Ray Boltz is the winner of the Out Music Award for Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Spiritual Song of the Year for his brand new album “True.” Hotspots sat down with the talented singer to find out more about him.
Hotspots Magazine: Where did the inspiration for “True” come from?
Ray Boltz: When I was married and singing Christian music, I was struggling, it was a tough time. In 2004, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my kids and my wife at the time, Carol. My family has always been keen to my emotional state, we are very close. My son looked at me and asked, “Dad, what going on with you, what’s wrong”? So I have been struggling with what was in my heart, knowing I was gay, I tried to not be gay, try to be what I wasn’t, I tried to pray that I wasn’t gay, I confessed in hope that I could not be gay, all these things that they tell you to do, I tried to do it for 30 plus years. So when my son asked me that question, I decided to be honest, to be authentic, I could die and my own family wouldn’t even know who I was. I thought to myself if I cannot be honest and authentic with my own family, the ones who I love the most, then who could I be honest and authentic with? So I told them, “I’m Gay.” And that’s where I think “True” was born.
What was the feeling like the very moment you uttered those words out loud for the very first time?
It was overwhelming, but surreal, there was no super joy, or excitement or pride in it — it was the truth and sometimes being that honest with those you love and who love you so very much can be hurtful. I am very thankful my family and I are so close.
You were selling millions of albums each year, about 4.5 million copies, How badly was your career hurt by your coming out?
At the time I came out public in 2008, I wasn’t doing a lot for recording, I wasn’t doing much as concerts, I was very focused on my family and making sure things were okay there. I didn’t think at the time it would be that big of a deal. I was kind of wrong there. I received a lot of hate mail, lots of Youtube videos were put up against me and me coming out, I was told that I was going to burn in hell. All sorts of negative things were said, at the same time a lot of great things were being said from other people and friends.
Was this when you started writing songs again?
When my wife and I separated and we were all going through this very tough time, I decided to do what I always did, I picked up my pen and paper, tuned the guitar and started to put down how I was feeling, that’s where all my songs come from, is deep within me. I didn’t have any plans on it becoming an album, or selling it, I did not have a marketing scheme or anything, just my feelings I wanted to express. Sometimes music is a kind of therapy for me, it helps me understand what I am going through, and to put it into perspective. I hope that is what it does for everyone else.
Your partner Franco and you have been together almost 5 years, where did you meet and has he been a part of the album?
Franco and I met through a friend at the MCCC Church Softball league. Yes, there is a song on the album called “You Came To Me” it was written for him, he is like a big teddy bear, he cries every time I play it on stage.
Since you live here in the Fort Lauderdale, where is your favorite place to hang out at?
(Laughing) There are a lot of places, but I find I go to Scandals a lot, I like the Lady Fancy show they have, and the atmosphere there as well.
Wilton Manors has an influence on the new CD as well doesn’t it?
Yes, there is a song called “American Queen” on the CD. It talks about a guy walking past Five Points and Georgie’s Alibi and talks about all the great things I love about Wilton Manors.
For information on Ray Boltz, or to listen to the award winning album, visit Rayboltz.com
Shane Phoenix is an independent music review writer and international talk show host of “Sound Off with Shane Phoenix” and contributes regularly to Hot Spots Magazine, Billboard Magazine and several Music Blogs around the world; you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org