2 Minutes With … liL Ray, Event Producer and DJ
For over 30 years, event producer/DJ liL Ray has been a cornerstone of NYC's House music culture—renowned for producing the annual Clubhouse Jamboree. And liL Ray's Jamaica Frenzy delivers an exceptional event that seamlessly combines the energy and vibrancy of House with the laid-back charm of Jamaica.
We spent two minutes with liL Ray to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.
liL Ray, tell us ...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in Kingston/St. Andrew, Jamaica. I've been living in Brooklyn for over 35 years.
Your earliest musical memory.
I recall listening to my father's record collection, which included Isaac Hayes, Barry White, Toots & the Maytals, Burning Spear, The Skatelites, Al Green, James Brown, Dionne Warwick and many other reggae and R&B singers. Also, my grandfather had a bar in downtown Kingston, where we went after school to wait for my father to drive us home. My grandfather had a jukebox with an extensive record collection of early '50s and '60s soul classics as well as country and western music.
Your favorite bands/musicians today.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.
Jamaica Frenzy '19. It was our first time going to Negril for our all-inclusive House music vacation experience with 150+ guests in two hotels, and an all star DJ lineup that included Timmy Regisford, Body & Soul, David Morales, Ultra Nate, Spinna, Spen, Kai Alce, Kemit and Salah Ananse. It was so much fun—we're going back May 2-7, 2024.
A recent project you're proud of.
Clubhouse Jamboree! It's the longest running outdoor House music event in New York City, and we just celebrated 30 years on September 10, 2023. Along with the help of my wife, family and friends who volunteer their time and energy, I host every year and invite some of the biggest DJs in the world. The community event has grown from a gathering of friends and like-minded individuals into a behemoth. For many, Clubhouse Jamboree is now a "must attend" occasion with people coming from all over the world.
One thing about how the music world is evolving that you're excited about.
House's influence has left an indelible mark on modern music, electronic dance culture and broader society, illustrating the power of music to bridge gaps, celebrate diversity and provide a platform for self-expression. This makes it a truly global phenomenon.
We've seen recent, monumental global successes in House music, including Drake's Honestly Nevermind (ranked among Billboard's 50 Best Albums of 2022), Beyoncé's Renaissance (Grammy winner for Best Dance/Electronic Album, 2023) and South African DJ/producer Black Coffee selling out Madison Square Garden in Oct. 2023. These superstars have expanded the genre's global appeal while inspiring future generations to explore new sounds and experiment with this style.
Someone else's work, in music or beyond, that you admired lately.
Black Coffee. I admire his drive and work ethic.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
An artist you admire outside the world of music.
Denzel Washington for his acting and humanitarian ways.
Your favorite fictional character.
Someone worth following on social media.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
Your biggest weakness.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music business.
I would be cooking in a restaurant or running my own restaurant.