Rising Indie Artist Ray Leslie Delivers a New EP + Movie Project Fantasy & Future

  • Rising Indie Artist Ray Leslie Delivers a New EP + Movie Project <em>Fantasy & Future</em>
Rising Indie Artist Ray Leslie Delivers a New EP + Movie Project <em>Fantasy & Future</em>

Rising Indie Artist Ray Leslie Delivers a New EP + Movie Project Fantasy & Future

Dynamo Filipino-Kiwi alt-rap artist Ray Leslie brings her vibe front and centre, revealing her most ambitious project to date with a bold new project: the striking Fantasy & Future EP and accompanying movie, premiering tonight at Auckland’s Academy Cinemas.

With the support of NZ On Air and Big Pop Studios, Ray has been able to elevate every facet of her music and visuals. A collection of melodious, powerfully reflective and honest alt-hip-hop tunes, Fantasy & Future was previewed by the release of two singles and accompanying videos.

The first single was an offering of silky funk with ‘Who Do You See’, followed up with the soothing sonic landscapes and unsurpassed lyrical adroitness of ‘The Fridge All Stocked’ feat. AWGGEY, another excellent up and coming rap talent.

This progressive young, queer rapper is a shining light of raw hip-hop talent thriving in the fertile, burgeoning Auckland underground music scene. Never one to follow, Ray creates exceptional music which sounds like a new iteration of hip-hop, one that fuses the ambition inherent in the genre with the context of the immigrant hustle.

As a fiercely independent artist, Ray leans into her truly unique and highly passionate musical path, undeterred by the hardships faced and sacrifices made when chasing one’s dream. This is an overriding theme that runs through Fantasy & Future, as it underpins Ray’s path as an artist: the pursuit of the dream. As Ray and many of her peers note, the search for a better life is a story that commonly defines the migrant diaspora in Aotearoa. With her talents, Ray is able to give voice to the reality of the pursuit as she faces it all head on and kills it with her innate combo of fearless ambition, relentless energy, strong artistic vision and the requisite work ethic.

Finally celebrating the release of Ray Leslie’s new 5-track EP and movie Fantasy & Future is a dream come true for this determined and hard-working young creative. The culmination of nearly a year and a half’s driven focus, Fantasy & Future involved a lot of moving pieces, and was completed with the talents of many over that time. The EP was produced by Abraham Kunin with one track produced by long-time collaborator Danny Do, and both the EP and movie involved working with the support of her collective of creatives the Light Beings Network.

On working with Abraham and the rest of her collective community of creatives, Ray says: “Beyond his amazing producing skills, I’ve really appreciated Abe’s wisdom and openness to create which has helped me expand my own artistry. With Danny and the rest of the Light Beings Network – Yong Kweon, Kiwa Muru, Hsarhoo Moo, Luke Penney, Marc Tolentino and Jarem Cabamongan – I’m essentially working with my friends the whole time, so I appreciate getting to enjoy the process of making art and memories.”

To complement the EP release, the young, multi-faceted rapper is also bringing her stories to the big screen. Premiering at Academy Cinemas, one of Auckland’s most beloved theatres, the film was made with the assistance of Dead Slate Productions, a Light Beings Network Film written by Ray Leslie, directed by Luke Penney with Hsarhoo Moo as director of photography. “As an avid film fan, I made the decision early on in the piece to make this Fantasy & Future EP with a film, that I wanted to tell the whole story of the EP not just sonically, but visually too. It was super exciting to begin the film side of the project with the video for ‘Who Do You See’, and I wanted it to be a grandiose and fantastical idea – the fantasy of me being rich and famous! I shared this idea and general synopsis with Luke and thanks to his genius we’ve made something super special. My first big production, that was longer than one day and with a big crew working with me to make a vision I manifested come to life. Super dope!”

Within the past five years, Ray has released a total of two albums and three EP’s that have revealed an artist perfecting her sound as she continues to tap into her boundless potential. Last year’s lo-fi aural delight ‘Dog Days’ placed on the Top 20 Hot NZ Singles Chart and secured airplay on Mai FM, and chill cathartic single ‘Blue Cold’ built on the buzz this razor-focused and determined rapper has been creating since first hitting the scene in 2018.

With an ear attuned to rhythm and a mind sensitive to flow, Ray’s distinctive cadence is earning her a solid and impressive reputation as a bold voice in the pioneering alt-hip-hop scene and she revels in the hard-working energy required to persevere as a self-managed indie creator. Ray sums it up with: “We are in the era of hip-hop and independent artists, we are also in the era of ushering in diverse voices into the mainstream and I believe, I am a champion of all those things. A Filipino-Kiwi; a young, queer rapper. A beam of energy. Beyond the content, the story of a kid in Aotearoa navigating her own path and doing so with the utmost conviction despite all shortcomings; just the dream in her mind and the virtues of resilience, hard-work and determination. Lately, I’ve been questioning whether my dreams with become my future or remain my fantasies. Whether there’s room for somebody like me. I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out the answer.”

As the world remains captivated by the future of the rap genre, Ray is a unique and dynamic artist who dares to forge her own path. Destined to be one to watch, keep your ear to the ground as Ray’s star rises, and you’ll witness an artist evolving into an unstoppable force. Join Ray Leslie and the Light Beings Network to celebrate today’s release of Fantasy & Future, more information and tickets available from rayleslie.com. As an added bonus, all tickets purchased will include entry to the premiere, as well as entry to the live-band show on the 22nd of June at Cassette, Auckland.

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