The Futurist: Sky’s the Limit for Singer Ray Dalton
Last week The Futurist caught up with Chicago’s very own Vic Mensa. This week we head to Seattle, Washington to get to know Macklemore and Ryan Lewis collaborator, Ray Dalton. The soft-spoken singer’s rise to fame is remarkable to say the least. The 22-year-old Dalton talks with us about singing for President Obama multiple times, linking up with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, his upcoming album 'The Dalton Show' and much more.
Was singing your first love? Did you always want to professional performer?
Ray Dalton: I always dreamed of fame and wanted to sing all my life. My father had me in tennis actually--my entire family is very athletic. I was on my way to Arizona to play tennis and I decided I didn't want to play anymore. I came back to Seattle and started singing in a gospel choir and on the Seattle music scene and that began the journey. Is it true that you connected with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis through social media? RD: Yup it was Facebook. Ryan Lewis heard me sing with another Seattle artist. He had hit me on Facebook with a message, I met with him in the studio not too longer after. The second time I met Ben [Mackemore], this is going back four years ago.
'Can’t Hold Us' was a year old before it became a mega hit, what took it so long to take off and did you expect it to be that successful?
Ray Dalton: Yeah the track definitely took over this summer. It reached higher [on the charts] than what I expected or thought it would. The track had been recorded some time ago. So we kind of just lead with it following ‘Thrift Shop’ and we were hoping it would have similar success. At the same time we knew it was going to be good.
When was the last time you said to yourself "Wow, I can’t believe this is happening?"
RD: You know when it was? It was the VMA’s in Brooklyn. It was my first ever red carpet and basically first everything. I stepped back because it was so crazy and a really exciting time. It was just like wow!
On stage you have a boatload of confidence, where does it comes from?
RD: I think being in a gospel choir. I grew up in a gospel choir, not a normal choir but one that performed for Bill Clinton and President Obama not once but twice. I sang my solo with the choir in Seattle in front of President Obama not once but twice. The choir itself has done so many historic performances with Ray Charles, Quincy Jones to name a few. When you join a big choir its like a big family, and they are really on you. I definitely have cried many of times being in that choir, just being pushed. But I really feel thats where it comes from, being in the Total Experience Gospel Choir. Plus I just like to dance, I’m a bit of a goofball.
You collaborated with another Seattle artist, Camila Recchio, for 'Whisper' a few years back. That was a great song and went largely overlooked. Explain your relationship with Camila.
RD: That’s my best friend. She’s actually the one that got me into the choir when I was like fifteen years-old. She’s like my mentor, but she honestly has one of the most amazing voices. She hasn't hit her peak yet but its coming soon. She has been behind me singing, whether it be the chorus, the Seattle scene or the hip-hop hooks. But that’s my best friend, a lot of people think we’re dating but I really don’t care what people think really … she’s a beautiful woman.
You released recently the song 'So Emotional.' Were you pleased with the response to that track? Is this going to be on your upcoming project?
RD: I was getting a lot of people asking me what I sound like as a solo artist away from hooks. So I decided to write a song about love and 'So Emotional' came out of me. The song itself was recorded about a year and a half ago. I’m not sure if it will be on the ‘Dalton Show.’ Everything is changing, I have been in the studio a lot lately and have new songs. I’m going to do something with ‘So Emotional’ I just haven’t decided yet though.
What can we expect from ‘The Dalton Show?’ Is there a release date for it yet?
RD: It’s Coldplay meets Amy Winehouse meets Andrea Bocelli; a little bit of [Lady] Gaga and Ray Charles. It’s very different, I’m just bringing a new soul to our generation. I like to call it “Anthem Electric Soul.” I don’t have a date yet, I’m on tour full time with the guys. But I have been in the studio every day we have off. Something will be coming next year for sure.
Can we talk about the Seattle music scene and the great talent coming out of it?
RD: It’s really crazy.We have Camilla Recchi who is amazing and is the next singing sensation. We also have Mario and Malice Sweets, they are known as The Sweets. Everyone knows them because they are a very young couple and have been married for some time now. They can sing their asses off and it looks like they’re still on their honeymoon. We have so much music and genres here whether it be rap, rock, pop it’s all there. Seattle is like one of those candies that has just about a little bit of everything, a ton of flavor.
Is there any further music in the works with you and the duo of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis?
RD: That’s a secret, for what is in the works. But I’m also the opera singer on ‘Wings’ which is a great song. I also have my own rendition of ‘My Oh My,’ so I sing that while he’s performing. But we’ll see about what is in the future, right now I’m just traveling with the guys. I really enjoy traveling and meeting new people, tasting new foods and playing tennis in every state and country we go to. I get high off of it!
How do you deal with your approach for fans overseas versus stateside?
RD: It’s all different, Europeans are very happy and crazy. I’m not sure if there is a specific difference in approach but there is definitely an interesting contrasts between both of these types of fans. I don’t know what it is but it is very different in Europe.
Will you be singing at Macklemore’s wedding?
RD: [Laughs] I don’t know, it is whatever they want honestly. They [Macklemore and his fiancée Tricia Davis] are a great couple, it is whatever they want.