THE UNIVERSE FEATURING RAY
Unique, yet hauntingly familiar. If Alanis Morissette and Kurt Cobain had a Janis Joplin love child.
THE UNIVERSE FEATURING RAY
Ray Syd Stern is a Southwestern Ontario underground music punk rock legend.
As a teenager she gained notoriety with performance art rock band The Peace Leeches, and later briefly travelled Stateside as front woman for North Carolina’s Grown Up Avenger Stuff. Her reputation for soulful, mind blowing vocals gathered a deep social media following, and in 2016 ‘The Universe Featuring Ray’ returned to Canada.
Ray began touring Ontario as a solo performer armed with an acoustic guitar, while releasing a string of singles to rising acclaim. A collaboration with famed Canadian songwriter and producer Michael Hansen resulted in fan-favourite ‘Give it Up’ (2017) and a handful of then unreleased, but album worthy tracks. The video for Give it Up would expand Ray’s following, and even garner the attention of renowned producer T Pain on his Twitch feed, calling Ray’s performance ‘Fire’.
Back in her hometown, Ray reconnected with long time friend and Peace Leeches producer Ben Srokosz to begin work on a new track entitled ‘My Fragile Mind’, which was planned as the first single for an upcoming full length album release. Srokosz suggested that she book a session with his friend and Toronto music legend José Contrares (By Divine Right) in late 2019 to further explore a new batch of songs. What began as a demo session quickly shifted to the creation of 8 new song foundations.
The soon to be released ‘Co-Create’ (2021) is the result of the collaborations with Hansen, Contrares and Srokosz and It features music appearances with friends and family. From intense rockers like My Fragile Mind and Black Doggy, to Indie-Pop tracks like LU2D and The Best, Ray is releasing her finest work at a time where the world needs it.
The album’s latest single ‘Blanket’ delves into the emotional topics of suicide, and addiction. A soft piano melody that explodes into lush instrumentation, it is the ultimate representation of Stern’s dynamic songwriting chops. You will hold your breath as her voice soars to the greatest heights and then dives into the haunting depths.
CoCreate is instantly a classic, yet feels new. Folky and fucked up, poppy and otherwordly.
Just like Ray.
PRESS / REVIEWS
"There's an old show biz saying, "If you can't be good, be different" well, The Universe Featuring Ray is both good AND different! It starts with her name and runs through everything she does. Don't miss her!"
Music professor, Author, Songwriter, Founder of The Songwriters Association of Canada
Iconic Rock & Roll photographer; Bowie, Rolling Stones, Dylan, Beatles
"Creative, inventive. Ray has written, recorded and captured on video another perfect example of her performing art”
Juno Award winning songwriter, Glass Tiger, President of Radar Love Records
"Best Rock and Roll voice in the country as far as I’m concerned”
CHATHAM DAILY NEWS
Ian Phillips, Owner of Meteor, Windsor Ontario
"She's an absolute firecracker who is a consummate entertainer. She's so personable and such a stellar musician."
Colleen Watson, Blogger
"Her songs are soulful and poetic – these glimmering ballads that discuss love, life, and mental health, all conveyed in whimsical and vocally interesting ways. Ray does not shy from serious topics with layered meaning.
OPENING THE BOX
Rachelle Mecca, Blogger
“Her bold voice holds nothing back. Each performance of hers parks a sense of self-honesty that you feel like you should strive towards.”
Jim McKormick, Music Blogger
“There is no labelling Ray as an artist aside from funky, a Woodstock era free spirit and highly talented.”
Emily Stewart, Music Blogger
“Between painting the camera lens, discovering eyes floating in the forest, (the design of which she also uses in her merch) and wearing an outfit made up of stuffed animals, it’s clear the musician enjoys expressing herself through visual art as much as possible.”