Skope Magazine recently sat down with our very own Billy Ray Deiz to chat about his life, his music and his new feature length album “The Nashville Tracks”.
Deiz told the magazine that his passion for performing began one summer on a visit to New York City in his teens. After being inspired by Frankie Lymans and The Champs performances at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, his uncle taught him guitar; playing everything from Richie Valens to Buddy Holly. From there, music was a natural progression for Deiz who played in both high school and college bands, eventually signing with a Warner Brothers’ subsidiary with his band The Seven Souls. Deiz continued to enjoy success until he was called to serve his country in the Vietnam War.
Recording his new album “The Nashville Tracks” was a bit of an accident for Deiz. After connecting with record producer Clifford Goldmacher, he recorded a few tracks and then realized he had the foundation for a full-length CD when he combined it with other songs he recorded over the years. Deiz is proud of this new album, he says his experience in the industry shines through it. “For years, before the Internet age, I could never get a recording, well not never but rarely, that sounded the way I wanted it to. Over the past two years, everything I’ve done ends up sounding the way I want it to. It takes work. It takes craftsmanship; but I love hearing other people get inspired by my ideas and bringing their best to the table and knocking themselves out.”
When asked about the current state of the music industry, Deiz thinks that it’s a great time to be a musician. “Many folks don’t realize that the digital revolution means that you can record a track in Portland; send it digitally to a studio in Nashville or Los Angeles, and have some of the best musicians in the world, some of the best session musicians, playing on your record!”
Deiz is inspired by both new and old musicians He counts Susan Boyle and Adele as some of his favorites amongst classics such as Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Barbra Streisand. To aspiring musicians he says, “Don’t quit. Follow your dreams. Get better at your craft. Remember it is a craft and the more you put into it the better you will be.”
After making his latest record Deiz is inspired to keep writing and recording. He has enjoyed many highlights in his career, singing with legends such as Leonard Cohen, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan. He says that although he is best known as a news reporter and anchor he has never stopped writing and playing music. Deiz thinks that musically, his best times are yet to come.