Finding one of those less-well-known musical talents is always one of the best parts of visiting the local Hamptons bars. Walking along Main Street in Westhampton or Montauk, hearing a little music drifting out into the warm summer air, enticing you to enter. But finding a musician that is internationally-known? That is even better.
Australian talent Ray Red certainly fulfills this description and more. Red travels the world playing his unique take on pop covers for a variety of different audiences. Travelling from his native Pacific homeland to New York, Switzerland, Asia and every locale in between, this hip artist has captured the attention of fans around the world.
“I’ve worked regular jobs, but playing music just simply rules!” Red said, describing his love of the art. A project that contributed to the growth of his fan base was the website he created that offers online guitar lessons to over 500,000 people around the globe. “I get e-mails from all over the world every day… It’s so awesome to receive videos from students who’ve just learned a new song and want to share their progress.” Though the website started off as a free learning place for guitar enthusiasts, changes in advertisement revenues forced Red to change to a paying-members-only experience. Though he lost a large portion of his original students, www.rayred.com now generates enough revenue so that he can “perform live anywhere in the world and have fun doing it.”
Red’s enthusiasm for the music has led him to branch out from simply recording covers of other artists. In the fall of 2009, he wrote and recorded his own album, Touching Indians. In order to reach a wider audience, Red sold his album for only $5, and said that in this modern age of Internet downloading, “you have to make your songs free, or at least inexpensive anymore to move any quantity.” And the best part for tech-savvy fans of his music? His “next recording due out soon will be sold on USB flash drives. Just plug into your computer and upload to your MP3 Player. How good is that?”
Red devotes so much creative effort to figure out what’s best for the fans that he looks forward to the constant touring that lets him meet so many of them. This idea comes across in the album’s unorthodox title, which he pulled out of the Albert Brooks film Lost in America when one of the characters discusses how he wants to “see the real America”—that is, to “touch Indians.”
But wherever his travels take him, Red makes sure to return to the East End every year. He plays a variety of gigs, including his annual opening spot in the Montauk Chamber of Commerce’s Summer Concert Series. With such a popular Australian musician visiting our neighborhood this summer, I am certainly looking forward to hitting the live music scene.
See Ray Red on June 30 at Cupsogue Beach Hut in Westhampton Beach from 5:30-8:30 p.m., July 1 at Finn McCools in Westhampton Beach from 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., July 2 at Cross Eyed Clam in Montauk from 6-8 p.m., or July 5 in Montauk for the Chamber of Commerce Summer Concert Series from 6-8:30 p.m. www.rayred.com. [/expand]