Infectious gothic pop
Berlin-based British artist Gemma Ray has been calmly clocking up a cool reputation on the international independent scene, and with a new self-produced album under the belt for a early 2019 release, the music keeps on coming.
A self-styled musician/songwriter/producer, she inhabits a panoramic musical planet where sideways blues, torch song psychedelia, gothic folk, 60s girl-group dramarama and cinematic soundscapes make up the weather. MOJO magazine declared Gemma to be “one inspired music machine”, NME describe her as “untouchable”, and Paste magazine pronounced her to be “blazing her own silvertone trail”. Jimmy Page after seeing Gemma Ray live, was moved to go on record and say that Gemma is “not to be missed!”.
Gemma Ray has been busy since her debut solo record of 2008 (The Leader) . She released two new albums within 10 months of each other in 2009/2010, “Lights Out Zoltar!” and a covers record “It's A Shame About Gemma Ray”. She presented another double whammy again in 2012 and 2013. “Down Baby Down” was a vinyl-only 'fantasy soundtracks' album, mostly instrumental or choral, and featured drummer Thomas Wydler (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds). Before that came“Island Fire”, an album of lavish orchestral pop-noir, which saw her perform on the UK's Top of the Pops and enter the US's college radio CMJ charts Top 20, and featured a unique and bold collaboration with Ron and Russell Mael, aka Sparks. The single Runawaywas A-listed on Germany's Radio Eins for three months, and she won a new occasional backing band in the shape of the 65-piece Filmorchester Babelsberg. In 2014 she released Milk For Your Motorsto international acclaim, followed by the dark and moody The Exodus Suitein 2016. During this time she also scored her first film soundtrack, whilst her suitably dramatic songs continue to be requested for use on TV and film (list available on request).
An Independent Music Award winner, she has toured extensively and internationally, performing at venues from the Royal Albert Hall in London to the National Gallery in Melbourne, and has been invited as special guest to artists such as Grinderman, Marianne Faithfull, Kris Kristofferson, Ane Brun, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Mott the Hoople and others. Gemma has also collaborated with many artists including Sparks, Alan Vega, Howe Gelb, Thomas Truax, Wim Wenders, Filmorchestra Babelsberg, Fiona Brice, and members of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. She often plays the guitar with a kitchen knife, once ending up hospitalized after an accident on stage in Oslo.