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Commentary With A Local: Ray Smart, Musician, Activist

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Written By: Emily Buss

While Ray Smart and his band Drift Effect broke up more than a year ago, that end only opened a different door for him. The local singer/songwriter from South Dakota has had music in his veins since he was a little kid. And, now he can add activist to his already impressive resume.

Alongside his passionate music career, Smart has started a foundation dedicated to the fight against sexual abuse and a personal creative outlet site that showcases his talents in music, writing and photography. A short Q & A session with this Twin Cities innovator gives new life to helping others through music.
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Emily: Briefly explain to me who you are and what you do.

Ray: My name is Ray Smart, and I am the former lead singer of the band Drift Effect. Currently, I run two websites; Everything Raymond and Ray Lynn Foundation. I am hard at work on a solo album. I am also in the beginning stages of a new project with Marc Hedman­Dennis (DE guitar/Morning Society guitar), Adam Schmid (DE drums/co­owner of Dead Sound Music Studio), and Tom Trenka (bass Morning Society). On top of all of this, my most important job is being a dad.

Emily: How did you get your start here in Minneapolis?

Ray: While living in South Dakota, I played in a band called Switchgrass. We began making trips to the cities for shows in 2003. We played the Rock, the old Urban Wildlife, and Station 4. Funny to think back on it. We would leave right after work on say a Wednesday or Thursday. Set up, play, tear down and drive right back. Get home at 4 or 5 in the morning, and then go to work at 7. One time we had to drive back in a blizzard, and I got dropped off at work 5 minutes before I was to be there. Anyway, through these travels, I met many people who would help me when Drift Effect was ready and rolling.

Emily: Why is what you are doing important?

Ray: I guess the term important is relative. It is important for me to create, as that is how I define myself as a human being. It may not be important to anyone besides me, and I am O.K. with that. In terms of my websites, I believe they are important, as I know that there are many people who are suffering. I know that my story, words, and music will resonate with them. The negative emotions inherent with abuse victims and the behavior associated are identifiable and not unique. There are millions of people who think, feel, and act very similarly. The important thing to know is that you are not alone.

Emily: What is your favorite thing about working in the Twin Cities music scene?

Ray: The amazing talent that exists here, and the support that the outside community gives. It is truly mind boggling that this city in the frozen Midwest is a harbor for the artist. Acting, music, painting…really, it doesn’t matter the medium.

Emily: Shameless plug … GO!

Ray: Everything Raymond: this site hosts all of my creative endeavors. You can buy all the music that I have been a part of creating, including the newly released Drift Effect, The Temporal End, and soon my solo album, Songs for Then. You can buy my poetry and photography. If you are broke like the majority of the country, you can visit the site and listen, read and learn. Ray Lynn Foundation: this site is dedicated to the victims of sexual abuse. The highest estimates are that 1 in 2 girls and 1 in 4 boys is a victim of childhood sexual abuse. This site offers resources to victims so that they can begin to heal and grow.

–Emily Buss is a music journalist from Minneapolis and author of On the Rechord blog. On the Rechord is a music site dedicated to the local music scene in the Twin Cities. Emily writes concert and album reviews, band and artist profiles, and provides information about local shows. A college graduate with a degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis on Journalism, Emily has been professionally writing for newspapers and online outlets for six years. You can find Emily at www.ontherechord.com, on Facebook at On the Rechord and on Twitter @TheEmilyB.

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