“Final Serenade” is a new song from Brooklyn-based musical artist Raycee Jones. This fast paced, electric, upbeat pop song celebrates the impending end of lockdown. Dreams, love, and persistence is the theme of the song which was written by Raycee Jones and produced by LA-based Chris Soper and Jesse Singer of Likeminds.
Raycee is inspired by genres ranging from soul, to electronica, to blues, to hip-hop and she has performed at BAMCafe, Rockwood Music Hall, Soho House, Knitting Factory and C’mon Everybody. She recently discussed her music via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in music and how did you break into the industry?
Raycee Jones (RJ): I initially got interested in music when I started singing at the age of five years old. My mom discovered I could sing at an after-church holiday social. They were singing Christmas songs and passing a microphone around, I got on the mic and started singing and my mom paused her conversation to “see what child was singing” and it was me! I started singing at every family party and grew up to discover it was something I wanted to pursue professionally. I studied music business in college and moved to NYC to break into the industry, playing all of the local clubs and writing with local NYC writers!
MM: How did you get involved with pop music in particular?
RJ: I’ve always loved pop music. Growing up Whitney Houston was my first idol. I’ve always loved catchy melodies and lyrics backed by powerful voices.
MM: What typically comes to you first, melodies or lyrics?
RJ: Lyrics tend to come to me first! I write poems in notes on my phone daily and tend to reach for them during sessions, and then I just riff on the lyrics to discover the melody.
MM: What inspired the general theme of your latest song?
RJ: The general theme of my latest song is about the constant struggle most artists have when they reach a crossroads with their art. Personally, I have this battle with myself constantly. I’ve watched friends change careers and leave their art behind altogether. There is this idea that you either pursue music or you don’t do it at all. But I’ve always felt there was more gray area than that. If you want to make art forever, then make art forever. Just because you might need to have a “job” to pay the bills doesn’t discredit your art, and it certainly will never take away the love you have for it. So, the concept is about the feeling of overwhelming, undeniable love one feels when they connect with their art and asking yourself and your art — do we still believe in this?
MM: How tough was it to produce this song during lockdown?
RJ: This song was actually produced before lockdown. But choosing to move forward with the release felt even more poignant with the lockdown. This pandemic has every musician, and person for that matter, questioning their life and whether continuing to live their dream is possible. I’m releasing this song to say, it is and you always will have space for love/art if you make it. Art is love and love is art.
MM: What is your forthcoming album going to be like in general?
RJ: For my next album, I’m hoping to put together a full live band album, but those types of projects take time and patience. I think my live show is really special and I want to find the best way to capture the live show on an album. That’s the next project!
MM: Do you have a favorite out of all your songs and, if so, which one and why?
RJ: I think my favorite song to sing is Fire and Ice. It just feels like butter when I sing it. Plus, I love the way the crowd reacts to it.
MM: How do you envision the music video for this latest song?
RJ: For the music video for “Final Serenade,” we wanted to create a visual that related to the times without blatantly doing so. Being in lockdown, and dreaming of the moment we can get out and party together again. Fall in love with each other all over again. But for now, we are creating our own isolated parties to get through. The video shows the dynamic of daydreaming about the party and then getting all glammed up to party in your living room that you turned into your own dance hall.
MM: How does Brooklyn inspire you?
RJ: Brooklyn inspires me just by existing. There is no corner that doesn’t ooze inspiration. Whether being at a music venue, making friends with strangers, reading messages spray-painted onto walls that I keep as my own signs from the universe, or people watching on the subway. There is no shortage of inspiration here, it’s why I live here!
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
RJ: My ultimate goals are to listen to myself and protect myself from the fears of life so that I can always make and love creating music for as long as I am able. It is so easy to get lost in your inner doubts, especially as we age, and we think we need to hang the towel up, or we allow outside comparisons to tell us where we should be and who we should be. I’ve found protecting my heart is the only way for me to personally keep going. So, the goal is just to be happy and inspired and remember all art is valid one hundred percent of the time.
To learn more about Raycee and her music, follow her on social media @rayceejones and visit her official website: www.rayceejones.com