We talk to the rising artist about finding his sound, upholding his social media presence, and the making of the provoking new EP.

From busking on the streets and blowing up on Tik Tok to establishing himself as a promising emerging artist, it’s been a fruitful year for Victor Ray. Summer has seen Ray delivering some significant performances at festivals like The Great Escape and a headline show at Camden Assembly, and it’s evident that the 23 year old Ugandan-born, Newcastle-raised artist is only getting started.

Ray has unveiled his debut EP, “i felt.”, a searing and mature body of work that sees him cement the foundations that he has been building since his artistic inception. Vocally delicate and lyrically emotionally resonant, the singer-songwriter’s sound is driven by soul and contemporary R&B, with the project showcasing an impressive diversity to his approach.

To celebrate the release of “i felt.”, we spoke to the hotly tipped creative, discussing finding his sound, upholding his social media presence, and the making of the provoking new EP.

Listen to the EP…

Read the exclusive interview…

What does a day in the life look like for you currently?
A day in the life for me consists of either, going to the studio to write music, travelling to central London to perform my music on the street, or filming videos and content to promote my music. After I’ve done one of these I usually go home and play some video games.

Tell us about how you originally got into music and found your sound?
I was always singing for as long as I can remember, so I think I knew I wanted to be a singer from the start. I didn’t realise, however, that I was an artist until I was 17. I decided to go and sing on the street to see what would happen since I hated my job at the time and at this point I had started writing a few songs. I fell in love with writing the same way I first did with singing, and I knew this was the only thing I could do day in and day out and be happy.

How has your childhood and early days influenced your musical journey?
My early music taste was tailored by my family and the soundtracks around the house I would hear. My dad loved listening to music so there was always something playing around the house, be it old Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson and other soul singers. My sister and brother loved RnB and hip hop so from age 6 I was listening to artists like Usher, Ne-Yo and Rihanna consistently. When I turned 13 my sister gave me her old phone and on it there was Beyoncé’s I am Sasha Fierce album and J Cole’s Born Sinner album. That was all I listened to on the 30-minute walk to and from school for 2 years.

Videos of you busking on TikTok went crazy viral at the beginning of your journey. What was that experience like?
Honestly, it’s weird. I’ve been busking for 5 years now, so to have an audience of millions compared to the handful of strangers I usually sing to was pretty hard to wrap my head around at first. To be honest it still blows my mind.

How do you stay connected to your impressive 2.7 million followers on TikTok?
Hopefully, I’m doing an okay job of that so far. The main thing for me is consistency. Keeping my followers entertained by listening and engaging with them through comments on videos is key for me. And then inviting them to come and see me live.

What is your opinion of the relationship between social media and the music industry?
Oh, that’s a good question. I think the landscape for music is so different than it was in the last 5 years. Social media is fundamental for an artist to succeed, and not just as a tool to speak to your fans, but as a marketing tool. It can be hard to accept but every aspect of this industry is working around social media now, from record labels to radio, to the consumers.
As helpful as it is for emerging artists like myself to create a platform for their music, it is an incredibly overwhelming task in an oversaturated field.

You sold out both of your London headline shows, what was this experience like?
Insane!!! Man, it is so different to see the numbers go up online for my videos, versus feeling the energy in a room full of people who are connected to you and your music. It makes me feel incredibly grateful to the fans that show up and makes me want to perform better than I ever have each time. That’s why live performance will always be number one for me. Nothing beats it.

Congratulations on your single “Stay For A While” from your debut EP “i felt.”. Can you give us an insight into the message behind the single and what it means to you?
Thank you so much! “Stay For A While” is a song I wrote about the interplay between desperation and heartbreak. It is the internal dialogue that I have with myself knowing that a relationship is ending with somebody or the possibility of one is not realistic, and still fighting for it hopelessly.

What was your creative process behind your debut EP like?
Those songs were written in the heart of lockdown 2020, so I was in my room in my mum’s house in Newcastle trying to get over a breakup and pouring feelings into my guitar. I wrote these songs by myself over this period in which I was starting to understand my voice and who I wanted to be as an artist. I would write on my guitar and then stumble around Logic trying to understand production and elevate these songs in any way.

What do you hope to achieve with your artistry? What do you want your audience to feel when they listen to your music?
All I want is to tell my stories, and speak my truth. And all I can hope for is that somebody else can connect to that. I’ll never know and I would never assume to know the ways in which my music will be Interpreted by my fans, but I feel like I have a responsibility to create art that is meaningful and that can touch on real feelings and experiences.

What does the rest of 2023 look like for you? Any exciting new projects in the pipeline?
I want to do more shows! In London, in Europe, everywhere. And I’ve got sooooo many songs stored away that I want to release so I’m gonna get on that!