by Jake Espinoza
A couple of weeks ago Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released a new single that had everyone wondering, ‘Who is this Ray Dalton guy killing it on the hook?’
Thanks to the power of the internet we found out he’s an R&B/Gospel Singer, Amy Winehouse fan and Seattle resident. We were also able to reach out and set up a quick phone interview.
Huge thanks to Ray for taking the time to chat with us about the new song and Seattle’s music scene.
How’d the project with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis come together?
They gave me the song–it was called Hope before it was called Can’t Hold Us— and it wasn’t done yet. It didn’t even have a chorus really. Lewis came to me and said, ‘let’s do a practice run.’ We were in the studio, and I made something up not thinking it was going to be the chorus but they were like, ‘Ray, that’s perfect!’ so it ended up being the chorus.
And then Ben (Macklemore) is like the bionic man in writing. He went (fast forwarding sound) and said ‘Ray, say this.’
Where did you record the song at?
We recorded at their studio—at Ryan Lewis and Macklemore’s studio.
Have you guys had a relationship for a while?
We’ve had a relationship for a while. The first song I did with them was Wings; I’m the opera singer in the background. They heard me sing with a guy named Sol, and Ryan was like ‘Hey, you’re good. I want to meet you.’ So I went to their studio.
With music and baseball and things like that, you have to take your one chance to prove yourself because you might not get another one.
So Ryan played a beat, and was like ‘what would you do to this?’ and so I made this cool little beat and we just have been friends ever since.
How long ago was your first introduction?
Like five months ago, maybe six months ago.
Nice, so recently.
What was the name of the track you did with Sol?
It’s called I Need Your Love. It hasn’t come out yet. It’s a really good song, hopefully it will come out soon.
We’re looking forward to hearing it. Do you have any projects that you’ve been working on?
Yeah. I don’t really use the lingo that everyone uses—the Ep, the OP, the WWWP. I don’t really know any of that. So, I’m going to be releasing seven songs, and I’ll have some songs singing with Camilla Recchi. She’s an amazing singer. She’s a better singer than I am, and she’s one of my best friends.
Do you have a timeline for that album’s release?
I want it to be done by October. I’m pretty sure it will be done by October, but I don’t want to rush my art. Because when its rushed it sounds rushed.
Is it going to be an online release?
Yeah, it will be available on RayDalton.com. The site should be finished in a week or so.
Since the song has come out, have more people been approaching you for feature work?
I think they’re recognizing me. Before I worked with Macklemore, Sol was the first person I worked with. I like to sing, and I’m always trying to become better and learn things so when someone approaches me about working together I’m usually like, ‘Okay, I’ll sing with you.’
How is it being a part of Seattle’s hip-hop scene right now?
We have so many types of styles. You name it Seattle has it. If you go to California you have the Bay, and if you go down south you have that style of hip-hop, but Seattle is like a melting pot. There are so many varieties of artists. It’s a good thing.
Why do you think its so diverse?
Seattle is just ‘Do You.’ It’s like a chestnut, and all chestnuts taste different. Everyone tries to be different, maybe that’s everywhere else to. But feel like it’s more here.