Lindsey Ray
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Lindsey Ray


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"Ray of Light"

Singer, songwriter and pianist Lindsey Bachelder of Belfast is only 23, but she has paid some serious dues.

These days, Lindsey Bachelder of Belfast goes by the stage name Lindsey Ray, which is easier to remember and honors her late grandfather.
Born into a musical family, Bachelder has been singing in public since she was a child and not just locally. Right now, she’s singing to a worldwide audience on the Web site, having been picked as the first judges’ pick pop genre winner of the site’s just-begun music video contest.

Music Nation is an artist development company with multi-genre, online, video-based music competitions, both domestically and abroad, that bring together emerging talent from across multiple genres. Bands/artists in the pop, rock or urban genres upload their videos to the site and create an artist page. Its inaugural competition began Jan. 29. During the course of 12 weeks, the public and a panel of celebrity judges — Nelly; The Game; Good Charlotte’s Madden brothers; Mark Pitts, president of Urban Music, Jive Records; Charlie Walk, president of Epic Records; producer Howard Benson; and producer Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem — vote two winners from each genre into the quarterfinals each week. At the end of the 12 weeks, there will be three weeks of quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Finally, the public and the judges will vote and award one winner in each genre a global recording contract with Epic Records. The three winners also will be showcased on an episode on Clear Channel Radio’s in-studio performance series.

Bachelder already has been bumped into the mid-April quarterfinals, so has a chance to go all the way. Those who wish to see the video, however, should search for Lindsey Ray, as Bachelder recently adopted that as her stage name. Changing her name for a music career is all she is likely to change, as long as it’s her choice; unlike other contestants, she has been on the verge of a recording contract before and the experience left her both more wary and wise.

“I was very close to a deal when I was 19. My hair was dyed orange then and they wanted to call me Lynx and told me to act like a punk,” recalled Ray with an infectious laugh that was frowned upon by those trying to package her as a sullen toughie.

She laughs now, but said the experience, which came after a couple of years traveling to New York on weekends to record, was awful.

“They wanted me to not be myself. I cried every night. So I left and came home,” she said.

It had not been the first time Bachelder traveled in search of a larger audience. Ten years ago, she was one of six finalists out of thousands of 13- to 18-year-old entrants in a music contest held in Los Angeles. Then in the eighth grade, Bachelder traveled to California with her father, David, a longtime local performer who used to sing with the Harbormen, after the Belfast community helped her raise the funds needed for the trip.

Lindsey Bachelder sells a CD of 10 original songs at her gigs around Belfast and beyond. Neal Parent
“I sang in front of 10,000 people at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel,” she said.

Bachelder sang Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” for that contest and for many years concentrated on singing cover songs. She missed a lot of school during her junior and senior years at Belfast Area High School, but always stayed at the top of her class.

Unfortunately, her class of musical peers at the time were blond bubblegum popsters with backup dancers — it was the age of Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Christina Aguilera. Bachelder had the look — she had been through Barbizon Modeling and Acting — and the producers she was working with in New York saw her as from the same mold.

“They’d say, we just signed a girl exactly like her. I kept on that route for a while, but as I got older, I realized I didn’t want to do that … I didn’t want to have to show my midriff to be successful,” she said.

After graduating from BAHS, Bachelder spent about a year in New Jersey working for a production company. During the day, she was dealing with the attempts to turn her into the aforementioned Lynx. At night, she began playing piano and writing her own songs. She had played the piano by ear since childhood, but had pushed it aside in the quest for a singing career. The songwriting was a new thing altogether.

“I didn’t tell anyone, was very secretive about it,” she recalled.

The secret was out when she decided to head back to Maine. When she told someone she’d been working with she wanted “to be the girl who sits at the piano and sings her own songs,” he laughed. He also said she was throwing away her one chance for success.

“ I thought, I’m going to prove you wrong. And I have never ever regretted it,” said Bachelder.

Back in Maine, Bachelder began playing and singing with local groups, including Straight Up, Maniacs Play Jazz and Roundabout. She also performs with a number of pickup groups and last year performe - Republican Journal

"Lindsey Ray is in tune with herself"

From her earliest memories, Lindsey Bachelder knew her life’s calling. “From a very, very young age, I was always singing,” she says, noting that a favorite family photo shows her in her Dr. Dentons holding a microphone.

And when she and her kindergarten classmates were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, “I stood up and said I wanted to be a singer…I would lock myself in my room and perform for all my stuffed animals.”

Now, just turned 24, she’s competing in a national Music Nation online contest for a recording contract while performing solo and with local bands at various Maine venues.

“It’s not been glamorous by any means,” the 2001 Belfast Area High School graduate says of the intervening years, a good many of them spent honing her craft in New York recording studios with no compensation and refusing to don an image she felt was not authentic. “People think they’ll be discovered and it will all fall into place. But everything that’s gone wrong has helped me figure what I’m passionate about.”

She suspects her family sparked that passion. The daughter of Janet and David Bachelder and the granddaughter of Joan and Charles Bunnell, Lindsey says she was always surrounded by music, especially since her father and grandfather both are musicians.

Although she had never sung in public before, she made her local debut at the age of 10 in the starring role of “Annie,” which was staged at the Troy Howard Middle School. But she had no time for the popular high school musical productions, she says, because she was playing sports—field hockey, basketball and track—year round.

Her first taste of the music business came following her sophomore year in high school when a friend of her older sister, who was attending the University of Maine, heard her sing, put her in touch with his singer brother and suggested she spend the summer in New York City learning the ropes at a recording studio.

“That first summer, I recorded a couple of songs,” she recalls, and performed a showcase before several record label executives. Her sister accompanied her and she spent all her time at the studio.

No record contract ensued, she says, partly because the labels had just signed Brittany Spears and Christine Aguilera and recording scouts deemed Lindsey’s style too similar to theirs. “The kind of music I was doing was kind of cheesy, bubblegum-type stuff. I wasn’t different.

Undaunted, Lindsey kept returning to the Manhattan studio during her junior and senior high school years. “I would take tests early and then take the Greyhound bus for a three-day weekend in New York.” And those tests were not for snap courses. “I took advanced placement physics, calculus, advanced French…I made it work,” she declares.

With courses like those, she notes, “My parents thought I would go to college to be a doctor (but) I decided to be a struggling musician.” While she acknowledges her mother and grandparents initially were unhappy with her decision, her father supported it, perhaps because she was living out a dream he once had for himself.

So after graduation, Lindsey went to East Orange, N.J.—“the least nice place”—and again worked on her singing in a studio, encouraged by a man whose career had waned after successes in the 1980s and living with him and his wife. Between those weekend trips to New York and studies during high school, she explains, she had worked at Alexia’s Pizza and saved her money for this next effort.

But she also discovered a downside to the music business. Before she came home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, her New Jersey mentor told her “in order to be successful, he wanted to me change who I was…. He wanted me to be this punkish character and use the name Lynx. . . I dyed my hair. It was supposed to be strawberry blond but it really looked fluorescent orange. I was really unhappy.”

She was told that image would boost her chances because “there were too many nice girls…I was putting all my trust in this guy and his wife,” Lindsey says. But back in Belfast, “Every night I was crying myself to sleep. I felt there had to be a better way. I was losing my dignity.”

Lindsey had not shared her discomfort with her family until her father was driving her back to New Jersey in mid-January. “We got to the middle of the Hudson River and I said, ‘We’ve got to go back.’”

When she called her mentor to say she would not be returning, he, in turn, said there was a recording contract waiting for her. “Whether that was true or not, I didn’t care.”

For the next 18 months, she was back at her pizza shop job and, she admits, “extremely depressed.” Although she applied to and was accepted by the Berklee College of Music, “I didn’t go. It was too expensive.”

But her spirits picked up when she joined her first local band, Low End Unlimited. Although it played only a few engagements, it led to other ensembles. She joined a “function band”—the Roundabouts—that plays for private parties and wedd - The Waldo Independent

"Belfast's Lindsey Ray finding her slow-burn pop in demand"

At 24, Lindsey Ray has already been there and done that when it comes to the music industry.

"I left high school to go to New York City to record," said the Belfast native. "I was working there trying to pursue a record deal, but the whole thing made me really unhappy. I wasn’t doing the kind of music I wanted to do. It was all really cheesy pop music. I wasn’t playing piano. It didn’t feel right."

Ray returned to Belfast in 2004 to reassess her situation. She knew she had to follow her dream of making music, but how? She was slinging pizzas in a local joint and floundering creatively. Nothing was going right.

"That was kind of my turning point. I had to find myself," said Ray. "I wasn’t doing any music at all that whole year."

Change came soon, though. In 2005 she hooked up with the band that she’s still with two years later: Straight Up, a reggae and funk group that plays gigs all over the state, and holds down a weekly Sunday residency at the Sea Dog in Bangor during the summer.

She also quietly, secretly started writing her own songs on the piano — something she had never had the guts to do until her friend Dave Johnson, a Belfast musician and producer, encouraged her to try it out.

"He kept telling me I should try to do my own thing. I didn’t have any confidence in my songwriting at all. I wrote my first song in the fall of 2005, and then boom, I had like 40 songs," said Ray. "It happened very fast. I didn’t even play live until that following April, and I was so terrified."

But those first few shows went well, and a year later she’s much in demand, playing from Portland to Bangor. A glance at her MySpace page (, in reference to her given name, Lindsey Bachelder) shows that she has solo gigs lined up every week until June, including this evening’s 5 p.m. show at the Lookout Pub in Belfast, an April 20 gig at WHSN 89.3’s Multiple Sclerosis Society fundraiser at the Keith Anderson Community Center in Orono, and April 27 at the Muddy Rudder in Brewer.

With her commanding alto voice and striking good looks, you might not believe she was ever shy or unconfident about her music. Already a talented piano player, her time spent performing with Straight Up has sharpened her technical skills.

"I always just played by ear. My dad played piano, so I got it from him. I always told people from a very young age that I wanted to be a musician. But I never had any training," she said. "With the band, it’s like I went to school but didn’t have to pay for it."

Ray writes slow-burning, R&B-edged pop songs that suit her expressive, soulful voice, as on "Wake Me Up," the song that Ray is most proud of and that she entered into a nationwide contest sponsored by artist development group Music Nation. In the first week of the competition, "Wake Me Up" was named the Judges’ Choice. A few weeks after that, though, Ray was presented with a contract that was less than ideal.

"If I signed the contract they drew up, they’d own the songs I published. As a songwriter, that’s a slap in the face. I’d rather not have a record deal than do that," said Ray. "So I told them I wouldn’t sign it. They told me I’d forfeit my position, but apparently I’m still in the competition."

"Song For Sam" is another personal favorite, and not just because it was the first song Ray ever wrote: it was inspired by the drug-related death of a close friend.

"I went to his funeral, and I came home and I wanted to vent. So I started writing," explained Ray. "It expresses a lot of frustration and sadness. I kept it to myself for a long time, but then I sent it to [Sam’s] friends and family, and they’ve responded really well. I get a lot of people on MySpace telling me about how that song has affected them. I think if I were going to play a song on TV I’d play that one. To get the message out."

But the performances on "The Late Show with David Letterman" will come later. For now, Ray is more than busy playing all over Maine both solo and with Straight Up. She’s one of those select few artists in Maine able to perform as a full-time job.

"I’m actually able to make a living as a musician," said Ray. "It’s not easy, but I’m making it work."

To vote
for Lindsey Ray in the Music Nation competition, visit Emily Burnham can be reached at Check out Emily’s blog, Rock Blogster, at, for more info about nightlife and other fun happenings in the Bangor area.

Singer-songwriterLindsey Ray plays Friday night at the Lookout Pub in Belfast. - Bangor Daily News

"Feature Story"

At Music Nation, you don't have to be from New York City or L.A. to get noticed. Our judges recognize talent and personality, not a zip code. To that end, this week we decided to have a chat with our Week One Pop Judges' Choice, Lindsey Ray.

Lindsey Ray is from Belfast, Maine, a small town near the eastern coast, far removed from America's cultural centers. Ray took piano lessons for about a year at the age of seven, but is mostly self-taught. Her modesty is matched only by her desire to play music. She doesn't have a day job. She lives for music, even if it means struggling. Ray is a perfect example of the kind of artist Music Nation is looking to unearth.

Before Ray was named Judges' Choice, she was actively competing for the Nation's Choice slot, but noticed her chances slipping. "The weekend before I found out, I was totally bummed because I kept going to the site to check on my standing and it kept getting pushed back," Ray said.

However, Ray's spirits would soon brighten. "I had decided to just not think about it anymore when my brother called me Monday night around 5:30 p.m. and said he'd tried to vote for me, but wasn't able to because I was the judges' pick," Ray said. "To be handpicked by two people so highly ranked in the business [Charlie Walk and J.R. Rotem] was an amazing feeling. I'm still pretty excited about that."

Ray hasn't done much touring, but she said she's willing to put in the work that it takes to be a career musician. She's currently self-recording a new CD, the first boasting full arrangements. Ray says she's excited about taking her songs out on the road. "I plan to travel and play my songs any and everywhere I can," Ray said. Without the pressures of big city rent, Ray has been able to fine tune her craft. However, she said she'll be ready to make the jump when the time comes. "If I landed a major recording contract and needed to move, I would do so in a heartbeat."

Lindsey Ray should serve as evidence to artists throughout the country who think they have to live in a big city to create great music and get their voices heard. Thanks to Music Nation, artists can now be heard by the industry's biggest names even if they're hundreds of miles away. - Music Nation

"Belfast You've Got Talent"

I've never been to Belfast, Maine. In fact, before I googled Lindsey Ray, I thought the only Belfast was in Northern Ireland. I guess there must be something in that Maine water other than deer piss, because it churned out one talented girl. Lindsey's voice is huge, despite the fact that she probably weighs 95 pounds in a wet sweatshirt with a heavy gold chain around her neck. Her voice is simultaneously silken and worn, capable of delivering an angelic soprano or an emotionally leveling alto. Lindsey's music, meanwhile, recalls recent pop sirens like Alicia Keys and Norah Jones without being as bombastic as the former or as stoic as the latter.
When the camera finally pans out at the 3:40 mark, it's a surprise to see that Lindsey is investing such emotional depth for no more than a handful of people. Playing your heart out for the audience regardless of its size is the mark of a true performer. On her myspace page, Lindsey says that her "dream is to tour around the country and play for everyone who wants to listen." Give it some time, Lindsey, I don't think it'll be a problem. - Music Nation


Lindsey Ray- self-titled cd for sale at all shows, 10 original songs, just piano and vocals, unplugged feel

Radio Play on WERU 89.9


Feeling a bit camera shy


Lindsey Ray had a fever for performing from an early age. Content to lock herself in her room for hours and sing to an audience of stuffed animals, her friends and family knew it was not just a hobby, but a passion. She declared at the tender age of five, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a singer.”

Musical ability is found on both sides of her family, and being raised by a father who not only sang but played the piano by ear, it was only natural that Lindsey would eventually follow suit. Unsure of her destined passion for the piano, Lindsey focused her efforts on singing. After performing frequently in her hometown of Belfast, Maine, she went to Los Angeles and earned top honors in the IMTA singing competition at the age of 13. By 15, she was traveling back and forth to New York City to record with a production company in hopes of landing a record deal. After five years of trying to fit into a mold simply to please others, Lindsey knew she needed something more authentic. She needed to be Lindsey. She moved home and began playing the piano and singing with local bands ranging from hip-hop/ funk/ soul/ r&b to jazz and reggae. After two years of playing and singing cover songs, Lindsey realized that to be truly satisfied, she needed to begin writing and composing her own original songs. After the death of a friend in the fall of 2005, Lindsey wrote one of her first songs, “A song for Sam.” From that moment on, the door was opened. With nothing but a piano and herself, Lindsey was finally able to be the true artist that she was always meant to be.

In as little as 16 months, Lindsey Ray, 24, has written over 40 songs, which she plays on a weekly basis to an ever growing fan base throughout Maine.

While in the process of recording and producing her first cd, Lindsey Ray strives to stay true to herself and to write real music that touches the soul.