Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I am Raye Zaragoza, a singer-songwriter living in Los Angeles but from New York City. I write songs about love, people, experiences, and my observations of the world around me. I come from a multicultural background — Native American/Mexican on my Dad’s side and Japanese /Taiwanese on my mom’s side. My background has greatly influenced my outlook on the world and has shaped the voice of my music.
How did you get your start in music?
I’ve been singing my whole life and started writing songs when I was 19. I decided not to go to college because I wanted to be an actress, but ended up not liking it and wrote songs when I couldn’t sleep. During that year, I played at the local pie shop, the farmer’s market, and then eventually at the House of Blues restaurant stage. It’s been 6 years now, and it’s been everything to me since!
How would you describe your musical style?
I would describe it as contemporary folk with a message — music made to make you feel but also think!
You have a diverse cultural background (Native American (O’odham), Mexican, Taiwanese, and Japanese). How does that influence your music?
My background has completely shaped the way I look at the world, which naturally has translated into my music. Growing up with multicultural parents has shown me some really vibrant parts of living in American but also some very dark realities for minorities. It’s my greatest mission to give more of a voice to minorities in America like me in mainstream music.
One of your latest singles is called “American Dream” What can you tell us about that song?
American Dream was written during the 2016 presidential election. It tells the story of my family and a bit about the struggle specifically my great grandmother endured as a Native American. Ultimately, it was expressing my feeling that the face of America shouldn’t be saying hateful things towards the minority groups of America.
Your previous single “In The River” talked about the Dakota Access Pipeline near Standing Rock Sioux. how important is it to address these types of issues in your music?
The song is a cry for hope to stop the exploitation of our waters and land. It is a plea to leave Mother Earth in a better way for the generations to come. The Dakota Access Pipeline is contributing to the contamination of our waters and it is desecrating sacred sites, and top of that – people who traveled there to protect the water had water cannons and dogs sent on them. I think it is so important to address issues like this because they are not being talked about in mainstream media.
Your debut album came out in 2017, might we see another album coming into 2019?
Absolutely! I am so excited about the next album. I’m digging even deeper with these next songs, telling more of my family’s story, and commenting on current social justice issues. I am looking forward to sharing these stories soon.
What would you say to people who might have a passionate stance about some of these issues but are afraid to speak out?
I would say that speaking up doesn’t necessarily have to be as public as you think. Speaking out publicly can be very scary for many people. Even speaking up within your community, within your group of friends can make a huge difference.
What advice would you have for aspiring singers/songwriters?
My greatest advice to an aspiring artist is to work harder than everyone else around you. Be relentless. And never apologize for it.
What’s your life like outside of music?
That’s a great question! Music has been such a huge part of my life, sometimes I have to make a real conscious effort to make time for other things! But when I’m not on tour, I spend most of my time doing Pilates, making home-cooked meals (you never get to cook for yourself on the road!), reading, and spending time with my friends and family. One of my favorite things to do when I am home is host parties. I love hosting and bringing people together! This year, I had two holiday parties…
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