Ray Mann makes music and visuals, fronts Sydney band The Ray Mann Three, and is based in Berlin. Ray has toured with Rev Al Green, Tori Amos, Ms Lauryn Hill, Jamie Lidell, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and many more, in Australia, Japan, New Caledonia and Europe. He is currently releasing his second album as part of an innovative, interactive online experiment, The Sketches Project.
“The Ray Mann Three fuse D’Angelo’s sex appeal with the grit of Tom Waits” – Sydney Morning Herald
Raymond Wassef, a.k.a. Ray Mann, is Australia’s uniquely multi-talented soul musician / artist / writer / music video maker. Born to Egyptian parents, raised in Sydney, and now based in Berlin.
The live shows of both Ray Mann and The Ray Mann Three have seen Ray quickly grow from steadily building a following at his band’s early residency at Sydney late-night hot-spot, Tonic Lounge, to national tour supports for Al Green and Tori Amos, supports for international acts including Jamie Lidell, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Roy Ayers and Jon Cleary, and supports with local acts including Kate Miller-Heidke, Ash Grunwald, Holly Throsby, The Bamboos and The Basics. Festival appearances include: Sydney Festival, Peats Ridge, Playground Weekender, Woodford Folk Festival, and the Adelaide International Guitar Festival.
Independent label P-Vine released Ray’s debut album, The Ray Mann Three, in Japan in 2009. The album’s top 10 debut on iTunes Japan (beating out Rhianna) led to Ray’s first shows in Japan twelve months later: debuting to 3,000 fans (who knew all the words) at Greenroom Festival 2010 (which featured Arrested Development, Rickie Lee-Jones and G-Love & Special Sauce). Ray has been collaborating with Japanese artists via the web ever since.
Ray relocated to Berlin mid-2011 – and hit the ground running. Within his first six months in Berlin, Ray had: been featured on German TV; been filmed for a web concert series; opened local festivals Melodica and Berlin UNHINGED; held a solo art exhibition; and been performing live and DJing around town regularly. Ray’s activity in Berlin earned him an invitation to perform at Zermatt Unplugged 2012 in Switzerland alongside Ms Lauryn Hill, Chris de Burgh, Aloe Blacc and Newton Faulkner. In between all of this, Ray also launched The Sketches Project from his home studio in the city’s hip artist district, Neukölln.
In late 2011, Ray Mann began releasing his second album, Sketches, one song at a time, as part of an innovative, interactive online experiment, The Sketches Project - which will see: a new music video created for each new song; a series of digital-only EP releases; and finally a physical album release upon the Project’s completion. Prior to this, Ray independently released his debut album, The Ray Mann Three, in 2008. The completely self-financed album was recorded in just three days by producer Tony Buchen (Tim Finn, Phrase, WIM, Andy Bull) in Sydney, with bassist Byron Luiters (John Butler Trio) and drummer Bart Denaro (Kid Confucius, Briscoe). In 2009, The Ray Mann Three released three digital-only singles from the album, which featured remixes from international producers Regal (UK) and Jamie Lloyd (Germany/Australia).
D.I.Y. MUSIC VIDEOS
Ray Mann is also a visual artist. He is single-handedly responsible for the entire visual aesthetic of The Ray Mann Three, from the gig poster art and web presence, to the series of self-made music videos which feature Ray’s talents across a variety of styles, ranging from live action to motion graphics and limited animation. The Sketches Project saw Ray create one new music video every month, and videos from the series earned him award nominations, including ‘Sometimes’ in the Berlin Music Video Awards (2013) and ‘Wannado’ in VideoBites Festival Berlin (2012). Prior to Sketches, in 2009, the music video for ‘Smile‘ was featured on Billboard Top 40 TV in Japan, and ‘Hook Me Up‘ was ‘Indie of the Week’ on Australian music video show ‘Rage’ on ABC TV. 2009′s ‘Opa Opa‘ national tour saw The Ray Mann Three’s sold-out Sydney show filmed, and broadcast regularly ever since, for the nationally-televised ‘Live At The Basement’ series on ABC TV.
ART & BEYOND
The gig poster art Ray has created for The Ray Mann Three has been featured both physically and virtually, having been the subject of gallery exhibitions in Sydney, Tokyo and Berlin, and now its own online weekly retrospective, the Ray Mann: #ArtBlog. 2010 saw a series of Ray Mann: Multimedia Shows, which combined the live music show with projections designed by Ray. Ray Mann’s unique combination of musician, artist and web master earned him a featured role in the innovative online promotional campaign for ‘Smarties: 8 Colours of Fun’ in 2010, which, although targeted only at the Australian market, managed to gain international attention.
“The Ray Mann Three have the ability to propel you into a higher sphere allowing your soul and intellect to waltz into the lofty clouds of the unique” – Drum Media
“Classic soul music with a modern twist… The musical atmosphere’s right for a band like this to break into the bigtime” – The Brag
“Unbelievably good debut album… these guys are the next big thing” - MTV Australia
“This is audio sex.” - Triple J
Feature Album – PBS Radio (Melbourne)
Feature Album – RRR Radio (Melbourne)
Indie Album of the Week – The Brag (Sydney)