Raymond Mowla’s journey as an artist is a story of perseverance, determination, and unwavering commitment to excellence. What started as a simple desire to record a single and leave his mark on the music industry has turned into something much bigger than himself. Through years of hard work, dedication, and collaborations with various producers, artists, photographers, and creatives, Raymond has transformed his personal project into a thriving organization that invests in the development of other aspiring artists.
In 2019, Raymond began releasing ‘one track a month’ with the help of a producer. As he honed his craft and gained experience, he began producing his own music and releasing close to ‘one track a week’ by 2022. He has also released multiple albums each year, a remarkable feat that has propelled his career to new heights. However, Raymond’s success is not limited to his personal achievements, as he is deeply committed to uplifting others and helping aspiring artists achieve their dreams.
Raymond’s organization seeks to inspire and empower the next generation of artists by providing them with the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed in the competitive music world. Through his collaborations with artists from various genres, including Gospel, Hip Hop, Rap, R&B, Soul, and Reggae, Raymond has gained valuable insights and developed a deep appreciation for artists who prioritize improving their craft and learning from one another over seeking fame.
Despite his many accomplishments, Raymond remains humble and grounded, and he uses his success to uplift others. He is a true role model for aspiring artists everywhere, and his journey serves as a testament to the power of hard work, perseverance, and a deep passion for one’s craft.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Raymond to discuss his journey in the music industry, and here’s what went down:
How did you get started in the music industry? How were you ‘discovered’?
I’ve loved music all of my life. I had a few cousins who were DJs who introduced me to a wide variety of music since I was maybe as young as ten years old. That love grew over the years as I listened to other artists, saw the expression of their creativity, and marvelled at this way of expressing yourself in so many ways I never thought possible. But my real ascent to actually recording my own track came through my Christian faith. I was definitely late to answering the call, starting out with my first single in 2019 in my thirties called “The Coming Storm.” I literally thought that was going to be the way I satisfied this itch and then simply moved on. Over seven albums later, and with over a hundred accumulated individual songs, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve officially let the cat out of the bag, and there’s no putting him back in. That first song was almost prophetic in more ways than I would’ve ever imagined.
What do you like the most about music?
Music captures feelings; it carries messages in blatant ways and also in secret codes. Music is like starting a painting with colours and texture and never quite knowing what the end will be until you arrive there. I especially love the process of writing and finding unique ways to tell a story. It’s an artistry of stringing together words, phrases, proverbs, and moreover a beat, but then also coming up with creative designs to try to communicate that through the designs of your track or album covers. All the individual pieces add something to the final experience. I love the challenge of my own creativity, and I’ve definitely seen growth in it over the years.
Can you tell us more about producing music for other artists?
By the time I wrote my second song, I had found an inner desire to express something that was in me but was inexpressible. In the grand plot of what could only be described as divine planning, I was introduced to a singer who was able to articulate that musical expression I was hoping to release. So I began writing lyrics for her, Tonisha Dumaresq, to record with me as a featured artist. In the months and years to follow, I began finding new creative expressions within me that continued to be met with divine introductions to other new features. I now write and produce music for more than ten feature artists – though I should clarify that some of them do write their own music for features too.
What sort of person is going to love your music?
Anyone who loves Hip Hop, R&B, or Soul music with a message is going to vibe out to my music for sure. There’s such a diversity of instrumentals and vocal styles, it’s impossible to not find at least five songs that make your own top ten playlist.
What inspires you to be creative?
Hope. All of my music addresses real-life struggles coupled with an underlying message of hope to inspire people no matter where they are on their own journey. In trying to speak as transparently as possible about a wide array of topics, I hope that some listener somewhere in the world will find encouragement and inspiration to persevere.
Is there anything special that you do to get into the creative mindset?
I listen. I listen to the stories from the lives of my friends; I reflect on real-life situations happening or that have happened in my own life, and I sincerely think out the things I observe happening in our culture that I feel need a voice.
What message, if any, do you try to put into your work?
I attempt to break down the walls that hinder people from seeing God in everyday life. It’s my belief that He is already intimately a part of it all. My hope is to give people a lesser-known vantage point that helps them to begin to see who is already there with them through it all.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
I think working with three of my features: Tamira Roza, Rayon Anthony, and Daniella “V” Neyra, has been an exceptional gift to me. These three creatives, I think, deserve a place on the billboards! I feel like they inspire me as a producer to constantly sharpen my craft so that I can do justice to who they are as artists. These are three artists that are definitely going somewhere. I hope that when that time comes, I have done my job to inspire and adequately prepare them to answer the calling of their own destiny.
Do you ever find yourself unable to express your creativity to the fullest? What kinds of things inhibit you?
Production has been a vast ocean to learn, and working with other producers quickly taught me how little I know about it all. It’s hard to see a song fall flat when you feel like it was your own limitations as a producer that caused that. But luckily, I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to things that I love. So, challenge accepted!
Who is your greatest influence?
I grew up absolutely mesmerized by the lyricism of Nas and his ability to narrate stories that made you feel like you grew up on his block, sat in his situation, felt what he felt, and lived his life. My first time free-styling with my own circle was inspired by listening to his ice-cold beats while trying to tell the story of my own upbringing.
Do you feel that you chose your ‘passion’ or did it choose you?
Both. Many people are called to things, but you also have to answer the call. So it chose me, and even at this later stage of my life, I’m choosing to answer the call. I meet a lot of talented people who could be doing more with their giftings, but simply because it might never be to the calibre that they envision right now, they fail to invest and begin the process. Whatever comes of pursuing music for me, I’m just happy to have started the process, and I’m thankful that I took the first step, the second, and then the third. If it doesn’t amount to anything more than it is at this moment, I still think we’ve all come pretty far in our development and our community as creatives.
If you hadn’t chosen your field, what would your alternate field have been?
I would definitely be a writer. I did publish a biography in 2016 called, “Broken Hearted Joy,” which tells the story of how I went from criminal to Christian, but I feel like there are so many other topics to speak on still left in me. I do find outlets for those, too, through blogs and devotional writing within my community, but I feel like there’s a book or two still left in me.
What are your future plans?
Future plans? Ummm… does ‘happen upon a beautiful, driven, Christian songstress and then spend our lives making beautiful music together’ sound too corny? (laughs) Truly, I’m just taking one day at a time and enjoying letting the lyrics of my life’s story write themselves.
You can check out Raymond’s full library via www.raymondmowlamusic.com.