On Thursday, March 8, 2018, Interscope Records’ R&B singer-songwriter and X Factor contestant Arin Ray hosted a Play Back for the release of his debut album Platinum Fire at Record Plant Studios in Hollywood. We talked about the Album title, his newborn son and how he is “trying” to be like Lionel Richie.
The 14-track project takes listeners on a winding journey as Ray reminisces over everything from love and temptation, old school memories and failed friendships.
With a dream team of producers in tow Nez & Rio, F Keys, Terrace Martin, and Childish Major, the album is as musical as it is personal. Ray showcases his powerful vocal range over a medley of hip-hop, jazz and neo-soul influenced instrumentals. The end result is a nuanced blend of new and old school sound which is sure to catch the ear of music lovers across the board. The album is now available on all digital retailers and features Childish Major, Terrace Martin, Ty Dolla $ign, DRAM, SiR, and YG.
I sat down with Arin for an exclusive interview: “Yeah, it’s called Platinum Fire and that’s what I was like smoking and I thought, man, that’s a dope ass name and I was like you should make that your album, and I was like, yeah. I really don’t tell the origin because it’s really not that interesting to me. I just liked the name. I just thought it was a cool name, and it gave me kind of a vibe to, you know, within all the songs that I made, like, I don’t know, I just kind of fed off of that title and tried to make songs that really, you know, incorporated that vibe, you know. I don’t know what Platinum Fire is.” He said.
Talking about the Album process and the producers, he said:
“It’s cool, man, and it didn’t take me too long to do it, either, man. It was a really cool process making this album. I kind of already had a foundation of who I was working with as far as the producers—shout out to Nez, shout out to F Keys, shout out to Terrence Martin, shout out to Childish Major, shout out to myself. Man, it’s been a dope quest. Yeah, Platinum Fire—I’ve been working on it for about like kind of two years now. That’s where I took the vibe from.”
And he told me about his inspiration for the Album’s songs:
“A lot of inspiration came from real life shit like real life events within my relationship, whether it was something I was going through within the industry of my business or my personal life, but a lot of it came from that. But as far as musical inspiration, I like a lot of the old-school music. A lot of Marvin Gaye, a lot of Michael Jackson, a lot of Lionel Richie. A lot of jazz, you know what I mean?” since Lionel is a personal friend and I also love his music, I asked him: “You like Lionel Richie? Oh, my God. He’s amazing.”
“Yeah, I’m trying to be like him.” He continues: “He’s still lit right now. A lot of people at that age ain’t really lit. He’s still lit.”
I wanted to know what he meant about his relationships: “With friends, family, my lady, my baby’s mother, you know what I mean? Myself, my son. Everybody, you know. All types of relationships. I’m learning a lot right now. Just have to talk to people, you know what I mean, and learn how to…I’m 22. I’m just now kind of learning how to grow the fuck up, you know what I mean? Like really learn how to handle my business, handle my shit, so you know, it’s just been that. It’s really that. And a lot of this shit came from my son. My son was born on November 29, 2016. But obviously, it was made before, so this whole time I’m making the album, he’s in my baby mother stomach, so a lot of the affirmation and the inspiration came from just knowing that he was coming, and then when he got here, knowing that he was there and I had to make sure everything was straight. Shout out to Pharo.”
Platinum Fire includes the 2017 single, “We Ain’t Homies (featuring YG),” which was written and co-produced by Ray. The single served as a strong addition to Ray’s long list of writing credits which includes songs for Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Rick Ross.
The Cincinnati native released his debut EP, Phases, in 2016; four years after first gaining popularity on the hit show X Factor. The album marks the beginning of a busy year for Ray as he is currently working on a jazz album with Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper, due late 2018.
“Turn it up, man. Yeah, I just want to tell everybody I’m real for this shit. I’m not here for the looks. I’m not here for nothing else but the music and to win these Grammies, to show that there can be somebody who’s trying to really like do something different within the R & B gang, within the…you know what I’m saying?
And he is already working on his next album: “I don’t know, man. It’s just my personality, so if this one works out the way we want it to, hopefully, shit, that second album…I’m already working on it.”
And since March 8 was National Women’s Day he said: “Shout out to National Women’s Day. That should be every day, you know what I mean?” he continues “We should celebrate women every day, you know what I mean?”
His last words: “Listen to the album, man.”