Raye Zaragoza
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Raye Zaragoza

Los Angeles, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Los Angeles, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Alternative Singer/Songwriter




"NYC Songwriter Releases Debut EP"

New York singer/songwriter Raye Zaragoza offers a set of shimmering folk with her debut EP Heroine (released last week). Throughout the four-track release, the young musician shows deeply intimate scenes of romance-searching (as in “Sleeplovers”) and innocent love (as in “Crazy Eyes”), continuing a tradition of plaintive guitar-based ballads while distinguishing herself with her voice. Comparisons to Norah Jones are almost inevitable but Zaragoza’s vocals are warmer, finding an intriguing spot between toddler-like dependence and the experience of an adult. While initially recognizable, Raye's voice—and music, at large—has a unique elusiveness. Raye Zaragoza celebrated the release of her debut EP last Wednesday at Rockwood Music Hall with The Natalie York Band. – Zach Weg - The Deli Magazine

"Raye Zaragoza Interview: Songstress Discusses Debut EP, Upcoming Tour & More"

Raye Zaragoza is a Native-American/Mexican/Taiwanese singer-songwriter who was born and raised in Manhattan, New York. She was born to be a musician and has been making all the right strides to make music. Her debut EP entitled “Heroine” was recently recorded at Red Bull Studios in New York City with Chris Tabron (credits include Beyoncé, Robin Thicke, Mobb Deep, Vacationer, Natalia Kills…) We got the chance to chat with the songbird. Check it out.

Q: What is your earliest memory of music?

A: My earliest memory of music would be listening to my dad play trumpet when I was a kid. He was in a mariachi band.

Q: Do you come from a musically gifted family?

A: My Dad always played the trumpet- but that’s really it! My siblings and I were all brought up doing musical theatre in New York. So both of them sing as well.

Q: What is your musical background? Are you vocally trained? What other instruments do you play?

A: I have been singing since I can remember. My parents used to make my siblings and me sing “Annie Get Your Gun” songs at family gatherings (my dad played “Sitting Bull” on Broadway). I started doing lots of musical theatre throughout middle school and high school. I was always in singing lessons since I was around 8 or 9. I started playing guitar in the 7th grade to impress a boy I liked. And I started playing piano in high school.

Q: How did you develop your skills as a songwriter? Do you feel your lyrics or themes have changed since beginning and how so?

A: I started writing poems in high school. I started a poetry blog that had only one follower- my friend Amelia. One day I read a bunch of my poems my friend Erica, and she said they sounded like rap songs. I then started turning my poems into songs (but not rap songs). Back then all of my songs were about being heartbroken. I’ve tried to expand my subject matter since then!

Q: I know that you were in Los Angeles for a while, what made you come back to the east coast?

A: My family moved me out to Los Angeles when I was fourteen. I always wanted to come back to New York. I’ve always been very attached to this city. I write many songs about it. Los Angeles had many opportunities too but I’m a lot happier on a daily basis as a New Yorker.

Q: How does the music scene in LA differ from here in NYC?

A: The NYC music scene is very nurturing for singer-songwriters. More so than LA from my personal experience. There are so many cafes and small bars in NYC where you’ll find a songwriter playing solo. And an amazing scene of open mics. You could go to an open mic every night and see a lot of great artists. LA may offer the same but possibly it’s the spread out nature of the city that made it less accessible for me. In NYC, you walk outside and it’s all there for you.

Q: I’m so curious to learn about your experience recording your debut EP entitled “Heroine” with Chris Tabron at Red Bull Studios in NYC. What was it like? What part of that experience do you really cherish?

A: It was an all around fairytale experience. Red Bull Studios is a dream for any recording artist. Chris Tabron and I have been friends for the passed few years. It was really great to work with someone I trust so much. He’s been hearing these songs since I wrote them. When I first wrote “Heroine” I played it for him and he said “keep working on the bridge.” That’s when I came up with the bridge that’s on the recording. We recorded the EP in a couple days at Red Bull over the course of a few months. I really cherish having been in such a beautiful studio with people who are close to my songs.

Q: What else can you tell us about your debut EP “Heroine”?

A: “Heroine” is really a snapshot of the passed 3 years of my life. I like to think of each song as a story. Each story being something I experienced over the passed few years. And the singer (in this case, me) being the “heroine” of each story.

Q: Your title track was released not too long ago. What provoked the song “Heroine”? What’s it about?

A: “Heroine” was written in about 7 minutes. Aside from the bridge that I later re-wrote. I’m honestly not really sure what it’s about- It means something different to me every night I play it. I’d like to think it’s about whatever each listener thinks it’s about.

Q: What is it about music that makes you keep doing it. The ‘struggling artist’ is so cliche. But why, music? Why is it so important for you to keep creating?

A: Writing and performing is an itch to me. I just have to keep scratching or I will go crazy. I feel like music is something that everyone in the world has in common. And It’s the best way for me to reach people. I remember as a kid thinking that writing songs was “the coolest thing” someone could do. I wish I thought of writing them myself sooner!

Q: Tell us more about your 2 month tour to promote your “Heroine” EP! You’ll be traveling with singer/songwriter, Natalie York, right? Were you friends previous to this? Have you been to these locations before and do you plan to video your journey?

A: I’m really excited about the tour. We’ve been planning it since January- I can’t believe we’re leaving next week. Natalie and I met about a year ago through mutual friends and being a part of the “music scene” here in NY. I haven’t played most of the cities we are going to- Natalie has. I hate staying in one place, so being on tour is so great for me. A life where all you have to worry about is traveling and playing shows is an absolute dream for me. The 2nd month will actually just be me on the west coast. Since I started playing music out there, it’s really nice to go back and play shows.

Q: When you come back from your tour what’s next for you?

A: When I come back from the tour, the plan is to write! I’ve been so busy planning the tour and EP release, there hasn’t much silence to create new stories. I’m really excited to get back, hibernate for the winter, and write! - Smoothie Tunes

"PREMIERE: Stream Raye Zaragoza’s Debut EP “Heroine”"

Stream Raye Zaragoza’s debut EP, Heroine, a beautiful collection of hypnotic love songs.

Raye Zaragoza‘s music is an effortless mix of old world charm and contemporary sonic seduction. On her debut EP, the New York-based, Pima singer channels both chanteuse and lovestruck acoustic balladeer.

At the heart of the EP is its title track, “Heroine”, which as we reported recently, is a lush and nostalgic honeyed love song evoking past and present simultaneously. Zaragoza has a knack for strong hooks and a commanding vocal presence that elevates her most pop-oriented track on the record, “Sleeplovers”, to sublime heights as it glides into the captivating hook: “falling in love / would be as easy as falling asleep”.

But wrapped around the melodic heart of this release, Zaragoza soars between the EP’s slow-burning, hypnotic opener “Wintertime” and the simple acoustic guitar accompaniment of closing track, “Crazy Eyes”.

Heroine is an assured debut that offers a glimpse into a rising talent in Indian Country—and the emergence of a compelling artist coming into her own. Highly recommended. - RPM.fm Indigenous Music Culture

"New Song Alert: Heroine by Raye Zaragoza"

New York-based indie singer songwriter Raye Zargoza has released a new track called Heroine, which will appear on her upcoming EP release by the same name, dropping on May 11th.

Her voice and music are unique with dashes of avant garde and tinges of Regina Spektor, Billie Holiday and Jeff Buckley. She has performed at venues all over the United States, written for a Nickelodeon show and has had her music featured in three feature films.

Zaragoza is hitting the road with fellow New York City-based singer songwriter Natalie York, and their first stop is right here in Boston at the House Of Blues on Saturday, May 2nd. Part of the show’s proceeds will benefit The Music Forward Foundation. - IndieMinded

"Raye Zaragoza (No 2958)"

From New York City is Raye Zaragoza a talented female singer-songwriter supported by Tim Basom. Christian Nourijanian, Desmond White and Goh Izawa.

“Heroine” is the latest single from Raye, the title track from Raye’s forthcoming debut EP set to be released on May 11th. The track shows off a delicate intro which I did find very similar to REM’s “Everybody Hurts” although the track takes a completely different direction to this with beautiful vocals from Raye and a great production.

Check out the single below and if you like what you hear, be sure to keep an eye out for Raye’s EP next month. - Hearty Vibes UK

"You Can Call Her Raye: Young Singer-Songwriter Takes Manhattan (and Brooklyn)"

Raye Zaragoza, Pima, who performs using the mononym Raye, has daddy issues—the good kind. Her father, the Broadway performer Gregory Zaragoza, instilled in her both a passion for music and the faith that there's money in it. "I've been singing since I was a little kid," she recalls. "I grew up watching him, and always wanting to do that. He and my mom started us at a very young age, me and my siblings. They would pay us to sing in front of our relatives. So, I would be singing, every other week, at some family dinner. We have videos of us singing and it sounds absolutely terrible. So, I really hope I've gotten better by now."
The 21-year-old singer-songwriter currently a regular presence on the New York City club scene, having played the Knitting Factory, the Bitter End, Arlene's Grocery, and other well-known venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn; in 2013, she was a featured performer at the LA Skins Music Fest. She has recorded some studio tracks, but stays focused on her live act. "A lot of artists love being in a studio because if you mess up at a take, you can do it over," she says. "You can reach that level of perfection that you want. Personally, I love singing live. I really love the adrenaline I get from being on stage. I mostly trained as a live performer, rather than a recording artist. So I always try to bring that technique into the recording studio." Her demo CD (available streaming at rayemusic.com) is a mixture of live recordings and studio tracks. "I try to create a continuity between being in the studio and being on stage."
Raye describes her sound as having "a classic influence. I a huge fan of Norah Jones and Billie Holliday. I grew up listening to classic rock, and classic jazz. I love the Beatles and Elliott Smith, and a lot of those classic song-writers and bands. I feel like they influence my writing. My voice is definitely influenced by a lot of jazz artists, especially Billie Holiday. I always thought their voices were so pure, and so beautiful. I always envied that, and want to embody something like that. So, I worked hard to create my own way of translating that kind of feeling." Different people recognized the similarity between her and Norah Jones before the singer really knew of her material. "I didn't start listening to her until after I had started performing. I'm always very flattered when people compare us." Raye's process is not unlike any other writer. "A typical day includes one hour of piano practice, one hour of guitar, maybe an hour of rehearsal for an upcoming show. Some days, I just spend the entire day writing—I don't practice anything, I just write songs, all day. I try to write for at least 30 minutes per day." Her songs have a distinct under-tone of sadness, which is a far cry from her personality. "A lot of my songs I write from other people's experiences. They're not all from personal experience. I think that sadness is some of the greatest inspiration. I find melancholy feelings to be very, very inspiring."
One of Raye's most recognizable songs, "Drink Me Dry," was included in Indian Country Today's best music tracks of 2013. She can't hide her exuberance at making the list. "I remember headlining a show in early 2014. And, someone came up to me and said 'I've heard of you. I just hear on the street that you're an upcoming artist.' That was the best feeling that I could possibly have—to hear that people know my music." She's currently recording an EP in a New York studio. "It should be released in the next few months," she says. "It should be pretty cool."

Raye's last performance took place on December 30 at the Bitter End; she intended to take the winter off but has just announced a last-minute gig at the Bitter End—tonight, February 4. After that, she'll be playing Bizarre Bar in Brooklyn on February 22, and Arlene's Grocery March 3. You can learn about future dates at her website rayemusic.com. - Indian Country Today


Still working on that hot first release.



Raye Zaragoza is a Native-American/Mexican/Taiwanese singer-songwriter who was born and raised in Manhattan, New York.  At the age of fourteen, she moved across the country to Los Angeles and has since continuously been on the move touring and sharing her music with people of all walks of life.  She has performed in more than fifteen states on the East and West Coasts as well as Mexico and France. 

Her obsession with music started as an infant listening to her father’s Mariachi music and at the age of five that obsession magnified into begging for Jewel’s “Pieces of You” album for Christmas. By age eleven, Raye’s iPod was filled with the tunes of Elliott Smith, The Beatles, Queen and Led Zeppelin. Immediately after graduating from high school, Raye moved out of her family’s home and began writing songs as a way to cope with insomnia. She has been voraciously writing songs ever since. 

Raye Zaragoza co-wrote a song for the Nickelodeon T.V. series “Wallykazam" and has three songs featured in three feature films, one of which was in the “Top Ten Movies to See” at The Los Angeles Film Festival.  Raye made the list of “Top Native American Music of 2013,” headlined at the 2013 LA Skins Music Festival and was a featured artist with FXConnectx Sound Systems at both NAMM 2013 in Anaheim and Summer NAMM 2013 in Nashville.  

Her debut EP entitled "Heroine" was recently recorded at Red Bull Studios in New York City with Chris Tabron (credits include Beyoncé, Robin Thicke, Mobb Deep, Vacationer, Natalia Kills…) and was released on May 11, 2015.  The title single “Heroine” has received acclaim across the United States and in the United Kingdom.  Also in May, she will be hitting the road for a 2 month tour or the East and West coasts to promote her "Heroine" EP.  Subscribe to follow the journey of her emerging career!

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