Things have changed since 2007, when Ray Lavender had everyone dancing with his smash hit "My Girl Got a Girlfriend."
The talented singer is no longer singed with Konvict Muzik, Akon’s label. Not feeling the direction the label was taking his debut album, he left on good terms, halting the development of that project.
Since then, he’s popped up occasionally on other artists' tracks. But for the most part, he’s been getting his acting career popping off, starring in various films (we hear that movie money is good.)
The ATL-native isn't done with music, however. He's back in the scene, making the music he wants, and he's having everyone dancing again with his new single, "Tequila."
With the success of "Tequila," Ray stopped by GlobalGrind to talk his music career, his movie career and how he's the life of the party.
Check it out below!
What you been up to?
Just working, man. I pushed the pause button on the music for a second, just to get my business right. You know how it goes; you see something about to happen — you’re in a car, and you see the accident about to happen and you respectfully get out of it before it blows up, and that’s what I did. I got out of the car before it had a car accident. Not saying that it blew up, I just didn’t want to be in there because I saw something that happened. So I had to back out respectfully.
So can we call the car Konvict Music?
We can call that car Konvict if you want (laughs).
What was the problem?
I can’t do a lot of name blaming or nothing, it was just at that moment and time the particular music they were picking wasn’t my music that I wanted to come out to. I didn’t want to dance to their drum. I wanted them to dance to my drum because they actually heard about me because of me. At first it was a single. We were going to go with the “Donkey Kong” single, and I just thought I could do a little bit better. Hence forth, I released the “Girl Got a Girlfriend” and it caught on fire. And we were trying to show them like, ‘This is how you do it. I want them to dance like this.’
So are you saying you were forced to do music you didn’t want to do?
Not forced, just wasn’t happy with how the album was already. It could have been more music done. It just wasn’t cooked yet. And we had some internal business affairs going on there that weren’t sitting too well. Everything is good, though. Just, you know, I’m a big boy. I want to go be a boss by myself.
If you said ‘Hey, Akon, do you want to jump on my record,’ what would he say?
That’s definitely a conversation that will happen. It’s just, right now I’m moving in this Ray Lavender movement and it’s working for me. I just want to see how it goes on my own.
Your first look is the “Tequila” record.
When we go out, it’s all about dancing, man. You want to have a good time when you go out. Nobody wants to have a bad time. And, me, I’m a walking party. Looking at the club, a lot of people drink, especially tequila. A lot of people like tequila, man. So I wrote a song about it. It came out great. It’s one of those high-energy fist-pumping songs.
It seems like there’s a bunch of different music genres in there.
A fusion. That’s why I tell a lot of people, I do music. I don’t really care what genre it is, if it’s exciting, and it sounds good and it’s fun, Ray Lavender is probably going to be on that record, man.
Is tequila your favorite drink?
You know what, I’m not a drinker.
How do you enjoy the club without drinking?
Like I said, I’m a walking party already. I will drink occasionally, casually, though.
What’s the best club in Atlanta?
I have a great time at the Compound and Velvet Room.
How often you go?
Being that I’ve been working so much, probably like once a month. It was kind of like twice a month when I was trying to figure out what records were working … because you got to see what’s playing in the club. If you don’t do your homework, you’re not going to end up on the radio. So you got to go in these places, and do your research on what’s playing, what’s pumping. And a record like “Tequila,” that’s what’s going on.
Is “Tequila” attached to a project?
Right now I’m having fun doing singles. Not promising a release date for an album yet. It’s coming, but right now I’m having fun releasing these singles. The next one is “We Love.” It’s a more R&B record because I sing. I love singing. It’s a more urban record and it’s big. It’s one of those Grammy-award winning records.
You’re going to throw a bunch of stuff out there, and see what sticks?
We’re definitely strategically moving. We’re playing chess. Like I said, I got a staff with me that’s an impeccable staff—they do this. They break records.
You’re also an actor, right?
You have a movie coming?
Soul Ties. They don’t have a date yet, which is strange, man, because it’s a big film. They had a big budget for that film. So I don’t know when it’s coming out. It’s a bunch of actors in it: Rocsi from 106 & Park, she played my love interest in this movie. It was cool. It was one of the first big sets I was on.
Were there any sex scenes?
Nah. But there was some kissing going on…I was just glad they kept on making us do it over. I was like ‘Hold on, I didn’t have my lips right.’
You were supposed to play Sam Cooke in a movie. What happened with that?
No, it’s still going on. They’re trying to get their funding right. They’re trying to make sure everything is everything. With movies like this, it takes awhile. It took awhile for Ray Charles to get their funding. A lot of people are scared to fund these kinds of movies.
What do you mean, movies based on black people?
Biopics. Not just black people. People are scared to invest into them until they see something. It’s kind of hard to see something if that artist is not here anymore. Thankfully, Ray Charles was here to coach Jamie along. Sam, of course, is not here. They say it’s scary to invest that kind of money and then the movie doesn’t do what it does. But I don’t understand why it wouldn’t do it. Everybody loves Sam Cooke and all the new age people want to know where that “Change Going to Come” song came from.
Do you prefer doing movies or music?
Music. I love music, man.
It seems like movies could pay off more.
I cannot lie, they pay you your check right there. They don’t pay you half. They give you your check right there. It goes in the bank and it clears. That would be the plus about movies — they pay you big, especially ones with the big budgets. Music you kind of have to grind that out.
Back to music, have you seen the effect “Tequila” has in the club yet?
Oh, it’s a party, baby. We got confetti dropping down the sky and all type of stuff. My boy called me the other day: he was like ‘Yo, Ray. I’m in Orlando. You’re on the JumboTron in the club and they’re playing your video ‘Tequila” back-to-back. It’s “Tequila” night out here.’ So it’s working. And I’m getting calls from DJs like ‘Yo, Ray you back. You banging it out in the club. They’re losing their minds.’ This is what they did for “Girl Got a Girlfriend.” It lets me know, we on to something. Because they wouldn’t call if it was wack.