Ray Sepúlveda loves his music passionately and has been one of the most important vocalists of today’s salsa. This beloved interpreter takes every opportunity to give us all his heart and soul through his music and his most intimate experiences. On “Salsabor,” his fifth production as a soloist with the label RMM, he shows us the way he is and feels. He projects the same energy that he had when recording his first album with RMM, inspiring us to enjoy more of his popular romantic/danceable salsa sound. Ray invited the well-respected Louis García as musical producer and arranger of five songs of this album.
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One of the best-known qualities of Ray Sepúlveda is his everlasting desire to reinvent his music and to take his unmatchable artistic talent to higher levels. Ray’s interpretation of “Cómo Tiembla El Alma” brings to life its lyrics, making of it an amazing musical homage to romanticism and dance. Using the richness of the brass instruments in addition to the hypnotic energy of the melody, Ray awakens on us a strong set of emotions while listening to the song.
Another song bound for radio success is “Eres” composed by Ramón Rodríguez. This song has the elements of traditional and contemporary; the lyrics describe the personal and physical qualities of a loved one with a poetic style. Ray’s singing is intense and passionate. The music video of this song was directed by Eddie Harris and was recorded in New York City at Club Mónaco. The wardrobe was provided by ITAL-MODA. On the other hand, “Lo Necesario” talks about the success and failure of a relationship. Disillusion is the main topic of this tune where the melody inspires all of us to dance and appreciate the musical abilities of every member of the orchestra. This composition also moves us to a better understanding of the value of mutual lover and fidelity.
Domingo Quiñones a very good friend and colleague of Ray, composed especially for this album, “Sabes Que Soy Aquel.” This song featuring musical arrangements by Isidro Infante, is a dynamic romantic Salsa with Latin American flavor. Ray uses this composition to show his gratitude to tropical music lovers in that side of the continent for their support to his music. Quiñones also composed “Desde Que Te Conocí.”
“Volveré” is a special bonus included on this fantastic production. The song is musically arranged by the famous Puerto Rican trumpeter, Humberto Ramírez. Another sensational surprise of the album is the Bolero/Son “Sin Yo Darte Motivo” where Ray shows his versatility singing this musical style. The pitch of his voice blends perfectly with an exquisite instrumentation to create a captivating song.
Today, the Brooklyn-born singer of Puerto Rican parents is a soloist with five albums of his own recorded on RMM, and a solid reputation as a vocalist. But for Ray, as for so many other performers, the road to success has not been easy. Ever since he was a young boy he was learning from his father Ray Sepúlveda Sr., a bolero singer and recording artist with the Trío Los Románticos. He also listened to many Puerto Rican and Latin American performers who fed his desire to someday become like them. At the age of 17, he had his first experience as a vocalist, singing with a band from Mayaqüéz, Puerto Rico called La Justicia, which became La Solución. Later, he shared the stage with singer Frankie Ruíz in yet another band, La Dictadora.
In 1977, after living in Puerto Rico for six years, Ray returned to New York where he began to sing with the Sociedad 76 Orchestra. With this group he did his first recordings, a couple of tunes on the album “The Big Apple.” He went on to record two more albums with the same orchestra for Fania Records. In 1983, Ray Sepúlveda joined the Adalberto Santiago Orchestra. The group was featured in the movie “Moscow on the Hudson” and Ray also worked as part of the movie “Turk 182”. After brief stints with Héctor Lavoe and during a short period of downfall for salsa music in the early 80’s, Ray Sepúlveda retired from singing professionally to work at the US Postal Service.
His come back took place in 1988 with the Johnny and Ray Orchestra, with which he recorded “Salsa con Clase” and “Night Gold” for Polygram Records. Thanks to the success of “Mascarada,” “Margarita” and “Bandolera,” Ray Sepúlveda established himself as a singer with the proven ability to generate hits. “This is the first time that I had the opportunity to work with Sergio George, the musical producer of Salsa Con Clase. He influenced and in a way created the Ray Sepúlveda style,” he says.
During his first two years with the label, he recorded “Un Poquito Más” and “Con Sabor,” produced by Sergio George. Ray already excelled in the romantic salsa genre, with an outstanding and enviable versatility. On his third album, “Llegaste Tú,” produced in Puerto Rico (1994) and directed by Julito Alvarado, Ray followed the “Salsa romantica” line, mastering this style. With the success of that album, Ray traveled all over the world, bringing with him his message of happiness that only his voice and his unmistakable style can convey. He also had tremendous success singing Salsa in English with hits like “Superstar,” “You Are My Lady” and “Dreaming Of You.”
In 1997, Ray released “De Todo Un Poco.” He created this marvelous production working with the respected musical producer Ricky González, who was the musical director of Ray’s orchestra for more than five years. A very good example of the high quality of this album is the song “La Dama De Mis Amores,” a tribute to Puerto Rico sung by Ray and Tito Nieves.
As a member of the RMM Family, Ray also performed at the Combinación Perfecta concerts in the United States, Latin America and Europe. The album that features him singing “No Vale La Pena” (composed by Alejandro Jaén) in a duet with his very good friend Johnny Rivera has set a new standard for Salsa. He has recorded background vocals on many albums, including “The Mambo King,” Tito Puente’s 100th LP and on a jazz album by Grover Washington Jr.
Ray Sepúlveda has performed at the most important venues in the world. At Madison Square Garden many times and during a Valentine’s Day Concert, at Radio City Music Hall and a sensational performance at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey during RMM’s Tenth Anniversary Concert. He recently traveled to Europe, especially Italy where he is very popular. Ray is a spokesperson and has recorded several jingles for the prestigious company Budweiser. He also has performed at Yankee Stadium before the playoff and World Series games and of course, is the team’s #1 fan.
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