Sunday, March 12, 2017

RAYMOND BARTON - MUSIC PRODUCER & GRAMMY VOTING MEMBER


Many people are unaware that in addition to being a book nerd, I'm on fire for music, and used to sing in bands and choirs when I was younger.  My love of paperwork and a good sense of humor are how Raymond and I met in Baltimore a zillion years ago.  Many people probably have no idea how much musical talent Raymond has, but because of his many skills, he could really be just as successful as a psychologist, romance author, singer or customer service manager.  With many layers to his personality, he's well known, but not hard to know. Even better, he's super funny.  Take a moment to learn more about him, and take a listen to his latest release, If Only For Love.


1.  Many people may not know that you've been writing and producing music for over 30 years.  Is that something you dreamed about as a young child?

Raymond:  Thanks for the interview. I can’t say that I really dreamed about this career path as a young child. I just knew that I always liked music and wrote my first song when I was about 12 years old. That song was about the very complex issues that a man faces when dealing with emotions inside when someone enters his scope of vision.... Nah… I’m just kidding. That first song was called, I Love You Girl.

2.  That's pretty cool and reminds me of my first autobiography at the tender age of 13. For those people who may not know, what exactly does a music producer do?

Raymond:  A music producer does a lot I never really considered because I do it every day. Let’s see... a music producer comes to a decision as to what song or songs will be used on an album or CD.  He or she then works directly with the recording engineer to get the sounds recorded from each instrument, and ensures that the vocalist(s) deliver(s) the performance and emotion that each song calls for. Once that happens, he or she ensures the songs are "mixed' properly for the eventual release to the public. If the fans don't like it, then none of all those efforts matter. Most people really don't know what I do, so the whole thing of being recognized on the street, or in a supermarket never comes into play. That's a plus about being behind the scenes.

3. Wow!  Never knew how much was involved!  In 2015, you produced an award winning album called MacArthur Park by Tracy Hamlin.  How did you find her and what was the inspiration for this album?


Raymond: Well, Tracy is a big fan of Jimmy Webb who wrote MacArthur Park. He is a brilliant songwriter who also had major hits such as By the Time I Get to Phoenix, This Is Your Life, made famous by Norman Connors, Up Up and Away by the Fifth Dimension, Do What You Gotta Do and countless more. For those who may not know Jimmy Webb, Google him and you’ll find lots of info.

Tracy wanted to do something with a big orchestra type of sound, so MacArthur Park was an easy choice. It won accolades from DJ's around the world who absolutely loved her take on the song. I was just happy to be there to see her record the song from the beginning and to see its success.

4.  It was definitely a great piece of work. Many years ago, you wrote, produced and sang on your first album.  How long did that take?


Raymond:  When I did my first album, my intent was to get songs placed on other people's projects. I like writing songs for other people. On that album, I had written songs for Howard Hewitt after I met him on a radio gathering in Brazil, as well as Luther Vandross and a few others. During the project, I realized that I should just release it to see if I could get interest. I got radio play in Japan, and the entire experience was very interesting.

5.  I really enjoyed it and still have it on cassette. (lol) Now, here we are enjoying your new release on February 28, 2017, entitled If Only For Love. What made you get back into the studio for yourself after all this time, and are these songs personal for you?  Do you feel that your outlook on music has changed since then?

Raymond: Yes the songs on this new CD are VERY personal for me.  I did "If Only For Love" for myself because I had been listening to the radio after getting back into music to MAKE music and all I heard were " break up songs....I don't love you songs...never getting back together songs." Therefore, I began to wonder if anybody was IN love anymore. Like who is writing songs for the people, who ARE in love or who have been together for years and happy to be in love? I felt like all those songs I was hearing on the radio were about drama-filled relationships, and surely not everyone could be going through that. SO, I’m in love, and I'm very happy. I'll write a love song about romance. That's where the title of the CD came from. For anybody who is in love... these songs are for you.


6.  It's always wonderful to see and hear about love.  What would people be surprised to know about you?

Raymond: I have done numerous voice overs for commercials, and for business On Hold messages. I've also done jingles for commercial businesses in the Baltimore/Washington Area. When I have time,  I absolutely enjoy traveling.

7.  You definitely have a distinctive voice that stands out. My favorite song on your new release is So Special, but they're all really well done. I found myself dancing around the living room and getting in a good workout.  Are you a dancer?

Raymond:  No, I am definitely not a dancer. I wanted to create a new throwback kind of groove that you could dance,to without twerking.


8.  I think you really succeeded in giving us those "feel good" songs. You got to do something that many of us can only dream about in 2016 and 2017 - attending the Grammy's., and we want all the juicy details. (lol)



Raymond Wow... so yeah the Grammy's had been a lifelong dream of mine, so being involved with the organization in any way was a thrill. So when I was accepted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, I received the opportunity to attend the Grammy Awards in 2016 and 2017! 2 years and it has been the absolute thrill of a lifetime. It's a black tie affair so knowing what to wear was easy to decide. Being in the same room as Adele, BeyoncĂ©, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Alabama Shakes, and more - there is just no easy way to put the experience into words.  


9.  It's still a thrill knowing that all your hard work has truly paid off, and that you had the opportunity to attend such a wonderful event, and to meet so many other talented artists. Now that you've released your album, are there plans to do another one any time soon?  If so, will it be the same genre?


Raymond: I am going to do another CD later this year. I hope to feature more amazing vocalists as I did on "If Only For Love" but I would ABSOLUTELY like to work with Kia Bennett again. She is an amazing talent who loves good R&B and Soul, so musically, it's a good fit.

10.  That's fantastic news.  I'm definitely looking forward to that! Which is your fave - R&B or Pop Music?

Raymond:  I enjoy all music. However, an artist like Bruno Mars comes along and "blurs the lines" He's being played on pop music radio but what he is doing is old school R&B and Funk. To me, it just means that if the MUSIC is giving a chance on a level playing field, who knows what you might like.


11.  Like you, I'm a fan of all types of music. This CD is all about love.  What's the most romantic thing you've ever done?

Raymond:  The CD is about love because I was thinking that people weren't taking about love. So I thought I would make a CD of songs that focused on that feeling of love. One of the most romantic things that I've done was standing under a small bus stop with my woman in a light rain and she was snuggled up next to me. It was just one of the moments that I knew it didn't matter to her, or to me who was around. I was holding her close to let her know that she was all that mattered.


12.  Ah...that sounds like something that should be in one of romance novels I enjoy so much. As a producer, writer and singer, how do you feel about traveling and possibly living out of a suitcase?

Raymond: . You know... I REALLY enjoy being in the recording studio but most of the time when I write music, I am never near an instrument. I write in my music in my head. Horns, strings, lyrics, chord progressions, arrangements, vocal riffs. So. as long as I am in my right mind... I take the music with me.


13.  Cool. What's the most difficult thing to do in the music industry?


Raymond:  The most difficult thing in the music industry is getting your music played and heard by a lot of people. Musicians are so very critical of each other. Obviously we all want success but I have NO problem sharing secrets or tips that hopefully will help someone. It's called "mentoring" And I SO want to be able to help others. It's like grandma had an excellent recipe that she never shared and she took it to the grave with her. Why? Maybe she wanted all the glory for herself or for people to come to her for whatever she made. To me... I don't care. If God inspired me, that HE gets the glory. Not me.

14. I agree.  It's all about helping others no matter what we're doing.  Have you ever had a bad review, and if so, how did you handle it?


Raymond: I mean everybody is not going to like everything you do no matter what. But l absolutely trust my gut. I don't play my music for anybody until it gets released. People sometimes don't like people with confidence in themselves in that way. I get it. But that is not my issue. I trust me completely. I am willing to accept that if whatever I do fails, it's because I didn't get it right. I can live with that. But if I listen to other people and NOT trust my gut....I may want to blame them. But I wont. I will only blame myself for not trusting myself. Good or bad... I did it. 

15.  Confidence is key for sure, and that's a great way to look at it. What was it like working with Kia Bennett and how did you meet?  Is it difficult to work with a partner or to do duets?


Raymond:  I met Kia at a Grammy event. One of the most BESTEST  [ if that is a word] things was the networking piece associated with the Grammys.  Kia is a wonderful singer, songwriter and performer. She didn't need me at all. She was doing her thing musically before she met me. We were introduced by our mutual friend Tracy Hamlin and Kia graciously agreed to be on my project. My project is that much better because of it. These days... I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but, rarely are duets done like they used to be. One part could be recorded in a basement studio in Iowa and the other part is recorded in a apartment in Germany. But with technology the way that it is, you can merge those voices together to make great music. 

16.   That sounds super interesting!  As women, we feel we pay attention to romance.  Your music really focuses on true love. Are men more romantic than we think?

Raymond: I think some boys are given the "rap" they deserve. But  "when a MAN loves a woman".... that's a whole 'nother thing. Ask any woman who has been loved by a man. Women deserved to be romanced. Young females don't consider that important. The best thing for anyone to do in a relationship is continue to "date" that person. If you have been together for 40 years... date your wife. Date your husband. Surprise them. And if a man is checking out this interview.... dude.... if your woman spends the day getting her hair done or getting herself looking nice... you better notice that she has. She might be your girlfriend or your baby mama or your wife... but she will NEVER forget that she's a woman.

17.  How wonderfully romantic, and what you say gives us a great inside look at how real men feel. What's in your CD Player these days?

Raymond:  To be honest, I listen to Heart and Soul Radio on Sirius XM a WHOLE lot. I like that they play an actual variety of music and not just the same 5 songs over and over. 

18.  You and I were both fans  of the brilliant performer, Prince.  Would you say his music inspired you at all?  Who else have you admired?

Raymond:  Prince was one of the most prolific songwriters of our time. Just an amazing songwriter. I have a thing for songwriters not because of the ease or difficulty in writing songs. Usually there is something that connects them with what they have written. One person who I respect as a songwriter completely is Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. That dude.... wow. Amazing!

19.  I really enjoyed the Bee Gees music on Staying Alive with John Travolta. You've been born and raised in Baltimore.  Was there ever a time you considered moving to another city?

Raymond:  I was born in Baltimore, Maryland. I lived in Florida for a while but decided that Baltimore was home. So I came back home.

20.  It's been a while since I've been back to Baltimore. What's a pet peeve?

Raymond:  Definitely rudeness.  There is never an excuse for rudeness.

21.  I totally agree.  Ain't no need for that! (lol) Cadillac or Prius?



Raymond:  Neither really.  Well.maybe a Prius.

22.  I definitely have to go with the Caddy. What's the last good movie you watched?

Raymond:   The last good movie I watched was Hidden Figures and Moana, which were both very good.  I find that they both represented strong women.  How good is that?

23.  I haven't seen either, but keep hearing great things.  Where can we find you for appearances, or to purchase your music?

Raymond:  You can find the music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Tidal and CDBaby, or feel free to visit me on Facebook @  https://www.facebook.com/raymond.barton.129, or my music page.

Thanks very much for the interview. Come take a listen to my new CD... IF Only For Love featuring the single "A Beautiful Forever" featuring Kia Bennett. Give a listen over at:  SOULTRACKS.COM









28 comments:

  1. Gpod interview Ro, I love his thoughts on love... I agree we need to continually date the person we love. Too many people let that part go... I've told my oldest daughter that she and her hubby need to take time to go for a drive a walk, small things so that the can converse about each other... xox ♡

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    1. He has been such a great friend for over 30 years, and still remains the same awesome guy. I don't know many men who feel the way he does about love, but I sure wish I did. (lol) That's nice that you can share that with your daughter. I know she loves and appreciates you so much!

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  2. Loved this interview. I found one of his songs on Youtube and listened to it. I listen to music on a daily basis I like all kinds. I was in the school choir from 8th grade through high school but my voice is different now because of Thyroid problems.

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    1. Oh Mary, that is so wonderful that you liked the interview AND that you checked out his music. Very cool that you were in the choir, and I've heard that so many things can change our voices over the years. Yay to music!

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  3. Great interview! That's awesome he was able to go to the Grammy's these past two years. It's interesting to hear how much he has to do as a producer!

    -Lauren

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    1. He's been doing this for so long, that I sort of just took for granted what he does, but I love his take on romance, and thrilled that he was able to hang out at the Grammy's 2 years in a row! Yay!

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  4. Wonderful interview, Ro! I enjoyed learning more about what a music producer does, and Mr. Barton has such wisdom about love and relationships. I'll definitely check out his music. Thank you for "introducing" him to those of us who wouldn't have heard of him otherwise.

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    1. Hey Lark! I hope you've been having a great weekend! We were teased with some light snow that amounted to less than 1 inch, yet caused the grocery shelves to be empty here in NC - lol Like you, I totally enjoy how Raymond looks at romance. I don't think women get enough of that these days. Thanks for checking out his songs. You're the best!

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  5. What an amazing interview. Kudos to both of you. I particularly found it fascinating, because I was thinking the other day, that the romance that used to be at the heart of music has disappeared.
    Raymond, wishing you much success.(Though it doesn't sound like you need the wishes since you're already there:)
    Ro, Have a great week.

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    1. We appreciate you right back! Music has definitely changed from when I was a kid. I understand the need for self-expression, but some of the derogatory terms towards women really bugs me, and I definitely wouldn't consider it romance. I look for those snippets of love in novels and in real life. As always, we sure love when you stop by to say hello and Happy Monday! Hugs...

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  6. Ahhh, cool to learn about your heart for music and you gave us such a treat today to meet your friend Raymond through the interview (which was great). I've only had a vague idea what music producers do so this was an interesting bit that caught my attention.

    Love the interview, Ro and Raymond!

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    1. Have you ever had a friend for a zillion years and never knew quite what he or she did, but it just seemed cool? That would apply with Raymond (lol) Thanks so much for stopping by Sophia!

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  7. I'm always happy to learn with musicians/singers/songwriters get their inspiration. Thanks for the post.

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    1. It is fun to know that a lot of the inspiration comes from real life experience. I love his thoughts on romance. Hugs...

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  8. oops! typo alert -- that should be learn "where" (sorry about that).

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  9. Wonderful interview, and I agree Bruno Mars does blur the lines. It was fun hearing Barton's story. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Bruno Mars seems like such a fun guy. Thanks for stopping by to check out Raymond's interview Kim, and hope all is well. Hugs...RO

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  10. Fascinating!!! I always love hearing about other creative people and the lives they lead. I have so much respect for music producers. Just being able to bring a song to life...what an incredible talent to have!

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    1. Knowing him for so many years, I always get fascinated when I hear about the things he does that are behind the scenes. You're right. He is a truly gifted man, and the way he feels about romance is so neat to me. Hugs Steph!

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  11. I am a music nerd too, but kind of in a "going to the zoo" kind of way... I can tell you what I like, just not what its name is. Haha! - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. LOL! Nowadays it's hard for me to remember anything! Hugs...

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  12. Wonderfully taken interview
    He seems amazing personality

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    1. Hi Baili! What wonderful words from such a positive person! You're awesome! Hugs...RO

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  13. Very cool to get to live out a lifelong dream :D

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    1. Yes, he's been doing video production and music producing for some time. I'm hearing more and more how older people are realizing their dreams. A reminder to not give up even when it seems like it won't happen.

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  14. Wow! I think it's a really well taken interview,he seems quite interesting as well!

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    1. Hi there Purple. I'm so thrilled you stopped by to say hello. I've known Raymond for a zillion years and so thrilled that things are working so well for him. Hugs..

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  15. Hello RO. I would like to personally thank you and all of your readers for all of the kind words. I hope that people will indeed check my music out, find me on facebook, or look for my single "A Beautiful Forever" featuring Kia Bennett on You Tube. Thanks for the interview. It was a great. For anyone who enjoys being in love, you have someone who appreciates that about you and will continue to make music to celebrate love.

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