Raymond “Ray” Angry is a brilliant keyboardist, composer, performer, and record producer. Music has been a stronghold in Angry’s life and continues to be a dominating factor as he continues to climb the ladder to success.
Angry, who is classically trained in music, earned his bachelor’s and master degree in classical and jazz piano. Angry’s work is incomparable, which is why several mainstream artists respect and appreciate his musical style.
Angry’s fearless and courageous nature for music has allowed him to work with Queen Latifah, the late Whitney Houston, The Roots, Marsha Ambrosius, Diddy, Yolanda Adams, Q-Tip, and the list goes on. The Florida-native has also been a composer in television and film including, “Single Ladies,” “The Cookout II,” “City Lax,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” and “Top Five” starring Chris Rock.
Angry’s musical accolades exemplify hard work, but also creativity and originality. Angry earned the nickname “Mister Goldfinger” as everything he touches turn to gold. His most recent project, Supreme Sonacy Volume I, received wonderful reviews and features singer/songwriter Nadia Washington.
Singersroom.com spoke with the talented musician about his love for music, working with a plethora of mainstream artists, his latest record, studying music, and much more.
Check out our interview with Mr. Angry!
The Name “Ray Angry” – Angry is really my last name and my first name is Raymond.
Musical Journey Beginning in Florida – I was always involved in the arts from the time I was little. I like to consider myself a “Fame” baby. In high school, I played the classical piano. My parents recognized my love for music at a young age, and I started singing and playing in church. Music has always gravitated to me naturally. My musical genres growing up was classical and gospel music. When I went to college, I was studying classical and jazz piano at Howard University in D.C. I believe I was a triple threat because here I was, studying music, and studying others’ artistry like Charles Covington and Geri Allen.
When I attended Howard, I began working with 90’s R&B group’s Shai. The group was around during the Mary J. Blige, Keith Sweat, and Jodeci era. I also collaborated with several gospel artists likeYolanda Adams, Walter Hawkins, so it was a great start for my career. I even played music for Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and other political gigs. After I had graduated from Howard, I moved to New York to pursue a career in music. Everything started opening up for me in New York. I started working with Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Rick Ross, and Joss Stone.
Musical Influences – My musical influences are all over the place. I enjoy listening to Sergei Rachmaninoff. He is a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. I also would say Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones is also on the top of he list. All of these great artists have inspired me to create music that is meaningful and develop your own style. You can study the greats, but you should always strive to stand out by creating something that is fresh and most importantly, real in your eyes.
Studying Music at an Academic Institution – I would say it depends on the individual’s focus in music. For me, going to school and studying music was beneficial. I had access to teachers and students who helped me work on my craft. At Howard , I worked with the jazz department when I started playing classical music. My time at Howard made me realize education plays a role in musical development. I encourage young people to study their musical talents. It is imperative and necessary.
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – I started appearing on the show thanks to The Roots member Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and James Poyser, the producer of the show. The Roots came to NY to do a jam session, and they invited me to join them. The team was impressed with my talent and told me to come back next week to perform on the Jimmy Fallon. It was like, “What are you doing next week, we need another performer, and we need you to learn 30 songs by tomorrow.” They recognized my musical talent and that’s how I became a regular on the show.
Collaborating with the Roots and Other Artists – Outside of being a regular show on the Jimmy Fallon, show, I worked with Questlove on the music for Chris Rock’s movie, Top Five. The first record I worked on with The Roots was “Peace of Light” (a dope record by the way). Questlove is great to work with because he is truly someone with high musical caliber. We also did the theme song for the Amy Schumer show and Vh1’s sitcom, Single Ladies. Other artists and producers were spreading the word about my work, and that’s how I started working with other artists like Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone, Alicia Keys, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill. There’s just so many more, too many to list.
John Lennon Tribute at MSG in December – It was incredible working with the Roots on the John Lennon Tribute. It was an opportunity for us to take music to a whole different level. We started off with a verse from the Roots’ very own Black Thought, and the performance was mind-blowing. Everything happened so organically during that tribute. Bilal was singing, which was massive. He wrote a song about losing his mother because we all know what’s its like to lose someone we love, especially your mother. I can’t even explain the impact that song has on people’s lives. The song “Mother” created an amazing movement.
Latest Project, Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1 – It is album of collections from various artists in contemporary jazz. The album is on the Revive/ Blue Note label. The track I did on this album was called “Celebration of Life Suite: Awakening.” It was called celebration because we owe it to humanity to bring people together and celebrate life. We need to be aware of who we are as a people. We have people in the world fighting for their identity which is why we need to come to the realization of certain things in life.
Your Song, “Le Monde Tourne Sans Toi” (The World Turns Without You) with Anne Sila In The Top 25 Of The Charts – Working with Anne was an amazing experience; she’s an extremely talented artist from Europe. I produced eight songs with Anne, including “Le Monde Tourne Sans Toi.” The single was released this year, and it was number 21 on the charts without radio airplay which is truly amazing. I am waiting and anticipating for the next single to come out; I like to call her the “amazing problem,” because Anne is awesome.
Words of Encouragement for Current and Future Musicians – There are a few important things that I will tell folks who would like to start a career in the music business. First and foremost, study your craft and love what you do. Also, you have to create something original or have your own style. You should strive to be original even if people may not like what you compose all the time. You have to take the good with the bad because you’re not going to please everybody. Study and know your craft is the best piece of advice I can give anyone. My father said something to me that made a lot of sense, and I applied it to my life. He said, “Do your best, leave the nest, and forget the rest.” To have a successful career in music or whatever your career you decide, you have to believe in yourself.