A local Tallahassee artist, Ray Benton is dedicated to his family roots and has a desperate itch to produce music that makes his fans want to have a good time. Last week was a big one for this artist on the rise: between two shows and shooting a music video, he certainly was busy.
At Indianhead Factory on Thursday, June 27, Benton gathered with a number of other artists to perform in front of a small and intimate audience as part of the No Pulp Tour. The event featured artists like Marc Bernard, Shon Eleazor, Bachi, Parris Chariz, and, of course, Benton. This extremely personal show provided the uncommon opportunity for fans to be able to touch the artists in front of them, talk to them, and ask them questions.
Benton’s recent collaboration on a new record with Parris Chariz, who traveled from Oklahoma, made this night an exciting opportunity for the two. “Now that we got our first song together, we get to perform it together so that’s pretty dope” Chariz shared. In working together, the two artists have focused on blending their distinct styles in a way that reaches across different platforms. The track is an energetic record that caters to Benton’s style of music which is a little bit softer than Chariz’s. As Chariz stated, “I just wanted to adapt to his style of music, I didn’t want to come on aggressively rapping. He loves to sing and is very artistic. His music is what I would call sweet, it’s pleasing. I just wanted to keep that same energy.” While Chariz was in town, the two also worked on shooting their music video for the song. Fans can anticipate a release-date in Mid-July.
Despite a last-minute change of plans for the No Pulp Tour, the artists had a determination “to put on a good show for the people” and connect with them, as Benton told Spire Magazine. The tour’s headliners, Eric Biddines and Malc Stewy, artists from South Florida, canceled with only a day’s notice. This minor setback also turned into a greater opportunity for some of the smaller names on the lineup, Bernard and Eleazor. “We believe in them so that’s why we put them on,” Benton said of the two rappers. All of the artists in attendance gave solid performances that fostered a connection between them and the audience.
As the show came to a close, the video cameras came out and fans were asked to be a part of the music video that Benton and Chariz have been working on. It’s not often that an audience has the opportunity to be as involved with their favorite artists as they were at this event.
After a successful night of connecting with his fans and playing with other artists, Benton began preparations for another show. Sofar Sounds in Tallahassee invited Benton to perform for their event. Sofar Tallahassee is a part of a larger international organization that puts on secret, intimate shows. Typically the event hosts three artists who each perform four songs. Audiences don’t know who the artists will be until the day of the show, typically going to small venues like a home or boutique for a mystery performance.
On Saturday, June 28, people gathered at Gasoline Alley, a recording studio, to watch Benton take the stage along with two other local artists, Aleyna Brown and Deanna “Squeaky” Miller. Performing with a live band, Benton played his hits “DDT” and “On The Road.” And despite being in front of a group of people who have likely never heard of him, the audience chanted “papi” to his “saucy” throughout the performance.
It’s still early in his career, but Benton has exhibited great ambition. While he continues to release singles, he does not want to be limited to nightlife, even though he says he loves that vibe. “I want to do festivals with bands. I’m musical so I play bass, keys, guitar, and drums so I don’t want to leave that part of who I am,” he said.
Aside from music, Benton has expressed a desire to explore other avenues from real estate and finance to starting his own clothing line. “We’ve been stocking up on vintage wear from places all over and we’re going to have pop up shops at the shows so you can come get clean with us,” Benton indulged. The name of the shop is Uptown Attic—a clever play on words.
Benton also enjoys working with other innovators in Tallahassee to foster new projects. “There isn’t any studios for people who are videographers or photographers to go and have a ‘set’ experience, I would say like a ‘Hollywood’ experience. So I partnered up with a couple of homies and we built a studio about 1,500 sq. feet, so it’s not huge but we’ve got a set where you can design whatever you want like a bedroom or a kitchen,” Benton shared. The studio offers the opportunity to work with an infinite wall space called a cyclorama wall, and also a green screen. With a plethora of film students at the various schools in Tallahassee, he hopes this will become a hub for creative individuals to hone their skills and experience more in the industry. He invites interested parties to direct message him on Instagram @TheRayBenton for more information.
Ray Benton certainly has the drive and passion to make a statement in this world and that’s to have fun and be creative. His music communicates this to his fans and his business pursuits further show his desire to aid other innovative individuals. Keep up with his many ventures on social media because this is surely not the last you’ll be hearing about the Saucy Papi.
All images courtesy of The JOURNEY Management.