A love for traditional country music runs deep working, Tyler Ray. Hooked by the likes of Randy Travis and Johnny Cash, Ray has long dreamed of walking in their footsteps. Hailing from Southern California, Ray has been able to mix his country admiration with his west coast roots to produce a fresh twist on country music.
We had the chance to chat with Ray ahead of the release of his new single, Dear California about everything from his upbringing to his new single and more!
Worlds Of Country: When did you know that music was something that you wanted to pursue?
Tyler: Oh, man, Like most people, I’d say, super super early. My family was very musical. My brothers played guitar, sang, and like, they’re 10 and 12 years older than me. So as soon as I was born into that kind of life.
Worlds Of Country: So what drew you to country music specifically?
Tyler: I explicitly remember hearing Randy Travis for the first time. And I think that was it for me. I just like the first time I ever heard a Randy Travis record. I was so young and I just remember thinking like, This is it, man, this is what I want to do.
Worlds Of Country: So how would you describe your musical style?
Tyler: So I think as far as my records go, I am definitely country going for the more like I don’t use the word mainstream, but kind of the more Nashville sound like the current Nashville kind of sound. But I think if you saw me live, you would think it was much more Americana .
Worlds Of Country: So who would you say most influenced this style of music?
Tyler: I feel like I grew up on Randy Travis and Johnny Cash. The brief backstory is my dad grew up like I grew up with my dad listening to country music, and that was his thing as Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, like all the OGS, right? And then my mom was a rocker chick. And so with my mom, I grew up on like Pink Floyd and Dio. So I feel like my style now is really I love the storytelling aspects of country music, and I love the heartfelt message behind it. And then also, I just love cranking guitars.
Worlds Of Country: So you have a new single coming out, Dear California. Tell us the story behind that song and how that song came together.
Tyler: Yes, so Dear California was a funny song for me because, as you can probably tell from listening to the song, I had quite a bit to drink that night. It kind of was one of those weird songs where I woke up the next morning with a voice memo and like 90 percent of a song. I remember sitting down to jam on this idea that I had, and then when I listened back to the voice memos like, I got to learn this, this is sweet. Like, I had to go back and figure out what I was doing and kind of fill it out and get it all nailed down. But yeah, it’s just like a mass exodus that’s going on right now from California. Like I wrote, Dear California, gosh, probably five years ago. I’ve been playing it live since then, but we’ve done some versions of it with some bands over the years and then just finally, I decided I wanted to put it out myself.
Worlds Of Country: So could you tell us more about the story behind the song?
Tyler: Yeah. So. Really, what it’s about is just that I love to travel and through music, I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel and toured with some bands and it is really amazing and I was born and raised in Southern California. And so for me, it still is one of those things where I want to leave so badly. But there’s so many reasons why I can’t or won’t at the moment. And there’s always something keeping me here. And I’ve been with my lady for 11 years now, and so she’s out here. We live together in San Diego, but we’re kind of kicking the idea around about maybe looking elsewhere and seeing where else, you know, somewhere, maybe more affordable, somewhere a little bit slower pace. I lived in Hollywood for a couple of years and now I live in San Diego and like, it’s just bigger cities and I’m ready to slow down and get some space, you know?
Worlds Of Country: So what’s next for you after Dear California?
Tyler: So I’ve got another song. Actually, I just got a work tape back from my producer Daniel Dennis just this morning. I got the worktape back and we were chatting about it. It’s a song called Take You Out. It’s a fun song. It’s got a lot of play on words and like a revolving chorus. So I’m looking forward to that. We’re talking about maybe doing something new to like, maybe doing more of a piano lead like an organ and piano leading song, which I’ve never done before. So I’m excited to see how it’s going to come together.
You can PRESAVE Dear California by clicking this link to be the first to hear it when it’s released November 12th. https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/tylerray/dear-california