As a performer, sought-after singer-songwriter and successful executive at a Nashville based record label and publishing company, Gary Ray is a music biz triple-threat. That rare combination of artist, songwriter and music executive gives Gary a one-of-a kind perspective on the business while simultaneously allowing him to direct his own career and artistic goals with insight not often seen in recording artists. Gary is an artist with a unique sound, whether country, pop or rock, who has the innate ability to weave moving lyrical tapestries with up-tempo, guitar driven melodies and who isn't afraid to push the envelope when it comes to recording and producing his own music or directing the careers of other up-and-coming singer-songwriters and recording stars.
Gary Ray was born Gary Ray Pfaff in Landsthul, Germany into a military family which relocated to Tucker, Georgia outside of Atlanta when Gary was 5 years old. He was a music industry early bloomer, writing and performing his infectious brand of music since the age of 15. Gary's career path was etched early-on when in 1996 he shunned his High School graduation ceremonies to go on tour with Edwin McCain and has never looked back. Given the nickname "Young Gary" and "YG" early on by his older peers he shares a unique place in history when in September 1997 he was the last opening act for the sixties pop icon "The Monkeys," with the group's first opening act being Jimi Hendrix!. He continued to hone his performance skills with the likes of such local Atlanta legends as JoJo Herman of Widespread Panic, Col. Bruce Hampton and Shawn Mullins.
Gary Ray's first group, Dial 8, gave him a taste of life as a true working musician and his next band, Obsession Day, took it to the next level performing with the likes of Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows. Obsession Day was one of the most downloaded bands on collegemusicradio.com falling second only to the Zac Brown Band. Following Obsession Day, Gary was signed to a small, independent label where the then Gary Ray "Pfaff" released two albums: White Stars and Under The Influence – Live. The success and attention generated by these two releases resulted in Gary hitting the road, touring as the opening act for college crowd phenomenon, Corey Smith, and then for Brantley Gilbert.
Gary Ray also developed serious studio chops as a producer/engineer, starting with his production of a 23-song rock opera and then working for Scooter Braun (now Justin Beiber’s manager) at Krypton Studios in Atlanta. Gary went on to start his own recording studio in Atlanta's famous Biltmore Hotel where he earned hundreds of production and engineering credits for internationally successful YouTube sensation Boyce Avenue and Shady/Aftermath recording artist Stat Quo, among others.
Gary Ray's success as a singer-songwriter, producer and touring artist ultimately landed him in Nashville. While on tour with Chris Cagle in 2010, Gary was approached by a Nashville music industry executive wanting to sign Gary to a publishing deal. Though not willing to commit his publishing, the recognition of Gary's business acumen and talent landed him the position of Creative Director and VP of Operations for record label and publishing company Better Angels Music LLC while allowing him the continued freedom to develop his music career as an artist and writer. Gary has delivered a great, fresh energy tempered with a strong dose of reality to Better Angels, and under his direction has developed a talented singer-songwriter team which has landed cuts with such noted artists as Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins, Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins, Thompson Square, Josh Thompson, The Dirt Drifters, Josh Abbott Band, and The Invite.
Always maintaining a strong hand on the creative process of his own projects, Gary Ray has produced, mixed and engineered all of his recent albums except for one produced by Scott Patton of Sugarland. In 2010 he released Livin’ The Dream which featured a guest appearance from Coy Bowles of the Zac Brown Band. This album led Gary to multiple CMA Fan Fest performances and long lines at his meet and greets during the event. The songs, "Quit Buckin' Around" and "Hell Yes I Do" received some major radio airplay in the Southeast. His list of credits includes winning the People's Choice Awards in Atlanta, Georgia for Atlanta's favorite hometown band. With a catalogue of over 300 songs, Gary's music is in demand and has been licensed for use in major films and on television networks and programs, including ABC, ABC Family, NBC, The CW, MTV, VH1, BBC, ESPN, E! and OPRAH. He is extremely active in the Nashville song community as well as being a voting member of the Country Music Association.
While balancing his duties as a music industry executive, Gary Ray has still been able to tour a consistent 200 plus shows a year. With a core fan base in the Southeast U.S., his popularity is expanding nationally. He has toured with and/or opened for Brantley Gilbert, Corey Smith, Lady Antebellum, Chris Cagle, and Miranda Lambert. He was a headliner on the Jagermeister Get UR Country On Club Tour and has been a featured artist at NASCAR events, including the Daytona 500.
With comparisons to the likes of Eric Church and Jason Aldean, Gary is currently picking up the tour pace with a new, high energy six piece band and is out of the studio with 18 recorded songs to be included in a series of upcoming digital EPs, including recently released Tired of Running, and on a new album.
With over 18 years of music industry experience, Gary Ray has worn many hats, including that of artist, songwriter, producer, manager, promoter and executive, and has been singled out in numerous publications as being one of the hardest working people in the industry. His innovative and forward thinking approach to the ever-changing music industry will continue to bring a fresh and promising energy and success to everything he touches.