On The Porch With Front Porch Music

Spooky Season, Supporting Indie Artists and Shades of Purple with Nicole Rayy

September 05, 2023 Nicole Rayy Season 2 Episode 18
On The Porch With Front Porch Music
Spooky Season, Supporting Indie Artists and Shades of Purple with Nicole Rayy
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Nicole Rayy has become one of the most notable independent artists in Ontario. She is well known for her music, her activism, a strong support of independent artists, and the colour purple. 

Growing up in Ontario, Nicole brings us back to the beginning. From singing before she could even talk, to being one of the musical theatre nerds in High School, her love for music and her drive to uplift other voices has remained consistent throughout her life and career so far. 

We talked about her brainchild Harmonia Fest. A music festival celebrating female and non-binary musicians. We talked to Nicole about what it's like starting a festival and what she has learned in the process. 

From her intriguing love for spooky season to her incredible musical journey, Nicole Rayy has plenty of stories to tell. We get a sneak peek on what Nicole has up her sleeve for new music in the new year. 

Our chat with Nicole is also a deep dive into the realities of being a female artist in the music industry. We discuss her album "Now and Then" and her latest single and music video for "Dirty" 

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Nicole Rayy:

Like I felt myself being kind of a bitch and I was like, oh no, I'm falling for the trap of like what this industry is telling me. And I was like, maybe if I just start a community like that will help eliminate that feeling, like within me and maybe within other people as well. Like if we just hang out and realize that everybody you know has something to offer and that we all are working hard and doing our own thing and that there's space for everyone, then maybe that would sort of eliminate that feeling. And so that's really what it's about.

Jenna Weishar:

Welcome back to another episode of On the Porch with Front Porch. Music with Logan Miller.

Logan Miller:

And Jenna Weiser.

Jenna Weishar:

We had an awesome chat with Nicole Rayy this week. She is an Ontario based artist well known for supporting women, empowering women, giving women a platform through all women music. How many times can you say women in one sentence, jenna?

Logan Miller:

Probably more. Go for it.

Jenna Weishar:

She started a festival called Harmonia Fest, and she just released a brand new music video for her current single, dirty.

Logan Miller:

We talked about spooky season, her favorite time of year. We talked about doing musical theater. Growing up we even had some conversations with the spirits.

Jenna Weishar:

We didn't talk to them, we just heard from them.

Logan Miller:

Oh yeah, we heard from them.

Jenna Weishar:

They heard us. We didn't hear them. They didn't hear us.

Logan Miller:

So enjoy your chat with Nicole Rayy.

Jenna Weishar:

Doo doo, doo, doo, doo.

Logan Miller:

Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo.

Nicole Rayy:

Thanks for having me.

Logan Miller:

Yeah, welcome to the porch to the rainy porch. It is today.

Nicole Rayy:

I know, although I kind of love fall more than.

Jason:

I love.

Nicole Rayy:

I know no one wants to say it, since there's still summer left, but I'm kind of excited about the cold weather.

Logan Miller:

I know I know, I mean, Jen is not happy about it, but I'm okay with it as well.

Jenna Weishar:

I'm a summer baby. We're wearing a spooky sweater, not that anyone listening knows.

Logan Miller:

Oh yeah, you are wearing a spooky sweater.

Jenna Weishar:

We're in the spooky season already. You literally joined and I saw it and I was like, oh god, thanks, I'm ready to fall.

Logan Miller:

Let's go. That's funny. Why don't you tell us a bit about yourself where you're from, who you are, how you got to where you are?

Jason:

Start right from the beginning.

Nicole Rayy:

How long do we have? Okay, right back to the start.

Logan Miller:

We can edit, so go as long as you need.

Nicole Rayy:

Well, I actually always tell this story, but my mom always used to make jokes growing up that apparently I tried singing before I tried speaking. I tried to make up songs as a baby apparently. So it goes way back to me being a baby. That music was in my blood and I was always that girl growing up that was in all the school musicals and the choir. I was never popular in school.

Logan Miller:

Me neither. But the trick to that is going to an arts high school, which is what I did, and then all of a sudden, you're cool.

Nicole Rayy:

My high school turned into an arts high school the year I was leaving, so I was a little disappointed about that. I never got the experience of that. I was always the uncool theater girl, but I never really cared because I just loved it so much. And I ended up, after I graduated, going to university for a year and then I was like you know what I don't really want to study? I want to make music. So I quickly dropped out of school in pursuit of music and here we are, 12 years later and four albums later. So it's been quite the journey.

Logan Miller:

Oh whirlwind.

Jenna Weishar:

Can you tell us about your favorite musical? I picture like grade two Nicole in a musical, so like we little Nicole in a Halloween musical in her little witch hat or something.

Nicole Rayy:

Yeah, oh my God, I wish we did a Halloween scene, wicked, you should be a wicked Right, I love wicked.

Nicole Rayy:

I went to see it with my parents and I was like, can we go back and see it again like 10 more times? And I was always in college, like for a university, when I went for one year, like in my dorm, I lived in this hotel. Actually, they rented out floors like to students as a res, because I went to Ryerson and they didn't have a lot of student res and there was just like me in the halls of the hotel, singing wicked songs and like probably knowing all of the people that lived on that floor.

Jenna Weishar:

Wait, you lived a sweet life, sort of Right, zack and Cody. How did that? How does that actually work out? Like, do they put like multiple floors of students and then regular hotel guests? Because I've heard the regular? If I were the regular hotel guests I'd be pissed.

Nicole Rayy:

Right. I'm pretty sure most of it was for students. It was like the second floor, like the 15th floor, was for students and then, like the top five floors, were still used for hotel guests, but it was pretty much just like a free for all of students.

Jenna Weishar:

Oh, my gosh yeah.

Nicole Rayy:

I feel bad for anyone who stayed there. That's what I'm saying.

Jenna Weishar:

Wow, was it haunted? What hotel was it? Oh, I don't know.

Nicole Rayy:

I feel like I wasn't like as in tune with that kind of stuff in those days as I love to be now. So I don't know and I never heard any stories about it being haunted. But now I just love that stuff. I have this app on my phone. It's like a spirit talker thing and you can turn it on and it like reads frequencies in the room and then it'll like come up with different words. So it's like those are talking to you. It's so funny.

Logan Miller:

No, thanks that no.

Jenna Weishar:

I would literally rather no, maybe I get curious sometime actually.

Logan Miller:

No, I would no.

Jenna Weishar:

Just run.

Logan Miller:

That sounds like my nightmare.

Jenna Weishar:

Could be.

Nicole Rayy:

But yeah, I mean it can be a little creepy.

Logan Miller:

Yeah, no, my brain is busy enough. I don't need that as well.

Jenna Weishar:

Who is in the room with me, right? I thought it was a little.

Logan Miller:

Jenna.

Jenna Weishar:

Right, it's me haunting you, but I'm not dead yet. Yeah, okay, well, no promises.

Nicole Rayy:

I won't like turn it on at some point and tell you what the other voices are saying.

Logan Miller:

Oh my God, can you turn it on?

Nicole Rayy:

Yeah, no, I can't turn it on now.

Logan Miller:

Yeah, it's fun because it's not in my house.

Nicole Rayy:

He will put it on, and then we'll just like let it work. While we're chatting I'll tell you if any words come up.

Logan Miller:

Oh my God, I'm so excited and so scared at the same time.

Nicole Rayy:

It's so fun. I obviously get into this stuff a lot with Sam Dabs, who is one of the writers of Graveyard and she's like a big writer right now writing for lots of independent artists, and like she loves this whole witchcraft thing as well, obviously writing in that kind of realm, and like we do this one word together all the time and we watch like paranormal files and everything like spooky.

Jenna Weishar:

No, that's terrifying. That's not funny, that's terrifying.

Logan Miller:

It's a bit of a derail from where we were going to go from this conversation. But when did all this love for the spooky season come into effect? Oh my God, like how did you kind of fall into it, like the season fall.

Nicole Rayy:

Good one? No, it wasn't.

Jenna Weishar:

I like a corny pun, so I like. You found your own slogan.

Logan Miller:

Jenna is going to be leaving this conversation.

Nicole Rayy:

I've always been like the dress-up girl, though Like I've loved Halloween as a kid because I just like loved the costume element, part of it. Like it was always such a big deal to like pick out the costume or I used to make my costume too when I was a kid, which I still do. Damon and I are huge into like our couple costumes and we go thrift and like go all out. So originally I feel like the love for Halloween was like just about the costume.

Nicole Rayy:

But then I just started getting more into like the spooky realm world and, more importantly, I really wanted to be able to sort of bring that into my music Because I mean, like we all know, artists have Christmas albums and Christmas songs and you can put like celebrate that kind of music during that time of year. And I was like I really just want to put out music like during Halloween, like I want that to just like I want to have a Halloween album because I just think that would be so cool. And so it was just about like trying to figure out how to match that, you know with my music, not just, you know, a side hobby for spookiness. So obviously that kind of started with putting out my song Graveyard last year and then I've sort of been in this realm of writing like a bunch of what everyone now is calling murder country ballads. I have a lot in that realm that I've written it and I'm kind of excited to explore that sort of sub genre a little further.

Jenna Weishar:

Like leaning into your. Earl had to die. Situation Right.

Nicole Rayy:

Exactly yes. Yeah, I wrote a song recently kind of inspired by Yellowstone. Do you guys watch that show?

Logan Miller:

I tried and.

Nicole Rayy:

I know this is such an unpopular opinion.

Logan Miller:

I watched like the first four or five episodes. It should be a show that I would like. It has everything, everything that I love, but I couldn't get into it.

Nicole Rayy:

No, okay. Well, like in that show, when they're like going to murder someone, they don't just say that, they say like, oh, I'm going to take them to the train station. So I recently wrote a song called Take them to the train station, which is basically just code, for he's got to go.

Jenna Weishar:

Oh my gosh, we're at are going to turn into like, in theory, if we killed your fiance, or like if your husband didn't make it to the wedding.

Nicole Rayy:

I mean murder country song going going pretty far now and but somehow I feel there's still like a double standard in favor of women which like doesn't normally happen, that like women can get away with saying that. Whereas I feel like if that song came from a male, I would be actually worried.

Logan Miller:

Well, because, like the men who do sing that are kind of like they might actually do it Right.

Nicole Rayy:

Yeah, okay, oh, my spirit talker just said there's a group of us which, there is a group of us right here, so that's creepy. Okay, there's also spirits, apparently in here.

Logan Miller:

They're just joining in on the fun.

Jenna Weishar:

Right, no bad talking.

Logan Miller:

They want to murder country with you.

Nicole Rayy:

Right, yeah, they're down for this genre.

Jenna Weishar:

You got it, so you got it. Sorry, I'm still on this. I'm just now. I'm thinking about Carrie Underwood and like two black Cadillacs and house.

Logan Miller:

Yeah.

Jenna Weishar:

Subtle, but not subtle it is.

Logan Miller:

Not subtle.

Nicole Rayy:

No, but she can totally get away with that. And when I feel like, yeah, women are kind of leaning into this genre a little bit now, which is I? Just I'm here for it.

Jenna Weishar:

Well, if we're not going to play them on the radio, let's kill them, and then we'll go Right. Kidding, I'm kidding.

Logan Miller:

It's funny because, like you have like spooky music coming out, but you also have a lot of Christmas songs which is such like a turn that off Right, give that a 180. Are you also just like a fan of Christmas? Are you just a fan of like big holidays and just like going all out?

Nicole Rayy:

Yeah, I'm a fan of over decorating. I think that's like really what it comes down to. Is that like, especially now that I live in a house where there's like room to over decorate, I just like have gone crazy in the last four years Like I've spent way too much money on decorations for both Halloween and Christmas and yeah, it's like definitely like two sides of my personality, because obviously spooky and Christmas music is like very, very different but I think it really just stems from the desire to over decorate and get super into the holiday.

Jenna Weishar:

Love it Do you have a purple Christmas tree.

Nicole Rayy:

So we get a real Christmas tree, but I have purple lights and purple decorations, of course.

Logan Miller:

Very good brand.

Jenna Weishar:

I have a purple tree and I thought you might appreciate that.

Nicole Rayy:

Oh my gosh, please send me a picture at Christmas.

Jenna Weishar:

I will. I'm going to make you. I don't send Christmas cards. I'm going to make you one. It's just going to be my Christmas tree.

Nicole Rayy:

Yes so cute I'm so excited I tend to be on brand with the decorating, even in my house. For a couple of days I'm like, yeah, I need to be purple.

Jenna Weishar:

Is they remember, like can we switch on? Or is he just like? You're right, purple, it is.

Nicole Rayy:

You know what? I think it's just come to expect it at this point, like we had had a couple early on living in this house, years of like different themed Christmases, like one year we had Harry Potter Christmas actually. So, everything was like all the ornaments were, you know, the colors of the houses and stuff. And then I kind of took over with the purple and he's like, yeah, yeah, that's fine. Like, what else is new?

Jenna Weishar:

I knew he was signing up for so like right. How did purple become part of the brand so?

Nicole Rayy:

growing up, my favorite color was always black, which I still love. Black, I mean, a black outfit is so classy, but like, apparently that didn't count when you were a kid, like I remember people were like, that's not a color.

Logan Miller:

It's a shade, it's a shade.

Nicole Rayy:

So then I feel like I, just after that, kind of gravitated towards purple because to me it was like the closest, without like being too crazy of a color.

Nicole Rayy:

It was like, okay, you know a nice deep purple. And then, yeah, I, at some point, you know, with my branding, and especially, you know, with Instagram, when it came all about like the grid looking a certain way and that being really important, I was like, well, the only thing I really like, you know, color wise or aesthetic wise, is purple. So let's just kind of start with that and see how it goes. And then now it's like just an obsession, because it's like gone on for so long that like I thought about changing it and I'm like I just can't like.

Logan Miller:

I'm gonna call an uproar.

Nicole Rayy:

The next one was not purple, it was like it wouldn't work.

Logan Miller:

People would lose their mind. We've come to expect purple and it works really well for you. I mean, when you're scrolling through Instagram or any social media and you see something purple, you know it's going to be probably.

Nicole Rayy:

Nicole Right, I think it's working too well at this point. If I'd changed it, people wouldn't know who I am anymore no-transcript.

Jenna Weishar:

Right Is everything okay.

Nicole Rayy:

Panic, which was not purple, you okay.

Logan Miller:

Yeah, kind of stepping away from going back to what we were gonna be talking about.

Jenna Weishar:

We went off the rail so far and we stopped going.

Logan Miller:

You just had your harmony effaced. Tell us a bit about that. So, for those who don't know, tell us the concept behind it, the reasoning behind it and how it became your little baby.

Nicole Rayy:

So it's a festival that is an all-female festival. It supports females and non-binary artists and country music, and it started really because one year I think it was 2018 or 2019, I was getting. I was like sort of waiting for the festival lineups to come in that year and I was actually in Winnipeg for a show and some big festival announced and there was like no females on the whole lineup or like one. And I was just so frustrated at this point because obviously this has been a little bit of a pattern in the festival world and so I just remember calling up my mom and being like this is ridiculous, like what are we gonna do?

Jason:

I'm never gonna get on a show if they're all gonna like they just want males.

Nicole Rayy:

All the time Like there has to be something to do. I was like I'm just gonna start my own thing and she was like okay, and like I thought she was gonna be like well, this is crazy, like please talk me out of it. But no, my parents were like okay, well, what do we need to do to like help you make this happen? And so in the first year, we actually had it in Milton and partnered with the Italian cultural club which was a bit tricky cause that was COVID.

Nicole Rayy:

So it was a drive-in festival, which was a bit weird. Those were so weird when that was a thing and everyone was like hocking at you instead of clapping.

Logan Miller:

Yeah, you performed at the CMAOs in during one of the drive-in years.

Nicole Rayy:

Yes, it was so cute, so weird. Sorry not your performance.

Logan Miller:

The performance wasn't weird, yes, but the whole just like flashing your high beams and like honking the horn. It's like usually a horn honks when people are mad, so I don't know how. It was very strange.

Nicole Rayy:

That was a very foreign way to like applaud somebody's performance. But yes, we kind of made it work through COVID. And then I met Maddie Coran, who's another artist and songwriter. I met her in like a songwriting group chat thing during COVID when we were all Zoom writing, and she works at Brooks Farms, which is, of course, the venue that we've had it at for the last three years, and she has a close relationship with the people that own the farm and they were looking to have more live music there and trying to sort of get that started at their venue. And so I came in and I was like, hey, I wanna host a female festival, what do you think? And they were super on board and of course I've welcomed us back every year and, including this year, we've they built a brand new barn event space so they're gonna have live music in the winter as well now as in the summer and it has a beautiful patio and it was just like the most gorgeous setting and the best harmonia fest we've had yet.

Nicole Rayy:

So I'm excited to go forth with that new addition to the venue and we've already set a date for next year. So no excuses, everyone put it in your calendar now, august 17th, and we'll see you in 2024 at Harmonia Fest.

Logan Miller:

I'm putting it in my calendar right now.

Jenna Weishar:

I literally just pulled up mine too. I was like let's put this in the shared calendar.

Logan Miller:

Yay.

Jenna Weishar:

Because this year was burnout just period. Last year. You guys will be busy. Last year was moving. I remember, oh, yes, I remember we were moving on that day. Literally, and Logan was on a wedding, I think.

Logan Miller:

I'm so overwetting.

Jenna Weishar:

This year we were cheering ourselves. Your love, love, go music. Let's go Seriously. This year we were trying to talk ourselves we're like we can do this we can make. And then I was like I literally can't. And he's like no.

Nicole Rayy:

But then you spend the rest of the year. It's in my calendar now.

Jenna Weishar:

Yay, perfect, did you share it? No, but you spend the rest of the year waiting for festival season at the same time. So you're like what are some of the things? Like I don't know how many people are thinking like I'm gonna start my own festival because that seems like a huge undertaking. What are some of those things that you didn't think before, like you didn't know before you did it, that you were like holy, this is a lift.

Nicole Rayy:

Oh, my goodness. Well, first of all, when I was originally thinking about doing it, it was like okay, we're gonna have this in a field somewhere. But then it was like okay, then I have nothing Like, I have to figure out a bathroom plan. A electricity plan and everything planned and I was like well, Parking that seems like too much work.

Nicole Rayy:

So really this partnership with Brooks Farms has been a savior from that point of view, because it's like so many of those things are already built in that I don't have to think about and there still are like so many things that like you just sort of take for granted. You know, when you go to a festival you don't think about the fact that you have to think about those little small details. And even in our first year I remember I was like, oh my God. Well, like if we wanna have lanyards at this festival to be like official and give them to the band and all like the VIP people, like somebody has to make that, I have to make that, cause there's nobody else here to like put that together, and so just things like that that you don't think of until you're doing it. But you know, having this, this venue partnership, has really been a huge savior to me.

Nicole Rayy:

There's been a lot less crying in the last few years cause. They've helped out with a lot of those small details.

Logan Miller:

That's fair Very important.

Nicole Rayy:

What's the?

Jenna Weishar:

biggest difference between other than other than honking cars and COVID. What's the like biggest difference between your first Harmony FS versus this year's?

Nicole Rayy:

The people that I have involved to help with some of the jobs that I'm not very good at, because in the first couple of years we ran all the sound by ourselves, and that was a thing that I should never do.

Nicole Rayy:

Cause it's a lot of work and I'm not a sound man, so I don't know how a lot of things work. And I mean I had helpers, you know, helping out. But this year we had our wonderful sound man, dan, who, like, brought in all the equipment, set it up, ran it for the whole day, you know, packed it up. I didn't have to do any of that and that has been a true blessing between the beginning and now. I can imagine.

Jenna Weishar:

Yeah, that stuff really overwhelms me, Even we had a small event at the CMAOs and we had to bring our own gear too, and when I opened the box with the sound board in it, I was like why are there ever town saints getting here? I'm just, I'm just. I'm just looking for Joe, please. Is he coming five minutes ago?

Nicole Rayy:

Right, I mean, it's a lot. Sometimes, like you know, you think they'll just be straightforward, plug and play, but then, when things go wrong, it's like I have abs that's the issue.

Logan Miller:

Everything's fine until it goes wrong.

Nicole Rayy:

Right, yeah, and that is like chaos, because I have no idea what, like how, to troubleshoot this problem.

Logan Miller:

You're literally describing me trying to go through a website's code. I'm like everything's fine, it's fine, I don't know great. Well, speaking of exciting things kind of like that, it was announced this year that you have been, uh, nominated, or what's the word. You're on the board for the CMA os.

Nicole Rayy:

I've been chosen.

Logan Miller:

You were voted in as uh as as on the board of directors for the CMA Ontario's.

Nicole Rayy:

Yes, oh my gosh.

Logan Miller:

Congratulations.

Nicole Rayy:

Sometimes I'm like, why did I sign up for more work than I don't have time for? But, um, no, thank you very much. I'm. I'm really, really excited, and especially just from the point of view of an independent artist, because, um, our independent artist community In Ontario is huge now like massive. I mean, when I started out, there was a lot of us as well, but now I feel like it's quadrupled.

Jason:

Yeah, so many, you're all multiplying.

Nicole Rayy:

Right, I think during co-vid too, like a million more people decided to take up their dreams of which is great. Some singers right. But um, I think you know, maybe the the board was not prepared for such a A massive growth in the independent artists that they just don't necessarily know how to service those people and there hasn't always been an artist on the board to kind of be the voice For those people.

Logan Miller:

So I was actually thinking that. Yeah, I was thinking that on my drive home today because I was like I don't I can't recall any member of the board who was also an active artist.

Nicole Rayy:

So, like there have been other artists on the board at one point like well, like early runaway angel days, but that was like in like what? 2015, 2016 or something like that so it's been a really long time since there's been an active artist on the board.

Logan Miller:

Why do you think it's so important to have an artist, especially an independent artist, part of those kind of conversations and in those spaces?

Nicole Rayy:

I think, because maybe, like the other people on the board is, you know as hard as they're working to do their part, they just don't necessarily understand the artist's point of view. Like I think it's really hard to explain you know the journey as an independent artist and sort of the struggles and what you know we're going through or where we're like sort of falling through the cracks and in our organization not sort of fulfilling what we need, and I I think it's really important to to have the artist voice in there and I think the board is looking for that more and more. I mean, I know during our annual general meeting this year there was like a call out for you know concerns and and a lot of people spoke up and I think that's going to help going forward because I I feel like they were kind of lost, like we don't know what you guys actually want us to do, um, here on the board, and so I'm hoping I can kind of be the middle man a little bit and sort of translate the artist's needs.

Jenna Weishar:

What they need, what we can do, nicole being like, well, we have to meet somewhere in the middle. It's interesting too, because, like, this isn't me, this is me saying it but having no evidence, but knowing, the majority of artists that are part of any of these associations are independent. That's just the way it is. Yes, so it's interesting that that, that that's not something that's already top of mind.

Nicole Rayy:

Yeah, I could, just because the community has expanded so much. But yeah, maybe they just didn't know what the independent artists were looking for. But Hopefully we can solve a few problems going forward.

Jenna Weishar:

You joining the board also speaks to something too, because I'm sure I'm sure it was an easy like decision for most people.

Nicole Rayy:

Well, I'm glad I had the support from for people voting. But yeah, I imagine that was like people's thought process too, like maybe they had thought about it before and then just didn't run and they were like, oh, another artist, somebody to say something, somebody else to do it, right, yeah.

Jenna Weishar:

You can do the hard work. We'll tell you and you can tell everyone else. Um, let's go back. We were talking about harmony of est earlier. Harmony of est is part of a greater initiative that you've started and have been Been like growing over the last few years. All women music I'm like they were. They were born out of the same Concern, tells you that the all women music community.

Nicole Rayy:

Yeah, so that Originally, like you said, of course, the same concern. I was starting it because I wanted to support and give more opportunities to women in country music, but it was also because I feel like this industry just does a really good job of Obviously making women feel like they have to compete against each other because there's only one spot for one of us, so it's like everyone else you got to punch everyone else out to like get to the top. I mean, there's room for everyone. And like the amount of talented women in Canadian country alone is insane. So I don't know why we're still holding people back from those opportunities.

Nicole Rayy:

But I was kind of like buying into it at some point. Like I felt myself being kind of a bitch and I was like, oh no, I'm falling for the trap of like what this industry is telling me and I was like maybe if I just Start a community, like that will help eliminate that feeling, like within me and maybe within other people as well. Like if we just hang out and realize that everybody you know has something to offer and that we all are working hard and doing our own thing and that there's space for everyone, then maybe that would sort of eliminate that feeling, and so that's really what it's about. Obviously, you know it's a show that I host once a month to give performance opportunities to artists, but it's really about building that community and kind of having more of a safe space to be like, hey, girl, I got your back. You know what I mean and not feeling like we got to like knock someone out.

Jenna Weishar:

Since the CCMAs are right around the corner, which I can't believe. Oh, it feels like we just got home from.

Jason:

Calgary.

Jenna Weishar:

How did we get? Here Literally because I was sitting in this room like I came home and came to this house, so like I'm tricked, but you're. You did this last year in Calgary and you're doing it again this year. You've partnered with the Blue Jays Sessions and Dan Klapsen and that team to host the all women as part of the Blue Jays Sessions as well. Right.

Nicole Rayy:

Yes, I know, thank goodness for Dan. That man works really really hard to to put together a lot of opportunities for artists, and especially independent artists as well. And yeah, we have a really, really cool venue in Hamilton, of course, called Capri restaurant. It looks so cool.

Jenna Weishar:

You have a picture.

Nicole Rayy:

And, yes, the the Blue Jays Flash all women will be Wednesday, thursday and Friday. So 13th, 14th and 15th of September, and and the all women portion will be the Thursday. So we have four different songwriters rounds and then we're ending the night with like a full band jam party, which will be really, really fun, and there's also going to be like live karaoke with the band. If any artists want to come sign up and sing a song.

Jenna Weishar:

Jenna what about if you're not officially an artist?

Logan Miller:

That's okay, you can see we're going to do a duet.

Nicole Rayy:

Yes, please come and sing.

Jenna Weishar:

Nobody wants to hear that.

Logan Miller:

We'll sing goodbye Earl.

Nicole Rayy:

There you go, yes. You'll have a lot of people on the back up and all those like you know all the side parts of the song that is the room that.

Logan Miller:

I that, no, I will never be doing karaoke in that room, a room full of artists. No.

Nicole Rayy:

Okay, I thought it was a different one you have like a karaoke song like you're like go to. Like if someone forced you to get up and do karaoke, I literally don't do karaoke.

Logan Miller:

I. The only times I ever do karaoke is when I don't really remember.

Nicole Rayy:

That's fair.

Logan Miller:

Um, but I have definitely sang. Goodbye, earl. I know that for a fact. Yes, well, right choice Love it, don't change the thing oh no, maybe you'll get a live viewing of it, but if we start singing.

Jenna Weishar:

Here's the thing. Charlie poof reminded us that even bag singers sound good when a thousand people are singing at the same time.

Logan Miller:

You know what that's true? So, Good point, so we'll just go.

Nicole Rayy:

We'll just go.

Logan Miller:

Maryannan and hold the mic up.

Nicole Rayy:

Just move the mic around and we'll just have a whole group performance.

Jenna Weishar:

Yes also no, we need to stop. We need to stop.

Logan Miller:

So going back a bit to the All Women initiative, getting us back on the rails here.

Nicole Rayy:

We've gone off a lot, which is where the fun happens Right.

Logan Miller:

So for All Women. How has the reception been to that? Has there been like within the industry? Has there been like some weird pushback, or has it been fully embraced, as it should be?

Nicole Rayy:

So a little bit of both. Obviously, like from the artist standpoint, I feel it's been really embraced and sort of to me, like to my shock. Now people are like asking me they want to sign up to do it and I'm like, oh cool, like you know about this, that's awesome. So that's been great. And obviously I've had support, you know, from people like Dan who want to partner with me in the industry and put on these showcases. But sometimes and like I could totally just be making this up in my head, but like sometimes I feel like there's like a little quiet voice over here that's telling me that like some people in the industry are mad about what I'm doing, Like they're, or like I don't get picked for other things because they think I'm all about doing women stuff and I'm like anti men, which is obviously not like what this is about.

Logan Miller:

But also how ridiculous.

Nicole Rayy:

Right and like. I don't necessarily have any proof of this so I could just be making it up, but so I mean honestly. I think anytime there's any sort of like feminist movement or a feminist like reason behind something, people can misconstrue that and think it's like manhating and not just we're trying to support women and have equality and not like we're not trying to be better than you If we want an equal playing field, and sometimes I think people don't necessarily understand that- Well, and like you said earlier, like there's room for everybody.

Logan Miller:

Like, just because you're successful doesn't mean this person's not also going to be successful, like it's. So it blows my mind Right.

Nicole Rayy:

I know, I think we get caught up in that. And I mean, you know, obviously the industry is sometimes telling us like, oh, there's only room for one or whatever, and so it's easy to kind of get caught up in that. But you know, there's so much talent and everybody brings something uniquely their own that there's no reason there can't be space for lots of different artists. And I think that's you know where I get the excitement out of doing it and why I'm proud to do it is because you know, sometimes for me, even thinking about my own career, I'm like if things you know never go to the place that I like quote unquote want them to go, with my own career At least, by doing these kinds of things, like I'm opening up doors for people who come after me and like that is leaving such a different mark that I had no idea that.

Jenna Weishar:

I was going to be a part of in this industry and that is really really special 100%.

Logan Miller:

Well, you should be proud about that. That's really cool yeah.

Nicole Rayy:

Thank you.

Logan Miller:

Wait before we move on. What's your spirit, spirit microphone doing?

Nicole Rayy:

Oh my gosh, I forgot. Oh my God, I said so many words, well.

Logan Miller:

I wasn't like that little feeling, like voice that you said you were hearing. Was that actually a spirit?

Nicole Rayy:

Oh well, it said here visual year castle. So I don't know what to do with any of those words, but something it's picking up something, have fun.

Logan Miller:

Jenna looks distressed.

Jenna Weishar:

I'm like a little less scared than I thought I was going to be.

Logan Miller:

Earlier this year you released your album. Now and then and everyone who is now hearing that can picture the purple tint on that front. Why don't you tell us a bit about releasing that album?

Nicole Rayy:

So for me this was a really cool project because over the last few years and I mean, I think everyone sort of feels this way that it's sort of feels this way that we're less of an album world now or more of, you know, the singles world and music. And that album was sort of a collection of singles that I had put out over the past couple years but some of the ones that have done the most for me and sort of like move the needle forward a little bit for me and got me more opportunities. So it kind of felt like a cool, like best hits of Nicole Ray so far album, which was really awesome to just kind of have that all in one place, especially because I've been playing these songs a lot over the last couple years. And then of course you know you go to a show and people are like where can I get this album?

Nicole Rayy:

I'm like sorry, I have three other ones, but none of these songs are on them. So it was great to you know finally have that all in one place, in one album that people could take home and enjoy as well.

Jenna Weishar:

And I have one that I brought home to enjoy.

Logan Miller:

Yay.

Jenna Weishar:

You are currently working a single yes. I feel like working is a. There's a pun in there somewhere. This song is called dirty. Yes, Tell us about dirty.

Nicole Rayy:

I know. So I, immediately after putting out now and then which, like you said, came out early in the year, in February, I was like you know what I'm going to just like take a break for a hot minute and just like enjoy the ride of this album, and then you didn't take a break.

Nicole Rayy:

And then I didn't do that at all. Then I turned around and put out another song, but I've sort of just been like enjoying the journey with this song. It's a really fun song. I mean, a lot of my songs are like angry girl country or like about specific relationships or breakups or whatever, but this is just like a super fun song, obviously about like how we all clean up good, just to go home and get dirty.

Nicole Rayy:

And just sort of the irony in that. And yeah, I just wanted to like put it out for the summer and just enjoy it instead of working it so hard, because I mean, I told myself I was going to take a break and then I didn't. But I've just been kind of letting this, the chips fall where they may with these, with this single, and just you know, seeing what people think, without overworking myself on this one, which has been kind of nice. So it's like I put out music but still kind of got to take a little bit of a break.

Jenna Weishar:

You're. You're one person who everything is very planned to right, like you have your marketing down and you have your release schedule. So this is kind of nice to be, like I'll put this out and it's for fun, and like I'm going to like right, give it the like, give it what it needs, but I'm not going to like overstress myself. That's kind of nice to do that too.

Nicole Rayy:

Yeah, that's it, that was exactly it. And yeah, I've always been such a planner, so it was nice to kind of just, you know, take a little break from the planning so much and just sort of put the song out and just be happy about it, about sharing it, because it's so fun.

Logan Miller:

So the music video for dirty is out now and you'll be able to see it on our website for musicca. Tell us about the music video, the story behind it, how fun was it to record?

Nicole Rayy:

Oh my God, it was insane. So if you haven't gone to check it out, please do. You get to enjoy some friends mud wrestling, which is super fun.

Logan Miller:

Getting dirty.

Nicole Rayy:

Yeah, dirty. And the best part is I had some friends of mine that were supposed to come, that had kind of volunteered for this mud wrestling position in the music video, and at the last minute some people failed, which you know happens, but I was not too pleased. But luckily some friends came to the rescue, including Mackenzie Lee Meyer, who obviously is a wonderful, amazing artist of her own, and she just jumped right in there to mud wrestle for me in this music video.

Nicole Rayy:

So enjoy that and then go check out all of her music after, because she's amazing. But that's what I love about this artist community with people that you get close with, they're like yeah sure, I'll mud wrestle for you, no big deal, I'll do anything for you. Right. So I think her music videos they needed somebody to be like the butt that they zoom in on, like the opening scene of the video. So I volunteered to do that. But I still think her thing was worse of having to mud wrestle.

Logan Miller:

So she owed you.

Nicole Rayy:

We just volunteered to be in each other's videos, which is so much fun. And Jesse T is actually in the video as well. You go check out her music as well. She played guitar in the band because we have like a performance scene with the whole band and I was like I need a cool chick and she knocked it out of the park. She looked so cool back there.

Logan Miller:

She is in fact a cool chick.

Nicole Rayy:

Right, she's the coolest, and that day she looked amazing. I was just like, oh my God, you look way too cool to be associated with me.

Logan Miller:

She nailed it.

Nicole Rayy:

Right, we had so much fun.

Nicole Rayy:

We had so much fun doing that. So, yeah, if you want to see some mud wrestling and some performing, go check it out. Where did you do this? So we actually filmed everything at a farm called Aron Hill Acres. So I had kind of partnered with them earlier in the year to do an all-woman show at their venue Because it's so beautiful, such a beautiful space.

Nicole Rayy:

They used to be just a Christmas tree farm, but now they're open all year round, so they've got like the lavender, sunflowers, pumpkins and then, of course, the Christmas trees. So we went there because they have this beautiful purple couch out on their little deck for you to take pictures with. And of course that was calling my name to go take a picture with the couch. So we went there and just met the owners and they're just a wonderful family and I was like, hey, do you mind if we film something here and just mud wrestle? And they were completely on board. So thank goodness for that, because otherwise I don't really know where we would have been okay to film, like, hey, mom and dad.

Jenna Weishar:

Can I tear up your backyard, Do you mind?

Nicole Rayy:

Right, yeah, that would not have gone over. Mom is like very anal about her grass, so that would have been a no for sure, no, boy, no.

Jenna Weishar:

So is this is dirty part of an upcoming project that you're going to start working on, or is it a one-off and you're going to take a little break for real, or what's the plan?

Nicole Rayy:

Nah, no break for real.

Logan Miller:

Who was she kidding?

Nicole Rayy:

It is, and I have a couple other things that I've already were in the process of recording some things. I've already got the bed tracks and stuff ready to go. So for me a lot of my earlier music has been very pop country. I write well in that vein, but personally I don't think I sing well in that vein. Country Rock has always suited my voice a lot better and that's where I feel like I thrive. Even like when I choose cover songs, I'm always in that realm and not really in the pop realm. So I feel like I've finally decided to go on that route and do what I feel like is serving me best as an artist. So everything coming up is going to be a little more on the country rock side, a lot more bluesy.

Nicole Rayy:

You get a taste of it with dirty. It does kind of have that swingy, bluesy kind of vocals and everything going forward is going to be more in that realm.

Jenna Weishar:

Not to be like when because you are working a single. That's literally one month old. That's a new year.

Nicole Rayy:

New year. Yes, so I was going to drop another single in the fall, but I've decided to hold off on it until January because in the same breath that I'm saying pop is not my thing, I am actually going to be doing something kind of fun for spooky season because people loved graveyard so much, especially the world of TikTok. So thank you to all the rock ladies out there. But we wanted to have kind of a remix of the song, so we're going to have kind of like a poppy dance version of graveyard coming out in the fall, so you can like jam to murder ballads in the club as well.

Nicole Rayy:

I had a graveyard Right so yeah, I'm just going to one pop and then go right back to rock.

Logan Miller:

That's funny. Send that right to all the DJs out there, right.

Nicole Rayy:

But I mean, we had a lot of love on the song and I just felt like it wasn't over yet. I felt like it was too short lived. You know, spooky season goes by pretty fast. Although people have been listening to it all year round, it actually had the most streams on Christmas day, weirdly enough. So people were in the mood on Christmas day.

Logan Miller:

You know what, honestly, that's fair. My family was stuck here in a snow storm relatable.

Nicole Rayy:

Right.

Logan Miller:

I was also in a murder reform, I think so. I mean it makes sense.

Nicole Rayy:

But yeah, I just kind of wanted the song to come to life.

Logan Miller:

Just kidding. Mom, I love you. She had to listen.

Nicole Rayy:

So, yes, we're just giving it a life. Part two on this song and just kind of seeing where it goes with this other version. That's just kind of a surprise thing. And then I will obviously start promoting new, new music in the new year. Amazing Thank you.

Logan Miller:

Well, nicole, we're coming up to the end here. Where can people find you?

Nicole Rayy:

You can find me. My website is wwwnacoraywithtwowisecom, and then all my social media is at Nicole Ray with Two Wise Music. If you found purple, you have found me.

Logan Miller:

Yep.

Jenna Weishar:

You found murder country. You also found me, yeah you found me.

Jason:

Thanks for listening to another episode of On the Porch. With Front Porch Music, we're so lucky to be able to chat with artists and make episodes like this one. If you like the podcast, remember to rate and review us and subscribe so you don't miss an episode. It's the easiest way to support the show. Remember to check out frontporchmusicca to keep up with new music releases, exclusive artists, interviews and more. We'll catch you again on the Porch in a couple of weeks. On the Porch is hosted by Logan Miller and Jenna Weiser and produced and edited by Jason Saunders. That's me. Our theme song was written, produced and performed by Owen Wrigley.

Empowering Women & Embracing Spooky Season
Event Planning Challenges
Artists' Voice in Board Conversations
CCMAs and All Women Initiative
Releasing and Promoting Music Journey
Finding Nicole With Wise Music