Twenty two-year-old Arin Ray was introduced to the world on X-Factor as a teen with a voice and swagger beyond his years. Now, the Cincinnati native is emerging into a full-fledged artist with an R&B sound perfect for the times. The visuals for "Stressing," premiering on PAPER for the first time, show an artist who understands the nuances of modern relationships, backed by the kind of track that's perfect to chill to. See the video and read our chat with Ray, below:
Britney Spears was your mentor on the X Factor. What's your relationship now?
Yeah, we don't have much of one, wasn't really one there to begin with though. It was a Television show so... you know how that goes.
Going from a show like that to a real music career can be a more winding road than a lot of people understand. What has the experience taught you?
It definitely has been a trying experience, but it taught me to work hard as fuck for what I want. It showed me that I had tons of work to do, it actually made me stronger. The best thing was to lose.
You opened up for H.E.R., What was that experience like?
One of my favorite things I've done to date. Such an incredible experience, performing to a sold out crowd every night. There was always great energy, the experience taught me a lot about a live show as well. H.E.R was amazing every night, shout-out to her and the team.
Who are your main musical influences?
Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Babyface, Bee Gees, Quincy Jones, Ye, but I take from everything though so mostly any music with a great vibe.
Where do you see your career going over the next few years?
Hopefully a few number ones, Grammys, a lot of touring, traveling the world and connecting with the world on a bigger scale through my music. I just want to continue to build my catalog and help build my own artist, producers and engineers.
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What excites you most about the industry and making music? What frustrates you most?
I think we're starting to gravitate to a better era of music I guess. I like that music is very available to everyone these days. I get frustrated when artists don't put any effort into making good music.
What can you tell us about your new album?
I can tell you that Platinum Fire is refreshing, soulful, full of vibes and good stories. I've got some great features, musicians and producers that collaborated so check the credits for sure. I'd ask you to listen from top to bottom.
Photo: Matthew Suarez