Recently I had the chance to sit down with Cincinnati, Ohio, singer and songwriter Arin Ray. Arin Ray was a contestant on The X Factor USA in 2012, and has since gone on to continue to make music. He has also been a part of making hits for Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Young Thug, Jeremih, Juice WRLD and many more. He comes from a musical family; with his aunt singing background for Marvin Gaye, his Dad playing drums for New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe and his mum singing in the choir and also auditioning for The X Factor USA. Arin recently was in London to support Dreamville’s Ari Lennox, on her European ‘Shea Butter Baby’ tour. I got to know a little bit more about Arin Ray as we talked about:
- Good food in London and being particular about what he eats.
- His family and writing ‘Sleep (ZZZ)’ with his mum.
- Arin’s first time in London and his favourite places in Europe.
- His song ‘Change’ featuring Kehlani.
- Touring with Ari Lennox.
- Being handsome and humble.
- His latest EP Phases II
- Music and much more.
Continue reading to find out all you need to know about Arin Ray.
Full Arin Ray Interview
What’s going on? It’s your girl Chyna Johnson. And I am joined with the very handsome, talented, super stylish…. Arin Ray! Hello!
How you doing?
I’m doing good. How are you doing?
How are you enjoying your time in London, right now?
It’s amazing! I love London man. Like I haven’t really got to see the city too much obviously, but what I have seen is beautiful. What I have eaten…. great!
The food is good, right?
But when people come from America, they say the food is not good.
They hating on the food.
What?! It is so good. Well, I just had Burger and Lobster. That was fire!
That place is so good.
That was fire so. I can’t complain.
And it’s Christmas.
Yea Christmas time.
And I don’t know about in America, but do you guys have Mince Pies?
Yes. But I don’t eat those things.
Oh Ok. I brought a box but I won’t offer you one. It’s ok. That’s fine.
Maybe like give them to Allen …. or something like that. Me, I am just a really picky eater.
I hate fussy eaters.
I am terrible. Like you would hate me.
Are you one of those people that don’t like onions?
It’s in everything though.
But it’s like look….. like, onions are gross.
They ‘re not. They are in everything, and they are blended up and you don’t even know.
Trust me. If I don’t taste it – I am cool. But if I tastes a chunk of raw onion…… and it has to be cook if I eat it ever. I just can’t. The texture, the taste, the smell. Ewww I just am not with it. I don’t like mayonnaise. I don’t like none of that. I am good.
I am a terrible eater.
I could never cook for you.
I am simple. But I can cook good so…..
You are not simple. Fussy eaters when they say they are simple. They are not. There are all these rules and regulations.
In a sense yes. You are right. I am a simple eater. Let’s say that.
I am not going to lie, all this food talk is making me hungry and I feel like I am going to reach for a mince pie, but I am not going to do it.
I am hungry…. As ever right now.
That’s all I have got for you (mince pies). So unfortunately.
But anyway you are here in London with Ari Lennox on her European leg of her tour. How is that going?
Shea Butter Baby tour, has been amazing! We have been to so many countries, and cities and stuff. I have never been to Europe before, I have been to one town. I went to Stockholm for a writing camp.
So is this your first time in London?
Never been here. It is beautiful.
So of all the cities you are going to on this European leg, which city is your favourite? *Whispers London*
Mmmmm I am liking London. London is top 3.
I had a great time in Stockholm. I love Sweden and I don’t know why. But I love London. London has been great, you guys are obviously very beautiful.
I love the fashion here, but Paris is the most beautiful place I have been to. The scene weren’t too great… but I love the way it looks. I had a great time sightseeing, and seeing everything and being under the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
Did you take the picture where you pretended it was like in your hand (The Eiffel Tower)?
No, I didn’t get that one….. But you know the Loo… what do you call it?
The Louvre. The big triangle thing that they keep the Mona Lisa in.
I tried that and I did the little thing with that. I just got cool dope pics (pictures). So that was cool.
Did you go to the lock bridge?
No, I didn’t go to any bridges. I just went to some restaurant after I did the site seeing and saw cool statues of people….. and poets and all that. It was just beautiful. It’s a beautiful place.
Do you know what is beautiful? Your face.
Thank you so much. You got me blushing. Come on man.
Obviously, I seen you on Instagram. And I was telling people, ” Yea, I am interviewing this guy and he is awesome”. And they are like, “Oh my God! I really like his music. And I am like “he is great. He is handsome”. And then they are like, “but like is he handsome in person”. And I am like, “I don’t know”. Your face is amazing. How do you cope walking round with such a beautiful face.
I blame my mother….. and my father.
Is she gorgeous?
Ah Yea. For sure, my mother is the reason for everything.
Ok, so you look just like mumsy (Mum)?
Yea, kind of. Actually, I just found out that I do. When she was a little younger…. I kind of look like her when I was younger. I kind of look more like my dad though… But team mom all day.
So both parents are just elite and beautiful?
Nah, my mom is gorgeous. My dad is cool. But I got my mom’s like prettiness. I got my mom’s like…. you know what I mean. My dad he is just a handsome guy. But my mom! I got my like pretty features I guess, from her. She is definitely….
I am glad that you know. You know some people I will be like, “you are really good looking” and they will be like, “huh. No”. But you know, which is good. But in a humble way.
But no, no look… I had to get into this- you know what I mean. I had to grow into this. I wasn’t always. Trust me, I feel like I can do way better.
What looks wise? What?
I’m going to get shredded and everything.
I am not going to lie guys, off camera I saw his erm…. chest. In a photo. Not in person. Nothing went down like that. But you look shredded already. You look fine.
I am trying trust me. I need a bigger chest. I need the whole eight pack game going…
Are you trying to get the muscles- where they come from like the neck to the shoulders?
No, I am not trying to look like a wrestler. But you know what I mean… I am trying to get real lean, real nice, real cut. So if I could do an action movies, I could do an action movie. Or if they need me to do a romantic thing. Or if they need me to do like some modelling. I can get crazy with that.
It definitely works with the whole R’n’B singer thing. Because as a female….. and men, when you are listening to an R’n’B singer you know you feel it in your emotions. And when they look good as well it just works hand in hand.
It Helps. It Helps.
That brings us on to your EP Phases two. A V-iiii-be!
Five tracks. Amazing! From the beginning, it is just like….It is a body of work that is seamless from beginning to end. Do you know what I mean?
Thank you. I would hope. I hope
No it is good. When did you create it?
Like…. in between ‘Sleep (ZZZ)’…. The first record is like two and a half years old. ‘Sleep’ (ZZZ). I wrote with my mum.
You was sleeping on sleep?
No, I wasn’t sleeping on it actually. It was like a year and a half. I just…. No…. I had that one when I had ‘Platinum 5’. It was just timing honestly, getting the falls right and I wanted the intro, the outro where is switches up. I just did that. So it was just like timing. Timing is everything. ‘A Seat’ came early top of this year and ‘Change’ came at the top of the year.
And ‘Don’t Chase’ I’ve had…. top of the year.
‘Change’ is dope! When I was listening to it. I was like who is the sample?
112…. Bad Boy remix. Well actually it is not really a sample…. it is a reinterpretation. For business… I needed that. But there is a sample from the… you know the drum beat that’s a Fugees . *Sings ‘Strumming my pain with his fingers….One time!*
I need to hear it again. Because I am listening to it and you know when you are like I know. I know… which is a good thing, cause you really made your own spin on it. Which is awesome.
Are you and Kehlani like mad cool?
She is cool! We are Straight. Yea. Yes.
Who else would you like to work with?
Pharrell. I think me and him are like the unknown, dynamic duo of music right now. Come on Pharrell, pull up dog!
Do you know what? I don’t know if we could handle it. Should I tell you know why?
Cause you are talented, he is talented
He is incredible.
You are good looking. So is he. Could you imagine the video…. He would be like *does dances moves*
Yea he is cold.
And you would be like *Does dance moves*
I don’t know how…. I think it would be too much sauce for the world.
Nah, It’s never too much sauce. Well sometimes it’s too much sauce… but only in pasta. It’s literally only pasta.
When it’s on Pasta. You say Paastaa. I say Pasta. A lot of sauce is a necessary isn’t it.
It’s not. You see with me I need the sauce. But like I feel…I think you are born with it honestly. You got to have the sauce but I don’t know. *Shrugs shoulders*
I like your analogy. I got it. So, if I was to go to Ari Lennox’s show with you there as well, what should I expect?
I am going to try to entertain you. I am going to try and make you smile. I am going to probably sing to you. I am going to try and butter you up …and make you nice if you got a cool date, or you by yourself. I don’t know I am just trying to put on a show. That is my biggest thing to make people smile… and move and have a good time. That is like literally it. If I see you smile and you are not worried about the next person beside you. That’s my biggest pet peeve too…. like if you want to dance. Dance! Have a good time and dance. So my biggest thing is just putting on a show and particularly for this tour making sure that Ari (Lennox) and anybody else is juiced up, so they can have the best show that they can possibly have.
Do you lot (Ari Lennox) get along backstage? You and Ari?
What? She is like the coolest person that I have met.
She seems so cool.
She is like so sincere. She is so soft spoken. She is cool. She is funny. You know what I am saying, and she is obviously like amazingly talented.
She is like incredible and I found a love for her album even more now and I am an even bigger fan just doing this …. Just doing the tour and seeing how prepared she is and doing the same thing every day, as far as getting ready for the show. So it is just an amazing time obviously.
When are you going to headline your own one (show) over here?
I got to get a little bit bigger for that. But soon.
You are literally there.
Hopefully next year. I am close but I got a long way to go. But it is cool and I am ready for that journey wherever that takes me. But if I do what I am supposed to do, I can do it next year for sure. I can do some nice little crowds out here.
Do you know what the energy is right. You’re awesome. The thing is I wasn’t expecting you to have such a dope personality.
Yea, I know. You are really cool.
I just be chilling.
Yea. I feel relaxed. I am hungry. I have been dreaming about the mince pies that are just there.
Me too. Well I might have a try.
You made me forget about it for the last ten minutes.
I just be trying to chill. You know what I mean. Like all the little extra stuff is cool, but you know at the end of the day if you can’t hold a conversation. If you can’t just be a regular person what’s the point. If you just can’t enjoy times like this then what is the point. So, I am just blessed to be here. And this wasn’t promised. So I am just going to enjoy this and be happy.
Exactly. Well I wish you all the success in the world. And just before I let you go because you need to eat. Do you know what I mean. So before you go, where can we stalk you and keep up to date with everything you have got going on?
Where are you most active?
I am most active on Instagram and that’s @ArinRayCamp . You can follow me there. Then I have got…you know iTunes and all platforms and stuff. So you can check out my music and stuff. It is all there. Whatever app it’s all there.
And ‘Phases II’ is phenomenal you should all check it out. Because it is awesome.
And it is only like fifteen minutes.
I know! I listened to it like four times on the first go.
See that’s what I need.
Yea it was lovely. Thank you for joining me.