Ray Andersen grew up in the house that legendary songwriters, Carole King and Gerry Goffin lived in...more on that in a sec...
Upon an older cousin turning him onto the Beatles, and discovering from there the beauty of great songwriting,
Ray was inspired at a very early age to start singing, playing piano, guitar and drums, and start crafting his own songs-without a single lesson.
His dad told the family that they'd be moving into the home of the legendary singer/songwriters, in West Orange, New Jersey.
It is the house where Carole King wrote most of Tapestry, and she and Gerry Goffin wrote the hit song, Pleasant Valley Sunday,
for the Monkees. Pleasant Valley Way runs right through West Orange and the song's lyrics summarize suburban life, and mentions neighbors on Ray's street.
Besides having his Rock and Roll idols and inspirations, Ray was always attracted to the zaniness of TV/movie personalities & entertainers like Danny Kaye,
Jerry Lewis, Monty Python, Dick Van Dyke, etc. Ray describes it as, "...keeping one foot in childhood, and one foot in the grown-up world…
it's a delicate balance." Seeing these personalities prompted Ray to start acting in local productions and studying at New York City’s famed, American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
For much of the 80s, he was a member of the notable Asbury Park NJ,Stone Pony house-band, Cats On A Smooth Surface. Bruce Springsteen played with Ray and the band so much, he often
raved to the press worldwide, that they were his favorite group of musicians to jam with when he was off tour.
In 1995, Ray and songwriting partner, Patti Maloney, formed a pop/rock duo, Blue Van Gogh, and they released an album called Hi-Fi Junkie Sonata, distributed by Edel Records.
Tgeir music & and video was met with international acclaim. They toured throughout Germany as the opening act for matchbox twenty in April of 1998.
Ray even had the opportunity to be in Chuck Berry's band for a gig in South Dakota in 1996.
In 1994, his wife at the time, who was part-timing at a pre-school, asked Ray to come in and perform some
songs for the kids. In no time, he became known as "mr. RAY," holding an eye-catching, colorfully-stickered guitar. The kids (and Ray) were quickly hooked.
Singing about friendship, dinosaurs and rainbows never sounded so cool before… It was such a success that parents everywhere
started begging him to record these songs for those long car rides. Ray wrote and co-produced his own album entitled, Start Dreaming! It was released in April 2001.
In 1998, Ray got a call to play guitar, keyboards & sing backup for international rock star, Meat Loaf. Besides giving him the
thrill of performing in some of America & Europe’s greatest venues, Ray, as part of Meat Loaf's band, did a lot of TV such as
David Letterman, Jay Leno, Top Of The Pops, TGIF, VH1's Storytellers, Hard Rock Live and many more. In October of 1999,
the #1-rated VH1 Storyteller episode of all time, Meat Loaf's, went on the road through 2000,
& Ray along with Mr. Loaf can be seen forever preserved on the Storytellers DVD and CD.
He then signed with Sugar Beats Entertainment (a company owned by
Carole King's daughter!) to distribute his album nationwide. In March 2003, Ray signed a
DVD/Video deal with a Philadelphia-based company, Center City Film & Video. Live footage intertwined with animation
based on his songs is featured. He's been featured in Parenting Magazine, Family Fun & the New York Times, & many more.
The Wall Street Journal profiled him on the front of one of their Marketplace section, with a color photo, as well.
In 2005 he was on AMC's reality-based series, Into Character, where he portrayed (as himself) a rock guitar instructor on the La Bamba
episode. mr. RAY has also appeared on QVC and sold his DVD and Start Dreaming CD. Ray's second kids' album,
Songs From The Kids' Lounge was released in October 2004. The third mr. RAY album, Family Ride was released November 2006. His 4th album will be released in May 2009.
On December 6th 2006, the first-ever Ray commercial aired on NICKELODEON & CARTOON NETWORK in the US.
In March 2007, Ray signed with Cool Kids Music based in London. His products are now sold in many retail stores there.
In May '07 and February '08, he toured throughout London. In May 2008, Ray signed with Universal Records UK.
This is a UK and Ireland-only deal. The site they had commissioned went live in September.
In September 2008, Ray partnered with a very hip indoor playground in Chelsea NYC called appleseeds,
by writing & licensing original songs for their music for kids program called songs for seeds. Classes launched in January 2009.
On March 19th 2009, Ray was invited to sing at the United Nations in NYC for an event called A Season for Non-Violence.
He was backed up by 15 children singers, performing John Lennon's 'Imagine' 'Give Peace a Chance' and two originals, 'Music's A Language' and 'Make The World Safe."
Released on June 16, 2009, Ray's fourth album for kids titled. Welcome To The Music Room features16 original songs.
Combining classic rock with a modern sound that’s perfect for kids, as well as parents to rock to, these songs educate, inspire and entertain children and their families!
As a part-time member of Bob Bandiera's Jersey Rock n' Soul Revue, Ray performs from time to time with fellow New Jerseyans, Bruce Springsteen & Jon Bon Jovi.
He performs everywhere from festivals to parks and libraries, as well as Major league Baseball FanFest, Children Affect By AIDS foundation and many other notable locations.
December 2009 was the start of mr. RAY's TRAIN TO TO ROCK Academy...a 7-week program for young rockers culminating in a concert for the young musicians' family and friends.
Ray is an adoptive parent and wrote and recorded BORN FROM OUR HEART about the adoption experience.
It was played almost daily for nearly a year on Sirius/XM's KiDSPLaCE LiVe, channel 116.
Ray’s songs are the backdrop for many, many TV commercials such as Nike Golf.
Released 17 previously-released mr. RAY learning songs on one album called THE CLASSROOM COLLECTION.
Sonoma Entertainment commissioned Ray to record 150 public domain kids' classic songs...starting with 2 Christmas CD's.
They are currently available in Best Buy, Walmart, K-Mart & 9,000 Dollar General stores nationwide starting in 2011.
Signed a deal to be a part of NewSound Kids distribution/Allegro Music to distribute his kids/family albums.
In January 2011, Ray started recording rock, soul & movie soundtrack classics for the wildly popular Publisher's Clearing House national TV commercials.
He's recorded, sung & produced & played all the instruments for national spots that featured songs like This Magic Moment,
How Sweet It Is, You Make My Dreams Come True, the Rocky Theme, Jackson 5's I Want You Back, and many more... WATCH VIDEO WATCH VIDEO WATCH VIDEO
Recorded and sang Etta James' classic, At Last, for Blackberry smartphone new-media (web) commercial....Feb 2013 in my home studio. WATCH VIDEO
Ray was a Billboard Magazine Top 10 best-selling kids' artist in 2013 & 2014! L I N K
Along with all of these ventures, Ray privately mentors & records budding singers & songwriters in his home project studio in Highland Park NJ. Some samples... .L I N K
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