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Cloud Ray Interview

Behind the Beats: Cloud Ray on Music, Tours, and “Drip”

In this interview, A&R Factory welcomes Cloud Ray, a Hip Hop and Pop artist from New Jersey, USA, known for his innovative blend of genres and energetic performances. Cloud Ray discusses his new track “Drip,” his musical influences, and how his sound has evolved over the years. From early inspirations like Usher and Nicki Minaj to performing at major festivals and embarking on international tours, Cloud Ray shares insights into his creative process, collaborations, and what fans can expect from his live shows.

Cloud Ray, welcome to A&R Factory. Before we get into your red-hot new track, Drip, could you share your sonic origin story?

Hello A&R Factory, thank you so much for welcoming me to your platform! I am a Hip Hop & Pop Artist from New Jersey, USA and I have been creating music as ‘Cloud Ray’ for the past 4 years now. Artists like The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Ludacris, and J. Cole who have inspired big changes in the music landscape and the music industry continue to inspire me.

My music definitely has hints of all the aforementioned artists but I try to always retain originality in what I do by breaking down genre barriers while still paying my respects to those who came before me. Growing up being surrounded by many different genres and styles of artistry, I was able to choose from a collective of my favorite genres and mash them together in a way that felt distinctive to me and who I am as an artist. My very first release, ‘Urban City Elegance’ garnered over 1 million streaming listeners and the music builds on that every day.

What were some of the early influences that shaped your sound?

 Some of the early influences that shaped my sound came from artists like Usher, Kanye West, and even Nicki Minaj. Hip Hop served as an outlet for me to express my feelings as well as a place for me to expand on my creativity. These artists always bring a unique sonic package that stamps many of their records as timeless hits. The Black Eyed Peas introduced me to a blend of Hip Hop, Pop, and EDM that really set a foundation in the music industry for my music to even be possible and accepted. I was always a fan of the way EDM music had a party vibe to it. I love when you can go somewhere and feel a collective uplift in energy and excitement. For me, I found that going to roller skating rinks, carnivals, amusement parks, and even nightclubs, where this music was often played, locked in core memories for me. As an artist, I knew that I wanted to give back the same feelings and experiences that both Hip Hop and Pop music have offered me throughout my life.

Where has your music taken you so far?

I have been truly blessed to see where my music could take me. In 2023, my music took me on a 4 month US tour to many of the major cities where people were listening to my songs. Most recently, I embarked on a new US tour that started in February 2024 to target cities I have previously been to as well as cities that I haven’t. I also ventured overseas for the first ever time in my career to Europe where I performed in multiple countries including France and England. I have made it to major award shows like the BET Awards and The Grammys as well as many festivals including A3C Festival, Rolling Loud, and SXSW.

How has your sound evolved since your debut? Can you describe some key milestones which have defined who you are as an artist today?

This is a great question. My sound has evolved in such a way that makes me feel closer to finding freedom in whatever genre I do while my voice and approach are still identifiable as Cloud Ray. I think through new experiences and an ever-evolving soundscape, change is inevitable. With this freedom, I can always deliver something fresh and exciting. I am also able to explore my cultural roots as well as collaborate with other talented artists. Some of the key milestones that have defined me as an artist today come from my sound evolving. ‘Burn It Down’ turns the heat up for the summer while shining a light on my Caribbean roots whereas my latest single ‘We Need’ showcases the more vulnerable side of me that I don’t share that deeply too often.

How did your collab with Tati Dior come about, and what was the creative process behind Drip?

The collaboration with Tati Dior came together when I was searching for the right female to put on the track. I remember my team suggesting that we pitch the song to her and when they reached out to her she responded that she loved the track and was all in. When I found out that she was going to be on the record, I was beyond excited. I knew that she would bring the level of professionalism, quality, enthusiasm and creative style to this record that only she could bring. This record was originally meant to be a part of ‘Urban City Elegance’ which was released in 2021 but it was eventually decided that it would be better as a standalone single. While that EP showcased songs about heartbreak and healing, ‘Drip’ was written about female empowerment and luxury living. In 2024, it’s such a great feeling to have this song finally be released with the best feature on it.

Are there any upcoming shows your fans should look forward to? What can your fans expect when they see you on stage?

Yes! I will be performing in San Diego on June 21st and then Los Angeles on June 22nd. Currently I am on a US tour until November and more dates will be announced soon. More information regarding my upcoming shows can be found on Spotify, or by searching ‘Cloud Ray’ on Songkick or Bandsintown. When you see a live Cloud Ray performance, you can expect a high energy, crowd participation moments, and connectivity. I typically have merchandise for sale at my shows and sometimes you might get a sneak peek into what’s next from me.

What’s next for Cloud Ray?

New content is always on the way and I am currently working on a few collaborations with some very talented artists! I am currently on tour with new dates and cities being announced soon. I have a major announcement in September that I cannot wait to share but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out what it is. You can find me on all socials @cloudraymusic so tap in with me!

A&R Factory, I want to thank you again for interviewing me today and giving me the opportunity to step into the spotlight of your world for a brief moment. I want to thank all the readers tuned in for your continued support and I look forward to the next time that I get to talk to you. Stay blessed, stay lit, and one love.

Discover more about Cloud Ray via his official website.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast