison Rast(bass), E. Shawn Qaussaunee (guitar), Ron Sutton Jr., (saxophone), Tony Smith (trumpet), Fostina Dixon (soprano and baritone saxophones) Brandy Jones Osimokun, Donna Jones and Darnell Miller (background vocals).