At age 8 and a half, Ray Goren taught himself to play the guitar after stumbling upon a YouTube video of blues master B. B. King. Now age 16, Ray is a talented musician and songwriter who draws inspiration from such greats as the three Kings (B.B., of course, but also Freddie and Albert), Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Jimi Hendrix. Oh, and Drake.
One of the coolest things about Ray Goren’s music, as you’ll see in the video, is the way in which he invents songs on the spot. He uses a looper pedal to enable him to record music as he plays, making a complete sound profile with several different instruments playing at the same time. This NYC-born, So-Cal raised artist’s creation was composed and delivered live on the Wonderama stage. It’s called, “Song for Me.”
We wanted to know more about this talented musician, so we asked him a few questions.
Wonderama: Where do you get inspiration for song lyrics?
Ray Goren: I get my inspiration from life experiences, things I see and things I feel — things that happen to me. All of that contributes to my song lyrics.
W: What’s your favorite part about performing?
RG: My favorite part of performing is connecting with my audience – there is nothing better than having an engaged audience because it inspires me and I have a lot more fun.
W: If you had to only listen to 1 artist for the rest of your life, who would you pick?
RG: Johnny Cash – my favorite artist of all time. If I could give three I would give Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix and Jay Cole.
W: How long do you practice every day?
RG: It varies. When I am home I try to do between 4-8 hours. It gets more difficult to practice every day when I have studio work and all day show events, but those are all practicing in their own right. There are different elements you learn from every situation.
W: You have an entire day completely unscheduled to do whatever you want with. What do you do?
RG: I use the time to practice and get better plus song write. I’m always trying to learn and accomplish new things to add to my creative ability.
W: If you weren’t a musician, what profession do you think you’d be in?
RG: That’s a question that for better or worse I cannot answer. Being a musician is what I am and who I am.
W: What’s your favorite subject in school and why?
RG: If I had to pick a favorite subject I would pick history. It really interests me to learn about different cultures and things that have occurred during the world’s existence. At times it can even trigger song ideas.
W: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be a musician?
RG: My advice is to do what you love, practice and stick with it no matter how hard it may seem or how disheartening it can get at times.
W: You listen to a lot of different artists from a variety of musical traditions and genres. Why do you think this diversity helps your own music?
RG: Different ideas from different genres give me the freedom to paint my music how I want to paint it.
W: Where have you not yet performed that you would love to perform at?
RG: I haven’t performed at Staples Center, Madison Square Garden, O2 Arena, the Hollywood Bowl or at the Grammys — and the list goes on . . . I’m working towards performing at all of them.