In the ever-changing music industry, one lucrative avenue still available to new and emerging artists is film and TV placements. From the initial stages of songwriting, to the sonic sculpting necessary for sync placements, Chris Ray Productions can bring your music to life.
Chris Ray is a Nashville-based producer, songwriter, engineer, programmer, and multi-instrumentalist. After graduating from Belmont University with a degree in Music Business in 2013, Chris’ projects have had sync placements on ABC’s hit show “American Crime,” the CW’s break-out comedy “No Tomorrow,” CMT’s “Nashville,” and Showtimes’ “Shameless.” Chris also recently won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition in the country category with a song he wrote and produced. On songs where Chris himself is an artist, he has released music under the moniker Daydream Catapult. Chris continues to work with Nashville’s best up-and-coming artists to create some of the most interesting blends of pop for cinematic and TV uses.
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2 ReviewsEndorse Chris Ray Productions
I worked with Chris on several challenging projects and he really took the time in every single case to fine tune everything until it was perfect! Not only did everything come out spot on, each time it was delivered quicker than expected. Trust me when I say, don't bother looking anywhere else, you will not be disappointed!
I have worked with Chris multiple times, and his work ethic is off the charts. He attacks each of his projects with a tenacity most people can only hope to have someday. Do yourself a favor and reach out to him first!
Interview with Chris Ray Productions
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: My favorite part is working with vocalists and inspiring them to do their best. Some vocalists are SOOOOOO critical of themselves, and I get it, but we also need to have fun doing this, because the end result will show it, believe me. I love it when I can make a vocalist crack up laughing, then show them the difference in that vocal take compared to the self-conscious take they did previously. I have yet to buy a rubber chicken to keep on hand for extreme cases, but I’m not saying that I'm beyond that either!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The biggest question has to do with price and turn around, and the answer will always vary. Are we doing a solo vocal and piano for a song you already wrote and have the vocals for? That will obviously take much less time than a fully produced pop song with 80 tracks, live and programmed instrumentation needed, and a separate mix and master. All depends, so call me and lets talk about it!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I guess it would be this: to the vast majority of the listening population at large, most people don’t really get how much a producer is shaping the overall sound: obviously great vocals are needed, and that will never change, but the producer has his hands in so many different pots and is responsible for so many things. Structure, vibe, instrumentation, all are critical.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Besides the main questions I already laid out in the question about my work process, I will ask a number of questions that can give me a good idea of where they are in their career: is this just a hobby for them? Have they had any measurable success? What are their long term goals? Its incredibly important for a client and a producer to be able to gauge each other in order to see if we will be a good fit together.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Ask your producer for proof that they can deliver! I can provide my clients with a number of TuneLink weblinks that verify my music has been placed in film and TV settings.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Just one – a very strong radio so I could get the hell up out of there and get back to making music!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: After discovering a love for music at the late age of 19, I played in a number of rock bands in the Gulf Coast of FL… I eventually relocated to Nashville where I met the love of my life while at an open mic night, and where I eventually earned a degree in Music Business from Belmont University. While there, I was taken under the wing of one of my professors, who introduced me to the world of music for film and TV placements. Since then, I have had a number of successes and also had the pleasure of working with a number of ultra-talented vocalists and other music professionals.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Star Trek next generation Captain Picard has passionate love child with Kate Upton in Tahiti during the summer solstice. LOL My style is the intersection points of electronic and acoustic music in a Venn Diagram.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Julia Michaels, hands down, because her songwriting is top shelf, and her voice is utterly amazing!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Perfection is boring! Its the rough edges that often make something truly unique.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Living in Nashville for the last ten years has made me partial to the genre singer-songwriter. You can go out any night of the week in Nashville and find someone singing with a single acoustic guitar and moving an audience. Most great music either tells a story, or makes you want to physically react in some way: dance, cry, rage. In this sense, the lyrics drive the story and the production drives the sonic reaction. I love helping to shape both and make something truly memorable. Recently, I have also ventured more into the Pop realm, because there are so many different things you can do to a song in terms of production. I also have worked on songs in the EDM, hip-hop, country, and rock genres.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Typically, I will initially advise on overall song structure before doing any recording or production. You have to strive for excellence in every stage of the recording process, so the underlying song should be looked at first. Typically, most people have a better song inside the song they are currently giving me. After lyrical, melodic, and structural song changes are addressed, we will look at key, tempo, and vocalist. We will answer the following questions: Do you want to sing your own song? Should we hire a better vocalist? What kind of production are we aiming for with this song? Stripped down? Fully Produced? What genre? What songs are similar in style that we can emulate for overall sonics?? These are all important things to answer and be on the same page with the client. After those steps, we will record the primary instrument and vocals, then I will get to work on your song; adding instrumentation as discussed, programming tracks, and arranging the song into a world of sound. Maybe a third party mix is needed at that point, or maybe we head straight to mastering. Lastly, I will submit songs to various publishing companies I work with to try and land sync placements.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My wife, myself, and a long-time friend of ours wrote the song that is on my music player on Sound Better, titled “Beeline.” After producing it myself and playing all the instruments, we connected up with Tim Riehm, a very talented star-in the making, and had him sing our song. The song ended up winning the John Lennon Songwriting contest, in the country category, and landed us a whole bunch of goodies and PR opportunities.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on a pop crossover song with an incredibly talented vocalist based here in Nashville. I'm also always working on music I have written with my wife, another amazingly talented vocalist, that we self-produce for eventual placement in film and TV projects.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Steve Vito, hands down. He is an electronic producer that I have collaborated with on a number of projects. He is extremely talented, and he can deliver results.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: They both have their place. For warmth of sonics, analog can't be duplicated. But for ease of, well, almost everything else, digital remains king.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise you that once you hire me, your music is my music. Meaning, I will treat your songs as if I wrote them myself, and I will pursue your satisfaction to the best of my abilities!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is seeing the bigger picture. Sometimes a client needs perspective. What are we doing with this song and why are we doing it? If we have a clear goal to work towards for every song, we can figure out how to get there together. Everything else is just details!
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring passion, dedication, and experience to my clients’ songs. Lets make this music sound as good as it can!
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: In my sound treated home studio, I run Protools 12 on a Macbook Pro. I do the majority of my vocal and instrument tracking through my Neumann U87, interfaced through an Apollo Twin. I I have a number of other mics I will employ for stereo tracking scenarios. I have a number of real instruments (acoustic guitar, Les Paul electric guitar, ukulele, hand pans, mandolin, bass) and I do a lot of my midi programming through Kontakt. I have more plugs that I care to go into, as that would take hours to explain in detail, lol. I monitor with my Genelec mains and I also have a pair of Tannoy’s. I have an isolation booth to track vocals and other acoustic instruments within. I also live in Music City, so I have easy access to larger studios if I need them for tracking full bands or orchestral ensembles.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Max Martin would be the holy grail of pop production. He is the essence of what it takes in these days to build a truly memorable work of recorded art: a team!
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most commonly, I will advise on all aspects songwriting, compose and record acoustic instruments and vocalists, do arrangements (electronic and acoustic), program all sorts of tracks, and mix.