August 1, 2021

Ray Charles: The singer who overcame adversity to succeed in jazz and blues

On a day like today in 1930 he was born Ray Charles Robinson, better known as Ray Charles, one of the great American exponents of the musical genres of the jazz, blues Y soul.

Photo: Archive

The artist, who lost his vision from an early age, was able to develop his musical skills by attending the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, where he trained mainly in classical music.

As he listened to the radio, he became interested in jazz and blues.

Overcame adverse conditions

Ray Charles grew up in adverse conditions, in the midst of extreme poverty, which he had to experience with his mother, after his biological father and stepfather abandoned them.

Ray was shocked when his stepbrother drowned in a domestic accident, seeing as he was unable to save him.

Soon after, he lost his mother, who taught him not to faint at his visual impairment.

Talent and success

Photo: archive

Charles He began in the world of music playing the piano in various groups in Florida; However, he considered that it was not the ideal place to grow musically and decided to make his way in Seattle, a city in which he surprised by his imitations of Nat King Cole and Charles Brown.

As part of the Maxim Trio group, the owner of Swingtime sold Charles’s contract to Atlantic, a company owned by two Turks, who were in awe of the Afro-descendant music scene of the time.

At that time, the gospel style characterized by being religious music with popular lyrics, a daring that was not well seen by the community, shook.

Photo Archive.

In 1959 he left Atlantic, the company that had grown up with him, after receiving one of the best contracts in history: ABC-Paramount paid him for the recordings – which reverted to the artist after a period of exploitation – and was extraordinarily generous in the cast of benefits.

Scandals and deaths

Being with this new label allowed him to silence some acts punishable by drug use, but in 1964 it was arrested in Canada for the possession of narcotics.

In addition, he was always branded a womanizer, for allegedly having romances with his choristers. Charles left twelve children as a result of various relationships.

Ray Charles passed away on June 10, 2004 at age 70 and his remains rest in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Unforgettable phrases

The Very Interesting magazine website published a series of phrases by the artist, among which the following stand out:

“I should have been born with music inside me, just as I had my heart, liver, kidneys or blood … I have always needed music, as I need food or water.”

“The blues and the rhythm and blues are a way of living more than a musical style ”.

“Music always existed and there will be music once Ray Charles is dead.”

“When you are young, you don’t know how to really use your voice, so you tend to scream instead of sing.”

“When I sing something, I never sing it the same way twice. And it’s not because I try to be different, but because I sing based on what I feel that night ”.

“Music cannot be separated from me. It’s me. I can’t separate myself from her any more than I could separate myself from my liver… I believe the Lord will withdraw me when He is ready. And then I will have all the time in the world for a long vacation. “

I’m not a music singer countryI’m a singer who sings songs country. I am not a singer of bluesbut i can sing blues. I am not a true melodic singer, but I can sing love songs. I am not a specialist but I am quite a useful person. I can play first base, second base, up close… I can even catch and maybe even throw (the ball) a little bit. “

The movie

In 2004, the director Taylor Hackford was in charge of the film Ray, that tells the story of Ray Charles Robinson.

The film begins with a fragment of one of his most famous songs “What I’d Say” and on the artist’s trip to Seattle while a police officer refuses to let him travel due to his blindness.

The actor Jamie Foxx was in charge of bringing Ray Charles to life in this film and for his performance received the Oscar for Best Actor. The film also received another academy award for Best Sound.

Actor Jamie Foxx won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the musician. Photo file.