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--
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
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 lifehack.org
(photo credit: galaxy skin paint flickr/Hayley Riggins via rebloggy.com)
Sep 25, 2015
they are artists whose paintings go in books, approachable by anyone.
they are historians, observing their time, culture, God, ways.
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.
Mar 13, 2014
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!
Sep 25, 2013
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!
Jan 19, 2013
Nov 30, 2012
'tis the season, friends! And to me, it is the best season musically.
I love Christmas music so much. Yes, I was one of the ones sitting at my desk listening to it 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, smiling like a goon and looking starry-eyed into the yule-tide future. Christmas music embodies the purest, happiest composition, vocal performance, style, and content. It is a welcoming feast table that has stood strong and steady over time, with plenty of room for everyone to pull up a chair and eat their fill, or add they're own version of a popular dish. The point being: it's a place for everyone.
I can't think of many other types of music I enjoy singing to than Christmas standards. They're the good stuff, made up of little bits of jazz, torch, and croon. It can be big band, or it can be symphony. And I've been listening to the greatest of the greats this year. Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como. There is something especially welcoming and inclusive about their versions of Christmas songs.
This year, I'm so happy to just sit back and listen. Soak up all the good stuff. Listen to the greats, and enjoy the new dishes, too. Get a little taste of it all. Sit on the couch with my husband, make good meals, decorate my home with warmth, prayers, and hard working love, have good conversations with my friends, and you know - smile a little, laugh a little, look up from my world and look someone else in the eyes. Sometimes I can be so focused on having a voice and making it heard that I don't hear anything else around me.
Some newer Christmas music I've been enjoying this year:
Sufjan Stevens "Silver and Gold" - particularly "Justice Delivers Its Death" and "Christmas In the Room"
Sleeping At Last "Christmas Collection 2012" - particularly "Snow"
and some new/old ones I enjoy every year:
Joni Mitchell's "River"
Imogen Heap "Just For Now"
If you missed it last year, here's a version I recorded of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - and if you've been around a while, you might remember a version of "Merry Christmas, Darling." I'll try to get that up here, too. And maybe a little something new this year. We'll see, but first things first - sitting back and listening!
Enjoy, y'all. And Merry Christmas!
Sep 25, 2012
to all my faithful and loving preorder friends,
be looking out for an email with your delightful, long-awaited gift with some extra little goodies inside.
thank you so much for your patience and encouragement!