Las Vegas, NV (July 12, 2021)
Lyric-centric, rock-infused Christian music singer/songwriter, CJ Ray is set to release his latest EP, For Each Other, on July 23. Comprised of four original songs and CJ’s reimagining of Sarah McLachlan’s “Sweet Surrender,” the EP boasts visceral and heartfelt performances by the songwriter and his band and was produced by Paul Fig (Deftones, Coheed and Cambria, Trivium.) The majority of the songs were written and recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic and the social issues surrounding that time. Ray explores themes that include returning to normal life, caring for others, appreciating the past, desiring freedom, newness and rebirth.
‘Sweet Surrender’ Video:
‘Sweet Surrender’ on Spotify:
The faith-based rocker also announces his For Each Other Micro-grant Initiative which will disperse fifty $100.00 grants to individuals whose family and friends have nominated them for being “there for each other” during this past, tumultuous year. The nominating process asks the nominator to post via social media a photo or video in celebration of the person or family who has been there for them in a meaningful way. The recipients of the “For Each Other” micro-grant will receive funds directly in August, 2021.
“Over the last year and a half, I’ve been so inspired by my own family and friends as we’ve worked to stay both healthy and feel connected. I’m so grateful as it feels like we’re closer than ever now. I wanted to find ways to pay it forward with the ‘For Each Other’ release, so I am announcing a round of Micro Grants designed to help people share a little love back to those who have been there for them over these challenging months. The idea of the unexpected gift is so powerful and I hope it brings joy to many! Let’s get back to being our best selves as the Human Race. God loves you.” —CJ Ray
The EP kicks off with CJ’s electrifying interpretation of Sarah McLachlan’s “Sweet Surrender.” “As a songwriter, lyrics have always been crucial to me and when I hear a song with a powerful message, I just want to be wrapped up in it and become a part of the message,” says CJ. I hope my treatment of her song is received in the same way as I approached its making—with love, thankfulness and respect.”
“I have been writing and working with Greg Karas (Andy Grammer) for the past few years and Greg kept saying, “CJ you are a rocker so let’s keep these songs rock songs,” says the singer. “The influences on my sound are numerous and there was not a particular sound we were chasing. We just knew we wanted to track the songs live and keep the songs honest. I think the sound of this EP is refreshing if you love live rock.”
The EP’s title track features a scorching guitar solo and is inspired by the racial injustice and pain witnessed in our culture in 2020. “So many people are hurting, disenfranchised, and angry about how life has panned out for them, says CJ. “My heart prompts me to always help a fellow life traveler and ‘For Each Other’ is my heart in words. No one is an Island to themselves and we need to be there For Each Other.
“Death Valley” finds CJ’s raw, emotional and declaring, “I need a love that won’t forsake me.” The cinematic video was directed by Nicholas Wendl in partnership with Juel Concepts and premiered via V13.net who raved, “his impassioned new song features a classic, revved up 1980s rock influence, reminiscent of Van Halen or Bon Jovi… If ‘Death Valley’ is any evidence, we can be certain that whatever is coming soon from CJ Ray will be well worth the wait.”
“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.”
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.
The EP closes with the sincere, acoustic, “Today.” Louder Than the Music raves, “with gentle guitars, soothing vocals, and gorgeous tones, this heartfelt ballad oozes warmth and optimism, soaring later in the track to a triumphant declaration of praise. Stunning!”