Since you are reading this post, “Un-Block The Music” hopes you are looking to discover new music and forget about the pandemic for a while. Music is my survival mechanism! You can start exploring with a San Francisco-based band, Bray & The Dens who were about to release their fourth studio album in March just as the health crisis began. The album, Stingray, was delayed, but we can look forward to its release on May 15. How would I describe this album? It’s alternative pop, but I feel a David Bowie vibe.
After listening to the song, “Be Your Own Surgeon,” off this album, I was thrilled to speak with Bray who offered some anecdotes as to how he got to this moment in time. “I started in entertainment because that’s how I got attention as a kid and connected with people,” he said. That’s a statement “Un-Block The Music” hears often, but what I love about Bray is that he connects with music throughout his body. What I mean by that is his response to the question about what instrument he learned first. He said, “Dance.”
“I was inspired by Michael Jackson who wasn’t known for playing instruments. He was electrifying and so musical in a physical way. That’s what I initially gravitated towards. That is, until I became obsessed with Prince. Then, I took up the guitar,” he said.
In 2020, there is more opportunity to get your music out without a record label, however there is a lot of competition, you have to be unique in some way, especially in a world where there is little staying power. While Bray’s his early years were ensconced in a 9-piece funk band, this album is, what he calls, “a power trio.” While he talks of the influence of Michael Jackson and Prince, “Un-Block The Music,” immediately felt Bowie.
While Bowie was a master, I believe he would have been even more mainstream today because he was multifaceted. That’s something Bray and Bowie have in common. Bray is an entertainer. In addition to music, he loves comedians and cartoons. “I was always into Bugs Bunny who, in a way, was an early triple threat Sammy Davis Jr. type. He could sing and dance and was funny. My advice for young people starting out today is to be diverse” and create a rapport with your audience. “I incorporate free communication in my live shows.” The shows are not planned out, they are “in the moment. In one incarnation or another, I play about 200 shows a year. It’s good to have new material when I do a show. We will even play non released material sometimes so it’s out there with people and we can talk about it.”
Bray is always writing. “I believe in albums. I still want to make a statement that is cohesive even if I am the only one who understands it,” he joked. “I also want to write a booklet every other year that I will release to go along with touring.”
Did “Un-Block The Music” whet your appetite for Bray and The Dens? If so, ho to http://www.braymusic.com/for a list of live dates. And, you can hear “Be Your Own Surgeon” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgTqEtreE7k
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Here’s “Un-Block The Music’s: healing quote of the day. “Our brains developed along with music and signing as a survival mechanism.”
– Tania De Jong
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