The Adventurer of rock and roll
Amelia Ray is a writer, composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and the creator and host of MashUpheaval - a request-based, live performance mashup podcast. Working in different styles and applying different methods, Ray has released five albums, including one as powder pop dance venture Why No Dream. Her work has also been featured on compilation albums and in film soundtracks. She has performed extensively in the U.S. and Europe, and has collaborated with various musicians and artists. She will soon release her sixth album - which is based on a mid-20th century Icelandic crime novel – and is preparing a collection of short stories to be published.
Ray’s work deals largely with interpretation and language. She takes great interest in the ways words, sounds and meanings develop and change depending on who is delivering the narrative. As a multilingual interpreter and translator, she has spent years contemplating how similar concepts are expressed differently across cultures. This research has permeated her artistic work. As a queer, black woman Ray has found that her own voice has often been silenced in mainstream society on both a personal and a professional level. Through her work of interpretation Ray has carved out a space for her own voice, in addition to finding the freedom to interpret and breath new life into the voices of others.
Her forthcoming album is a musical interpretation of an Icelandic novel that is based on a true story of crimes of passion. She wrote, composed and arranged songs inspired by the novel, giving each of the main characters - human and otherwise - a voice through which to tell their version of the story. She also hosts a mashup podcast in which she performs listener-requested combinations of two or more songs. She arranges the existing structures of the songs to create a new work, a hybrid of the original sounds and narratives.
Her performance art work has also dealt with interpretation. In March of 2018 she performed in “You Can Tell Everybody (This Is Your Song),” a collaboration with the artist Einat Amir in which Ray composed and performed songs improvised on the spot from text messages sent by the public in attendance. Later that same year, the two collaborated on “Viljen i Veta.” For this performance, Ray turned the public’s real time comments about their life in Sweden into lyrics of new songs based on the music of popular Swedish songs. Ray is currently working on a monologue play which deals with cultural appropriation, colonization and racism in The United States.