Written by | Ray Cornelius

R&B vocalist Ray Lavender isn’t afraid to admit that he is a bit country.  As a matter of fact, the Louisiana-born singer says it’s his “southern twang” that sets him apart from all of the other male R&B singers and keeps his female fans wanting more.

Ray, who was once signed to Akon’s Konlive  label, is now back on the scene with a new album, a new label [Global Artist Group] and a new single entitled, “We Love.”

RC had a chance to talk to the R&B crooner about his latest project, who he’d like to work with in the future and what its really like playing “kissy face” with Hollywood bad girl, Omarosa.

Check it out…

RC:  How did you get the name Ray Lavender?

RL:  I went through a series of names with the label: Ray Black, LA Ray, Ray Earl, and plain old Ray. And so I ended up telling the label to let me sleep on it and get back to them. The next morning I woke up and called Akon and was like, why don’t we just slice my name right down the middle, because my name is Ray Earl Lamar Lavender, and let’s just call me Ray Lavender. And so Akon was like, “That’s it. Let’s ride.” Keep in mind I had already had a single [My Girl Got a Girlfriend] on the radio and at that point I was called Ray L.

RC:  June is Black Music Month, what are your top three albums of all time?

RL:  Sam Cooke’s “Ain’t that Good News” featuring the song “A Change is Gonna Come.” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and then I would have to say R. Kelly’s “Twelve Play.”

RC: What makes your sound different from other male singers out there?

RL:  I’m country man. What you’re going to get out of me is that country crooning soul pop with a hip hop appeal.  I’m not gonna say that I have more soul than the next; but it’s just my tone and texture is really country.  You know when I’m in New York, the girls go crazy because I am country when I am singing [laughs].

RC:  What is the greatest lesson you learned from Akon?

RL:  To keep it simple. You don’t always have to over sing a song. “Kon” would say, “Ray! You’re singing too much! We’re going to leave that for some more of your records. Let’s party a little bit.”  So on my party records; I’m not singing as much.  I am having fun.  I’m kind of swaggin it out, sort of rapping a little bit.  I learn to also keep my hooks catchy.

RC:  Let’s talk about the new album and being signed to Global Artist Group…

RL:  The new album is fun!  Its creative and it’s gonna be timeless.  I had a great time doing the album. My music spectrum is all over the place.  We just recorded some good music.

RC:  Who would you like to work with in the future?

RL: Cold Play, Maroon Five, R. Kelly, Cee Lo Green and Brandy.  Her voice is a like a treasure.  It reminds me of something that will never happen again.

RC:  You appeared in the reality-dating series, The Ultimate Merger with Omarosa and was literally the last man standing.  What is she really like?

RL: [Laughs] So you want the real story?  I tell you what, Omarosa is not who most people think she is.  She is not a monster.  She is actually a sweet woman.  It’s people that bring that “monster “out of her.  They look for her to be negative because she has a book [The Bitch Switch: Knowing How to Turn it On and Off] and people just walk up to her and say, “Hey Bitch!”  So of course she is going to respond. I on the other hand, got the princess because of the type of guy that I am.  It’s just something about being country that women just love.

Here is Ray Lavender’s latest offering, We Love:

[youtube id=”LUhR4ye4V6o” width=”600″ height=”350″]