Rayen Belchere, singer songwriter from Rock Hill, SC, spent several years in the uber-popular, shock rock band, “Wednesday 13,” as a bassist. He toured the world, had a few videos premiere on MTV, as well as signed to a major label. Rayen left it all to start his singer/songwriter/jazz singer career. He is now living in Hollywood working on new music and we got the inside scoop right here on ET!
Entertwine: Tell us more about your musical background; you’ve toured the world with Wednesday 13 and are also a part of the band Early Ray, correct? What led you to pursue a career as a songwriter and solo act?
I’ve always been a acoustic singer songwriter. Even in my high school garage band days in Rock Hill SC I would write songs. I am a first generation musician as no one in my family played an instrument. Discovering my brothers Kiss Alive record when I was 5 changed my life. I’ve never done anything else. I’m a lifer. So being a singer/songwriter is just what I am. I have though framed it in diff ways over the years in bands like Early Ray. I think you have to reinvent yourself or you’ll get stale and that’s why I did my latest album “Black Tie Affair” as a Jazz record. Those songs are out there as acoustic tunes but I wanted to give em a Jazz treatment to shake things up and keep folks guessing.
What was it like growing up in Rock Hill, South Carolina? You’ve spent a lot of time performing in Charlotte’s music scene, correct? Could you tell us about some of the most exciting or interesting live performances you’ve been a part of?
Growing up in Rock Hill was amazing. Small Southern town with all the things you’d expect. Friday night football was king, the food was so great (but so bad for me now that I look back on it). The town folks looked down on Rock N Roll for the most part. MTV was banned until about 10 years ago. Some of the old timers thought it was evil, crazy music. Which made me more intrigued to be apart of it! I love the place though. I still have a house there even though I’m currently living in LA.
Charlotte music scene has always treated me well, I played everywhere from bars to the football stadium in that town and it molded me into the performer I am. Some of my fav gigs there were at Amos’s as a solo artist and Coyote Joes with Early Ray. Both venues were sold out, folks were letting go and going for it. I don’t remember much from the gigs which makes em even more legendary! I think those gigs were responsible for a few children being born. At least that’s what my friends tell me.
What experiences and events inspired the writing and recording of your new album “Black Tie Affair”? Could you tell us about each of the eight featured tracks?
Black Tie Affair was inspired by my desire to always challenge myself. I’ve discovered Jazz over the past few years and just wanted to see how my songs translated.
- Devil May Care is an old Jazz standard that I always loved and wanted to cover.
- Forever Night Stand is an old love song I had that always did well and I always liked.
- When, same as above
- If you can’t find the time is a breakup song I wrote that also seemed to grab folks and mean a lot to folks going through tuff times with love
- Wonderful World is one of my fav all time songs. I always wanted to cover but waited for the right time. This was the right time.
- Fly Me To The Moon is the most popular Jazz standard ever and we did it as a goof though i do like it a lot. Turned out so well that i threw it on there for fun.
- Shame is just a song rooted in lust and always was a fan favorite. I have no expectations for the album as it’s already done more than i could have imagined.
- Anything now is a bonus.
Who did you work with to make this album? What musical equipment and recording gear and programs were used to create and capture the sounds found on “Black Tie Affair”?
Luckily for me 2 of my best friends are Jazz masters. Ziad Rabie and Kerry Brooks and they helped me record it at Old House Studios in Charlotte with Chris Garges engineering and they brought in Al Sergel (drums) and Chad Lawson (piano) to make it come to life. I didn’t have any plans on even releasing it but I was bored on Thanksgiving and just said screw it and threw it up on iTunes. Next thing I know it’s charting in the Jazz charts and reached the top 20. One of the nicer surprises in my music career. I’m glad folks got on board and are digging it.
What is it like living in Los Angeles and working within that music scene? Could you tell us about some of the new projects you’re working on? What else does 2015 hold in store for Rayen Belchere?
Living in LA for the last while has been great. i came out here for a break and to write new material and also to escape the winter. Haven’t gigged much outside of a show at The Whisky on Sunset in Nov. Been nice to clear my head and get re energized. Not sure how long this stay will be. Taking it month by month right now. I have a ton of friends