Raye Zaragoza is an American singer/songwriter from New York City.
Coming from a multicultural background - Native American/Mexican, and Japanese /Taiwanese, the singer/songwriter uses her background to paint empowering and sincere records.
In 2017, she released her debut album “Fight For You”, including the protest songs “In The River”, “Fight For You” and her latest single “American Dream”. With the help of producer Justin Hergett, Zaragoza designed a traditional folk album.
“This album is about finding yourself and finding your voice. It’s about maturing and realizing that you can make a difference if you so choose. The album has many politically charged songs, but also many songs about love and finding yourself. I really see this album as my ‘coming of age’ story, and my journey to finding my voice”, says Zaragoza.
As the singer/songwriter is getting ready to go on tour with DISPATCH and Nahko and Medicine for the People, the Los Angeles-based artist will be releasing new music very soon.
“Fight For You” is now available on all major streaming platforms.
Introduce yourself. What’s your story?
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.
What defines you?
I’m not sure how to answer that one! I think it is a great mission of mine to show that we can’t be defined by a few things. So… I guess I am not sure what defines me!
What did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to Jewel, James Taylor, Harry Chapin, Selena, mariachi music, show tunes, Queen, The Beatles, Elliott Smith, Avril Lavigne, Radical Face… the list is very long! My favorite genre has always been classic rock.
When did you start writing songs?
I dabbled a little bit in songwriting in middle school and high school. Mostly writing songs for school projects. But I didn’t start taking songwriting seriously until I was in my late teens post high school.
What made you want to write songs in the first place?
When I was a kid, I always had headphones on. I would listen to music at all hours of the day. I have a very clear memory of being 8 or 9 on the playground and thinking to myself - “Writing a song is the coolest thing anyone could do.”
What appeals you the most in songwriting?
I write songs because I am overly sentimental. I want to capture moments, places, people, and experiences so I can always have them with me. My songs always remind me what is was like to be at that march, to be at standing rock, to be with that person. It keeps me connected to the rich moments in life that I don’t want to let go of.
“American Dream” is your latest single off your album “Fight For You”. What’s the story behind it?
“American Dream” tells the story of my family and challenges the outdated concept of the American Dream with its white picket fence and house in the suburbs, because it’s never been truly inclusive of all American people. In the last year alone, the American people have been under a constant barrage of distressing news, a “fake news” war waged by our President against the free press, and day after day our country feels increasingly divided. Hatred and fear have an overt national presence like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetimes. I wrote American Dream to express that it’s time to rise up, turn off the television and take a stand. We can rewrite the American Dream into a new storyline that looks out for all of us. It’s a big task, but as the chorus of the song says, “Change is a choice, and it can start with me.”
What message do you want to deliver through your music?
I want to empower young people to speak up and be proud of who they are. I also want to inspire and comfort all people going through tough times through music.
What inspires you the most?
I find inspiration from everything around me, from people I meet, places I go and stories I hear. I also get inspiration from current events that have an emotional effect on me.
What are the things you are the most proud of?
I am most proud of the video I released in 2016 that I wrote regarding Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline. I am grateful that I was able to spread awareness for an important indigenous rights issue. I am also proud that I was able to self-release and self-produce my debut album!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“If you work hard from an authentic place, you can’t fail.” Not sure where I even heard that advice but I live by it!
Any upcoming project?
I’m writing my next album right now! But in the immediate future, I am going on tour with DISPATCH and Nahko and Medicine for the People this summer! I am so excited to be hitting the road with them next month.
Who are you currently working with?
I continue to work with my friend, Justin Hergett. He helped with production, and mixed ‘Fight For You.’ He is helping me demo new songs for the next album!
What’s your purpose?
My purpose is to use music as a vehicle for change. To open minds and hearts through song.
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