Aug 10, 2016


It's been a few years since the floodgates have really been opened for words & music.  I released Royalty in 2012 after a several years of writing, preproduction, recording, re-pre-production, and re-recording.  I'm really thankful for those experiences.  Things that feel like running in circles are really tilling up good soil; things that feel like steps back have a way of taking you forward, truly, if you just keep going.

Royalty was well received, better than I anticipated.  I was just so excited to have created something I felt was honest to me and that had great instrumentation and sound quality (thank you again, you know who you are) - I didn't have many expectations.  I was just happy to have created.  I felt the fear and did it anyway.

In 2012 I got married, which comes with an onslaught of life changes, new jobs, creating routine, learning/sharing roles when life goes from "for one" to "for two", and building home.  Then we decided, after lots of praying, to take down home, quit jobs, and travel for several months at a time (ministry school, volunteer opportunities) through 2014-2015.  We lived with family and worked some in the in-between months.  I would not trade those experiences for anything. 

The last four years I have written a lot personally (journal), but no music.  So much was in a constant state of change and adjustment, perhaps that took up most of my creative channels.  Sometimes I would cry, thinking I wasn't really a legitimate maker of anything;  other times I would hear a gentle voice assuring that it would come again in its own time, like it always has.  To not rush or force it.

We have settled back down in the states/home, and words have finally decided to come up and out along with some sound.  Where writing words has always been my way of sorting out my thoughts and emotions, music has been a therapy.  It is fun and simple and makes no sense, yet has some kind of order that makes it beautiful.

Some helpful prep work/propelling in the process--

  • Reading "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Voice lessons with Joyce, voice coach of my high school career (hello full circle)
  • Reading poetry (so far I've gone through Cummings, Whitman, Frost and Longfellow)
  • Reading writer's autobiographies (Lewis, Welty)
  • Caffeine

Jan 4, 2016


For me, there is no time in which lack of making music is actually not making music.

I am constantly inputting.  Input returns output.

I am so excited to write more and create some in 2016.  Once we returned from Israel, I felt I needed to input a lot more of what I'm naturally curious about and interested in.  To check out poetry anthologies from the library, go on walks, and read books that I'm actually interested in, not books I should be interested in.

The last few years have been a becoming and a maturing, a losing and a gaining.  Walking away from the shoulds and stepping into what is.  Going on grand adventures and clearing up what I actually want out of this life.  What to let go of and what to hold onto.

There is so much more to gain when we let go of things. 

I also looked up the Myers Briggs Harry Potter characters, and I'm a Remis Lupin, so, there's that too.

Note to self:  a great article on a book I'm excited to read in 2016, Wired to Create:  Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind

Oct 5, 2015

some helpful readings

it's always nice to find affirming and helpful teaching for your craft.  these two articles have been feeding my soul, letting me know I'm not alone and that the traits or struggles that I feel are debilitating or disqualifying are actually blessings to believe in, fight for, and push into.

20 Things Only Highly Creative People Would Understand, via

It'll be alright on the night: how musicians cope with performance stress, via The Guardian

(photo credit: galaxy skin paint flickr/Hayley Riggins via

Sep 25, 2015

the value of poets

they are artists whose paintings go in books, approachable by anyone.

they are historians, observing their time, culture, God, ways. 

poets preserve.

they do what artifacts and ruins and history books can only do in part.

they put flush, blood and marrow to a people and their ways.

Sep 16, 2015

being a listener (or, breaking silence)

being a listener (or, breaking silence)


Projects & products don't make musicians.


Be a listener

for your life

your art

for your life to be enjoyed full

for sounds to feelings, and concrete skyscrapers.

Even the birds have bread.

To be a creator you must be a listener.


Don't force it.

Gathering up true life, the unglamorous and unprompted and uncurated,

finding the fray of self and others.

This does not make an illegitimate musician

but an all the more genuine person, artist, and song crafter.

We don't have to treat songs like the American Dream.


No artist has ever been measured solely by the number of works created.


I'm coming to terms with the whole idea of a project.

What's the point?  My name, my face?  To share?

To be happy?  To create?

To do a new thing?

My goal, I think, is to write music I'd like to listen to -

this includes on a bus, on a road trip, or while running through the woods -

and to set a table for heaven and earth to meet.


I'll see you there soon,


Mar 13, 2014

ROYALTY on Noisetrade's New & Notable!

The Samantha Ray camp is so excited to finally offer the ROYALTY EP for FREE on one of our favorite music sites, NOISETRADE.  We are featured on the main page as one of their current "New & Notable" artists, and are so excited for people to hear this music perhaps for the first time this spring.  

Spread the good news and the good tunes for all to enjoy!


Team SR

Sep 25, 2013

Re-releasing the ROYALTY EP on October 4th!

imagine this - beautiful Raleigh skyline view, a coffee roasting warehouse open to the night air, friends, and a pretty acoustic set of live music.  i am SO excited to re-present the ROYALTY EP in limited edition physical copies to celebrate.  everyone is invited, i hope you can make it!  crowns may or may not be included.

Sep 2, 2013


fall is my favorite time of year.

many of the songs on the ROYALTY EP were written in those magical, transitional months between summer and fall in the North Carolina mountains, and i think you can hear a little bit of that in the songs.  i always long to capture those moments in sound.

the ROYALTY EP had its first, digital-only debut in October of last year.  my hope was to have you enjoy the music at the time of year it was meant for.  the songs really do come alive in your car, windows down, with the first hints of autumn air blowing through.

to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of its release, i've paired up with local designer Tiffany Jones to re-release the ROYALTY EP for a very limited edition of physical copies - in hopes to get those copies in your hands to enjoy afresh this fall.  100 copies of the EP will be printed with Tiffany's beautiful work and the same songs that hopefully have gotten richer with time.

to celebrate the re-release, i'll be playing a show (details TBA!) and you will NOT want to miss it! 

can't wait!


Jan 19, 2013

things to come

i am so hopeful for the things to come this year.
2013 is going to be a wonderful year musically.  i am so excited.  when my husband and i sat down to think about what the year is bringing, and what we're bringing to it, i immediately knew that spending time creating will be huge part.  writing songs.  setting up my space to be as conducive to this as possible.  meeting with others in my area who are like-hearted and i can sit under and learn from.  and other things i can't see yet.
things around here were crazy during through november and december.  i've always been appreciative of the quiet that January brings.  i need it. with Royalty's release last october, I've been happy to let it run its immediate course without too much push on my end.
in december, i was able to see the tiny first fruits of the investment in the Royalty project, which i'm so excited to reinvest into music.  i also partnered with The Music Bed, a company that provides licensing for use of songs in small films, which has been a great experience.  they listed me on a staff pick recently, which felt awesome!  

i have heard such positive and supportive feedback from so many of you.  i can't tell you thank you enough for enjoying with me what i enjoy doing so much!
i can't wait to share new sounds and songs, ideas, and thoughts with all of you.  please keep checking in!  there is much to come!

Dec 3, 2012

A Bundle of Christmas Covers, for you!

here are those christmas goodies in a tiny little bundle!  i am imagining it wrapped haphazardly in brown paper and tied in green yarn, with a teeny bow on top.  enjoy - it's for you, for free!  and don't forget to sit back and relax in this sweet, quick-paced season.