Every once and a while a voice will hit you with such purity and soul that it will put you in a trance. Very rarely is that same voice coupled with songs that are able to transcend generations and prove to be timeless. Troy Ramey possesses that very unique quality of pure vocal timbre and songwriting ability that could very well prove to resonate well beyond his lifetime.
Troy’s story is unique and inspiring as he grew up in a musical household while excelling in athletics in high school. He went to college on a basketball scholarship until he learned of the tragic passing of his father. Looking for a fresh start, he transferred to Boston College where he was overheard singing at work by local musicians. He was recruited for their band, and developed his inherent natural musicianship but eventually parted ways and pursued his own solo project.
Troy started a PledgeMusic campaign and exceeded his goal to start production on his debut solo E.P. When The Lights Came, featuring the single “Rosary”. It is a beautiful song and video that showcases his powerhouse vocals as well as his seemingly effortless ability to tap into your emotional core. He was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions here at Evensound.
Your PledgeMusic video and your bio on your site certainly explain your story. Your voice exudes pure unadulterated emotion with ease. Music is clearly in your blood. It’s amazing to know that you had no intentions to pursue music after receiving a college basketball scholarship. If you hadn’t been caught singing to yourself at work, do you think you still would have eventually found your way into making music?
Music is definitely in my blood. My parents met while my dad was playing a gig, and here we are! But my Dad was also a B-Ball coach, and much of my life was dedicated to basketball, so when I got the opportunity to play in college I was so happy. I mean we are talking small Division 3 athletics so I was just happy that I could continue to play for a couple years after high school. The plan after that was to maybe try and enter a career in coaching afterwards, music was not on my radar. But I know that music would have been a part of my life if I didn’t meet those guys from my first band. I always wanted to sing I just didn’t really know how to go about it, or I guess I figured it was too late to get started. I used to always make up my own lyrics to songs that were on the radio while singing along, and mess around with different melodies, it was always just for fun but I kind of realized that I could sing a little bit, although I was much to self conscious to do it in front of anyone. I think music would have found its way into my life somehow.
After your first band dissolved, how did you end up pursuing your Solo endeavor. Are you working with an engineer/producer ? Doing it all yourself? What has been the process?
After the band split up I really didn’t know what the hell I was going to do. I had a bunch of songs that I’d written over the years that I never got to record so I knew I wanted to get those down but didn’t know how or with who. I ended up moving from Boston to NY and by chance met a couple musicians that introduced me to my producer Dante Lattanzi of Caelum Music Production and we hit it off. My last band was a Rock band, and although I love rock, my personal taste in music has always been more aligned with classic soul, and R&B. I wanted to go in that direction, and Dante really took a hold of what I was trying to accomplish. I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve done. Dante is an incredible engineer/ producer/ multi-instrumentalist. He’s done an amazing job and really brought my songs to life in a way I couldn’t have imagined.
The video for “Rosary” clearly and beautifully depicts a father and son relationship. What were Andrew William Ralph’s and your intentions with the video ?
How did you come up with the overall concept?
The video for Rosary is something that I almost can’t believe is real! Andrew and I grew up in the same town in VT, I hadn’t seen him for over 15 years until we connected back in VT during a charity show I was performing at. I knew he was doing video work out of NY from some other projects he’s worked on and was so thrilled when he was able to work with me. Andrew and I share a similar story, which is why I think the video came out so perfect. We both lost our fathers at a young age, so connecting to the song, which I wrote about my late father, was easy. He presented the final idea which I fell in love with. Just a simple story of a father and young son wandering about the wreckage of a rural village. It was imagery that I loved because I have so many great memories of being a kid in the woods. I knew it was the perfect fit, He was able to capture so simply the bond between a boy and his father it makes me tear up every time I watch it. He and his team did an incredible job.
Have you approached your musical ambitions with the same work ethic as you did with your athletic ambitions? What are the similarities and what are the differences?
Well its really quite different. When I was younger, basketball was always my main goal but it was never the long term goal. I worked hard at B-Ball but it always had an expiration date on it, you know, I mean Lebron James graduated HS the same year as me. B-Ball was never my long term plan. Basketball also never held the same emotional power as music does. It was fun and competitive but not satisfying like music. As I’ve grown as a musician, I continuously feel more connected to myself, and what I need to do in order to be happy. Its a space I feel at home in. So when I “work hard” at music I don’t feel like I’m working at all. I feel like I’m just doing something that makes me happy.
Your voice is easily in the same league as soulful contemporaries like John Legend or Sam Smith. Your music is real and poignant. Who would you say are some of your biggest musical influences ?
Wow thank you! I look up to both of those guys in many ways. My influences are all over the place, but I’d have to say that I first really fell in love with singing when I heard Lauryn Hill sing in Sister Act 2. That scene where shes singing at the piano. I must have rewound that a hundred times. I used to love listening to Beyonce sing for the same reason, she just blew me away. But now I am really into Bon Iver, and Kings Of Leon. I’ve been crazy about them for a few years and I see a lot of the same “soul” in their voices that I loved from classic R&B singers I love from back in the day. But I’m constantly being influenced I don’t think I could ever give a top 5 list or anything like that, there are just too many.
You had amazing success with your Pledge Music account reaching 107% of your goal. What’s next now that the E.P. is realized and selling? Tour?
Yes the Pledge Music campaign went incredibly well. I was overwhelmed for much of it, scared that I wouldn’t hit the goal, As I’m brand new as a solo act, and didn’t know if I’d get the support needed. But everything turned out great! Whats next is to release the E.P. publicly and start playing a lot of shows, do another music video, and continue to record. The great thing about NY is that there are so many places to play here. I don’t think a full on tour is gonna happen at the moment, I want to take advantage of my backyard first, maybe with some occasional trips to Boston.