Zachary Ray developed a passion for music singing in his dad’s church at a young age. That passion for music lead him to study vocal performance and music business at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.
Zachary sees music as a tool that can be used to bring transformation and healing for people around the world. For 12 years, he’s been using the gift of music to teach and train aspiring musicians. 9 out of those 12 years he’s been living in India, using his experience and education to teach at Calcutta School of Music and start a company to teach and train young musicians and vocalists and build a collaboration of artists from India and America. He met his wife while working in India, and they have a 3 year old, who was born in India and a 5 mo. Old born in America.
Lisa: Hello Zachary! How did your interest in music develop and who were your early influences?
Zachary: I come from a family that really encouraged me to pursue music at an early age. I grew up listening to Depeche Mode, Stevie Wonder, Duran Duran, Sting.
Lisa: How has the experience at Berklee been?
Zachary: It was an incredible experience that really challenged me. I was surrounded by top musicians, faculty and students and everyday was an inspiration.
Lisa: For 12 years, you’ve been teaching aspiring musicians and 9 out of those 12 years you’ve been living in India. Tell me more about that, and how has this experience influenced you?
Zachary: I originally went over to India to work with family friends and ended up staying working with Calcutta School of Music. I’ve met some wonderful friends in India who are like family. The wealth of talent in India is amazing. The world needs to hear more of the music coming out of India. India will forever be part of my story and family’s story. SO So much love for our friends and family and the musicians we’ve worked with there. Shout out to “Whale in the pond” and “Paloma and Adil” , two bands you need to check out.
Lisa: You have an amazing voice; do you practice every day?
Zachary: Thank you, that’s really kind. Not everyday but I try to take 30 minutes out of my day to warm up and practice.
And what advice would you give to upcoming singers with no experience?
Zachary: Find a mentor, surround yourself with talented musicians that will inspire and encourage you, listen to all styles and genres of music.
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Lisa: I loved your latest single “Rebel Hearts”. What inspired you to write it?
Zachary: The current state that our world is in. There is so much injustice in our world and this is a song for those you are standing up and saying Not On My Watch and rebelling against the current status quo.
Lisa: What is your favorite song you’ve ever written?
Zachary: Let Go co-wrote with my friend Jillian. I love that song!
Lisa: What is your favorite instrument, and why?
Zachary: Piano, I grew up listening to my Nana play, I took lessons and it’s my favorite instrument to be accompanied by.
Lisa: How do you nourish your creative side when you’re not working?
Zachary: Reading, listening to music, meeting friends
And how do you avoid burnout?
Zachary: Take breaks, listen to podcasts, watch concerts, talk with other creatives.
Lisa: Do you get creative blocks? If so, what do you do to move past them?
Zachary: Yes I do. Set that project to the side, go for a run, take a break and pick it back up again. work with other songwriters or creatives on a project.
Lisa: What does your curiosity look like?
Zachary: I love meeting new people. You can almost always find me talking to strangers.
Lisa: How do you explore things?
Zachary: Travel, Talk with People.
Lisa: What are you currently working on, and what’s next for you?
Zachary: I’m working on a re-release of my song Let Go and a remix. And Currently working on an EP with a few new songs.
Lisa: At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Zachary: Hope, Peace and Love. A sense of wonder of something bigger than themselves. Something more than the temporary and that’s eternal.