Ray Covington sings the type of songs that expresses the feelings and emotions people have when they’re in love like sometimes only a song can do. His new album Rayflections has the talented R&B singer crooning over smooth soulful jams, but he also produces some great club-friendly tracks as well.
The Rayflections tour starts Friday, August 24, with an album release party at Trocaderos Nightclub and Restaurant. For more information, contact Trocaderos at 612-465-0440 or www.trocaderos.com.
Covington’s love for music was instilled in him from an early age. Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Covington moved to in the Twin Cities when he was seven years old and has lived here ever since. The youngest of seven children, Covington says his older siblings inspired him to want to sing. “I started singing when I was four. My older brothers and sisters had a band called New Genesis, and I used to watch them and I knew what I wanted to do,” he says.
With two albums under his belt, his self-titled debut in 2001 and Life Stories in 2004, Covington says that he feels he has evolved with his third album, Rayflections. He explains that this album is much more attuned to his life now, as many of the songs are personal accounts of situations that have happened recently.
“The first two albums were emancipations of things I felt, experienced and thought of as child that turned into songs later in life, whereas Rayflections was part of me and who I am now,” Covington says
The album starts out strong with the upbeat “Tonight,” which is followed by the just as danceable “Your Lovin.” Covington slows it down a little bit with “What’s the Deal?”, a song that questions a lover’s fidelity. He makes clever comparisons between his relationship with the woman he is talking about and a popular Jay-Z song in which Jay-Z talks about his relationship with Beyoncé.
“The Rest of My Life” and “Unbelievable” are similar sounding lyric-wise, as they are both about Covington’s excitement about being with a new love, with “Unbelievable” being the more club-like of the two. “1,2,3 Yeah” is Covington’s most suggestive song, and while the lyrics in this song are much more direct than the others, lines like “Wanna know if you can last until the other night” leaves little to the imagination.
Although most of the music is synthesized, Covington played many of the instruments heard on the album. Instruments that he can play include guitar, piano and drums.
In addition to dealing with relationships, Covington also shares his thoughts on other difficult topics on the album. The song “One Wish” describes Covington’s idea of a perfect world — one free from war and human suffering. It isn’t the type of song that is heard on most R&B records, but when asked about why he decided to include the song on the album Covington explains that he wasn’t afraid to break away from the standard R&B formula.
“I think the trend should be — or hopefully will become — that R&B is the style of music that’s expression from all different angles. That people talk about other subjects. That people open the door to other ways of thinking… And I think that’s where we’re going.”
Although he says he always knew that he wanted to sing, Covington says it wasn’t until high school when he started seeing artists perform on BET and MTV that he really considered performing on stage. “It occurred to me that this is something I could do. It’s like a high for me that was bigger than anything else. The idea of being able to express yourself in front of people and have them respond positively — that was huge,” he said.
While he does love traveling to perform and promote his music, Covington says he wants to remain in the Twin Cities. He’s very close to his family and doesn’t see himself moving to a different city permanently as his popularity grows.
“My home is here. I would like to be able to perform outside of [the Twin Cities], but I always want to know that I can come home,” he says. Right now, Covington is getting ready to kick off a tour in support of Rayflections towards the end of August.
Covington’s passion for music is the most important thing in his life, yet there is still one thing that he doesn’t like about singing: When he has to stop performing at the end of his concerts.
“I want the night to go slow because I want to savor every moment. I’ve met so many people along the way…and I have made so many friends. There’s so many relationships that have been forged just in the past six years…where I can honestly say I have arrived.”
Kaysie Paul welcomes reader responses to Paul0552@umn.edu.