Lyric-centric hard rocker, CJ Ray premieres the cinematic video for his guitar driven, “Death Valley,” via V13. The video features shots of CJ performing with his band interspersed with the story of a young man (portrayed by actor Rhett Wellington) driving alone through Death Valley while experiencing inner turmoil. Struggling, the young man pulls the car over and drops to his knees, looking skyward for salvation. “I pray if you hear me, crack open your sky,” CJ sings. He closes his eyes and hands are placed upon him. Briefly, CJ replaces the actor and looks knowingly at the camera, before the actor, relieved and filled with hope, walks past his car and down the road.
“It is terrifying to be in the Valley of Death but in my case Death Valley forced me to look to God for deliverance,” the songwriter says. “Ultimately, God is there to love and heal His children but sometimes hope is only revealed when things seem most hopeless.”
“If “Death Valley” is any evidence,” V13 cheers, “we can be certain that whatever is coming soon from CJ Ray will be well worth the wait.”
“Shooting the video for ‘Death Valley’ was quite an adventure,” says CJ. “The shoot dates continued getting delayed because of COVID-19 and when we finally got to shoot the video it was 105° in Death Valley. The cast (Rhett Wellington, Actor) and crew (Nic Wendl, Director; Kristin Juel/Juel Concepts, Producer) were amazing to work with and never complained about the heat. The video went beyond my expectations- it is truly a short film. I’m very excited to share this video with everyone.”
“Ironically, I was driving through Death Valley, on my way to LA, when the melody and words for the song came to my mind,” says CJ. “I was experiencing a very intense time in my life. I hated where I was, how I was feeling and how I was acting. I felt trapped, betrayed, alone and hopeless — anger had taken control of me. These were many of the same feelings I experienced as a child so naturally these experiences found their way into the song lyrics. Anger can be a terrible emotion when it is misunderstood. It burns like love but with completely opposite results: love brings peace, healing and life while anger brings strife, pain and death.”
While pursuing his desire to inspire, CJ Ray brings forth his collection of lyric-centered rock, pop and contemporary music. Inspired by the sounds of Train, Gavin DeGraw, Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Jason Mraz, CJ Ray combines hooks with intelligent lyrics of hope, contentment, love and forgiveness into each and every one of his songs.
Raised in a suburb north of Chicago, CJ started playing music at a young age at church and with friends from his middle school. His first venture was as a drummer in a four-member rock band that covered songs from bands like Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and Bad Company and for a short while, featured now-famous classmate, Tom Morello on guitar and lead vocals.
This Nevada based, singer-songwriter is seeking to find the best avenue to share his songs of hope and grace as well as other emotional subjects of the heart, mind and soul. CJ wants his music to make his listeners find joy and peace in any circumstance they find themselves in. This summer, CJ Ray released “24 and 8,” his emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Prior to that, he released a ten song LP, Be Where You Are, with the lead single, “Words,” appearing in the 2019 feature film “High Strung Free Dance.”