by: katy mombourquette
Michelle Ray channels her rich musical background to produce an electrifying summer bop with her new single “Chasing Shadows.” Growing up in an extremely musical home, Ray had an opera singer manager for a grandmother and a rock band manager for a father. Infusing both classical music and rock ‘n roll into her heart, Ray began classical voice training at age 10 and later performed backing vocals on her Dad’s band’s national tours and opened for their sold-out shows in Japan. As she grew and began to think about her own sound, Ray gravitated towards soul/R&B pop music, finding inspiration in talents like Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and Bruno Mars. In the past years, she has been honing her skills singing in commercials for Maybelline, Mastercard, JCPenny, Nickelodeon and numerous others, and even found her way onto the fourth season of The Voice.
“Chasing Shadows” isn’t just any old summer anthem, it’s a paradoxical juxtaposition of the beauty of summer against the regretful longing for something that’s no longer there. Ray tells us “’Chasing Shadows’ is about thinking you can see or feel this presence everywhere you go but you can never actually hold it, it’s not tangible, so is it real or just your imagination? Instagram-filtered memories and drive-in movie fantasies melt together as we imagine a love that could save us.” From a sonic perspective, the single has a great groove, Ray’s velvety vocals, and crisp backing harmonies; all the fixins for a feel-good dance track. But her words are filled with hard realizations that add a layer of complexity, something that we often experience ourselves over the summer. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure: you can blast it through your speakers on a hot summer night, lost in the dream-pop/nu-disco sound, letting the musical vibes ease your mind. Or, you can take a moment of reflection and confront the beautiful and wistful nature of summer. Either way, “Chasing Shadows” shows Ray’s ability to use her long-developed breadth of musical knowledge to her advantage.