You read it here first: Canadian singer/songwriter Ray Gibson is an artist that the country music world undoubtedly needs to watch out for.
Hailing from Maple Ridge, Vancouver, this eighteen year old is turning heads with both her originals and covers. She even caught the attention of country superstar Carrie Underwood. The artist posted Ray’s cover of “Good Girl” on her Facebook for all of her fans to see on Ray’s eighteenth birthday – what a great present! If that weren’t enough, the newcomer is working alongside Canadian country artist Aaron Pritchett. The two have been writing together and have recorded videos of them singing some of Aaron’s songs. Ray also won the Carly Rae Jepsen cover contest for her rendition of “Call Me Maybe”.
Her covers range from songs by artists like Adele, Lil Wayne and Katy Perry to Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. Ray’s original songs, such as “Couple More Kisses” and “Barefoot On The Beach” showcase her incredible vocal range and writing talents. Something interesting to note is that this young artist has taught herself to play both the guitar and piano and plays the instruments solely by ear!
Now, this YouTube sensation is starting to write original material and is looking ahead to creating her own record and performing for fans. She will be writing songs in Los Angeles this summer and Nashville in the fall.
We caught up with Ray to talk about her influences, what she loves about the country genre and plans for her future in country music.
Trust us when we say that you won’t be disappointed by this girl’s gift: her voice.
How did you get involved with music?
I got involved with music because my family and my grandparents would always be listening to country music, so naturally I started loving it too. My parents and grandparents always put me on their lap at the piano and I’d follow along. By age four I was making up my own songs and playing what I heard on the radio. I taught myself guitar at age fifteen also. As for singing, I always sang just for the fun of it, whether I was cleaning or driving!
You have a song on your YouTube page called “Couple More Kisses.” What does the song mean to you?
This song is about being laid back and not needing much, other than someones love and not the materialistic things. I wrote it in Los Angeles with a man named Paul Duncan who is a fantastic writer! There are a lot of people who are into the fancy cars and diamond rings, but that’s just not my thing. There’s a line in the song that is probably my favourite – it’s about thrift store clothes. I think 99% of my closet is thrift store items!!
Who are your musical influences?
There are so many! My number one musical influence is Taylor Swift because of who she is as a person, what she has been through and the fact that her lyrics are amazing. She talks about everyday situations, from people being mean, to boys breaking your heart – she says it all and I can really relate to her.
Hunter Hayes is also a great influence! I got the chance to meet him last week at his show. It is so inspiring to hear his story. He was saying how he blocked out all negativity and just worked and worked on his music, as well as how he chose to stay in on Friday nights rather than go out and party. I think that’s so important. And that’s what really spoke to me! Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban - all of my other favorite artists are very influential as well, but those are my top two idols!
On your YouTube page, you have some great covers of songs by Hunter Hayes, Justin Bieber and Carrie Underwood, among others. What draws you to doing these covers?
First of all, I love all of these artists, so that’s the main reason! Hunter’s songs are really relatable and the melody and lyrics are so great! Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen have very fun songs and they are both Canadian, so I just had to cover their songs! Carrie Underwood has always been one of my favourites. I would always vote for her when she was on American Idol! I covered her “Good Girl” video because of the beat, the lyrics and the melody – it was all amazing. And to my surprise, on my birthday I found out that she actually posted my cover of “Good Girl” to her Facebook page! So that was an amazing surprise!
Who would you love to tour with?
My dream would be to tour with Hunter Hayes because I just think he’s one of the most talented people out there! He plays so many instruments, has an amazing voice, is incredibly kind and is very inspiring. I look up to him so much! There are so many artists I’d dream of touring with. Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood would be amazing to tour with because I look up to them all. I don’t think I could choose between Hunter and Taylor though!
You recently started covering some of Aaron Pritchett’s songs with the man himself. Can you tell us what it’s like to collaborate with him?
Aaron is awesome! It’s a lot of fun. We never practiced before we covered them, so it was just kind of in the moment! He’s very supportive and is nice enough to let me sing with him. We winged both of the covers we did just in one take, because of course we were just having fun! Being a fan of someone and then having the privilege to sing with them is so awesome!
Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing?
I get a lot of inspiration to sit down and write when someone or something affects me. High school comes with many doubters when you do anything that is different, so they can really get to you. But they are also perfect examples of inspiration. When somebody personally upsets me or if someone makes me really happy, minutes after I’m out of that situation, I will start writing.
When did you realize you wanted to make a career out of singing and songwriting?
I always dreamed about how cool it would be to be able to sing and play music as a career ever since I saw Shania Twain perform at the Pacific Colosseum a few years back, but I never believed it could happen. I wanted to be a police officer for the longest time, but then as soon as Aaron Pritchett got ahold of me, I started thinking “Hey, it would be really cool if I could do what he does!” I know that if I did anything else other than music, I wouldn’t be happy. It’s the only thing I can depend on and it’s the only thing that I want to do. So now I am working hard to try and make a career out of it!
What do you love most about country music?
I love all music, but when it comes to country, I believe it’s the most “real”. It tells a story in each song. With country music, once you are a fan, you are always a fan. I love the slow, sad country music and I also love the upbeat songs like Kenny Chesney‘s or Zac Brown Band‘s songs. If it’s a rainy day, country music is perfect. When it’s a sunny day, country is perfect. Country music is probably the reason why I’ve got through so many difficult times in my life. When you are able to relate to a song, it makes you feel like you aren’t alone and gives you some hope.
That’s what I love most about country music, apart from the fact that it reminds me of my grandpa whenever it’s playing. If it weren’t for him, I probably would not have been introduced to such an amazing genre.
Thinking long-term, where do you hope your passion and love for music takes you?
Anywhere that allows me to play my music. Whether it’s at a little coffee shop or bar in the middle of nowhere or a stadium – either is fine with me. I hope one day I can meet my idols and inspire other people like they do to me. But in the end, I just want to play my music because I don’t know what else I’d do without music.
What can our readers expect from you next?
You can expect some originals coming up! I am going to Los Angeles in July for a month and will be writing and recording more originals that I’m very excited to share with you. There are some that are already finished, so they will be coming in a few months. Of course, I will always be making more YouTube covers so you can expect those as well! But yeah! A lot of music trips coming up so you can expect some videos and pictures and lots of originals coming!
Check out Ray’s cover of Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl”: