Get to Know Voctave Creator, Jamey Ray.
Nothing is more exciting than finding out someone from the area has made it into the world of entertainment and has the opportunity to showcase their talents on our stage as a professional. Jamey Ray is a Florida native who is originally from the Tampa Bay area! He attended Northside Christian School and actually performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in the early stages of his career. Aside from working with Voctave, Ray currently serves as a professor of music at Rollins College and is a well-known choral arranger / composer in the music industry. His choral pieces have been featured as top sellers on JW Pepper and can be heard in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center, performed daily by the Voices of Liberty. We had the honor to sit down and chat with the creator of Voctave.
When did you begin singing?
“Music has been a part of my life since I was a little boy. I started taking music classes at a very young age, like Kindergarten level, at Northside Christian School. From there, I became heavily involved with the Florida Boy Choir and have been in love with music ever since. I actually had the opportunity to perform with the first national touring company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which was a lot of fun. Can I give a quick shout out to all my fans from the area?"
Jamie was kind enough to send us a video with a special message for all his fans in the Clearwater area.
Let's get back to the questions, shall we?
Did you have any mentors growing up?
“I owe all my achievements to Mr. Brian Collar. His direction is what began everything for me. Mr. Collar is the one who taught me how to read musical notes and how to enhance my vocal abilities. Those two tools are what helped accelerate my career. From there, I was able to teach myself how to play the piano and began composing music that would later be sung by artists I listened to growing up.”
What exactly is Voctave?
“Voctave is an 11-member a cappella group from the Central Florida area known for their sophisticated vocal arrangements of Disney classics, Broadway show tunes and modern pop covers. Created in 2015, we have performed with GRAMMY®, Dove and American Music Award recipients including Sandi Patty, Pentatonix's Kirstin Maldonado, Mark Lowry, David Phelps & Jody McBrayer. In efforts to gain a nationwide audience, I started posting video footage of the group singing covers of Disney classics, like our Disney Princess Medley performance, which went viral. Posting our videos really helped us create a strong fan-base.”
Did you ever attend a show at Ruth Eckerd Hall?
“I sure do! Gosh, I can recall being a kid and actually performing on the main stage with the Florida Boy Choir for a Christmas concert! Ruth Eckerd Hall was the biggest theater I ever performed at. It was a life-changing experience for me! As a patron, I vividly remember attending a Sarah Brightman concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in 1999 and also went to a Linda Eder show in 2001. Two of my all-time faves.”
In closing, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring vocalists?
“Follow your dreams and never stop trying. It’s important to be in a city where the action is actually happening, do not sit around and wait! A versatile singer is a working singer. Do not be secluded to only singing one style of music, it will never work. I cannot express how important it is to learn sight-reading, I recommend that to all my students. The last one sounds cliché but being personable and nice to people goes a really long way.”