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Get to know: CRAY

Get to know: CRAY

From: Los Angeles, CA

For fans of: Madnap, Elohim

Three tunes: 'Love Cemetery', 'Fractions', 'Peaches'

Cray's music is as striking as her cascading locks of two-toned hair. The online videogame-streamer-turned-singer-songwriter-producer flits through indie electronics, pop and dance productions with ease. Since beginning the CRAY project back in 2015, the young artist has navigated a bevy of sound evolutions, before reaching the genre-defying output we hear from her today.

"My style is ever-changing," CRAY says. "I'm going to release whatever I want to release, whether that's a choppy remix or indie-pop, or house."

We catch up with CRAY as she's preparing for a photo shoot for her forthcoming single's artwork. On top of writing and singing on her music, she's the mastermind behind all of her releases' visual accompaniments. The Southern California transplant (by way of Vancouver) speaks about her creative endeavours with the infectious verve of an excited teen, pouring herself wholeheartedly into her projects with an unrelenting passion.

"Putting together the creatve concepts is my favourite part of the process," CRAY says. "I always have these ideas that go along with my songs; my songs are never just songs, they also have a visual element. It's exciting to be able to make those ideas come to llife, no matter how crazy or weird they are."

The upcoming single, 'Isn't It', is a departure from her last two tracks, 'Love Cemetery' and 'Fractions', which are both emotional ballads inspired by personal experiences. Listeners will get a glimpse into the stranger, more abstract parts of her universe on 'Isn't It', with a dark house beat and lyrics like "Not all queens wear crowns." But no matter what typre of music she's releasing, the one constant across CRAY's records is the inclusion of a bold vocal that she's written herself.

"A strong vocal topline is the most important element of my songs, to be able to use my words and energy," CRAY says. "Writing for me is definitely my favourite part of making music. I have a whole book full of songs I write, and I'm constantly writing in it, everyday. And when I get to my session or think of a melody in my head, I bring it to life with one of the songs I've written. I draw from my personal life and use that as the base to start a new song."

CRAY has no shortage of personal life material from which to take inspiration. When she wasn't hired for a job at Target, she decided to try her hand at online game streaming, and quickly built a substantial Twitch following. CRAY began sprinkling DJ sets into her live streams, and soon, she was entertaining throngs of online fans, with both her gaming and her music. 

Aside from her expert gaming prowess, CRAY's burgeoning online following is due in part to her unabashaed personality, witty life observations and experimental fashion sense. Mixing designer digs with vintage finds, she styles herself with wild abandon - from her head of half-and-half hair (currently a dirty blonde-meets-dark brown, and usually adorned with '90s butterfly clips), down to her extensive, colourful sock collection and funky Croc pairings.

2019 is shaping up to be CRAY's biggest year yet, with music releases aplenty on the horiszon and the debut of her live show comig this spring. After DJing for years, she'll belt out her first singing performances, backed by a full band and a visual show straight out of her imagination.

"I really want the show to tell the story of what my vision is for my music," CRAY says. "I've always had such big ideas for my live set, so I'm excited to finally bring it to life and show everyone what my dream has been since I was a kid."

Whether she's careening between genres in her productions, writing lyrics, straight from her heart, or thinking up her next artistic venture, one thing remains - when it comes to CRAY, expect the unexpected.

WORDS: Jamie Sloane

Want to discover more fresh talent? Check out 11 new acts you need to hear this month here.