Spooping Ray began her career in 2010. At the age of 20, she has released four albums and is preparing to release the 5th one next year. In addition, she already owns her own record label and is in search of new voices to throw into the world. Born in Tennessee, Spooping now lives in New York City, in an apartment overlooking Central Park, by herself. In this exclusive interview, the up-and-coming artist talks about her upcoming projects and new songs, personal life and a little more.
For five years, you had a contract with Free Sounds Records. And have released four albums with this label. Why did you decide to leave?
“I’ve met amazing people at Free Sounds. I grew up as an artist and as a person inside that record label, in positive and negative sides. But I’ve been chased by various people, suffered many humiliations in their hands. I can say that I’ve lived a war during a time of each of the years I was there, when it was time to release a new album. I had some participation in my four records, more precisely with ‘DNA’, but I had no freedom. I couldn’t write my own songs. I had no funding to publicize my albums. Everything was very minimal because some executives, not all of them, didn’t have faith in my potential. In 2012, I talked to my dad about opening my own label. I could do it and I did it. I was in search of my freedom and, especially, to find myself as an artist and as a person, this time for good. Really good. Now I can do that. I’m in a better position now. I can breathe better. I’m happy where I am.”
Which obstacles you encountered on releasing your albums? Some of them, in particular, gave you a headache?
“I love all my albums. But they all gave me a headache. A single video was available online until December 31, 2013, which was ‘Postcard’, my first single. The Free Sounds removed the youtube video when my contract was up. I recorded videos for all my singles, but they never made it into the hands of anyone outside of the label. The worst of it is that I don’t have any rights over them, now that I’m out of there. That always made me very upset. The video is one of the main and most important ways to publicize your work and they took it from me. And still required me to succeed in sales, and it never happened.”
What about the world tours? You’ve done four, for all your albums. Did they finance the needed money?
“You must understand that Free Sounds only financed the recording of my four albums, their arrival in stores, and the recording of videos that have never been disclosed. Any other work of dissemination in addition to these, was out of my pocket. I managed to make my first world tour because I asked for a bank loan. With the money raised, I’ve managed to repay the loan and then, I could pay my second tour too. And so it was going. All my tours were financed by me and by my family. The Free Sounds never had anything to do with it. It was hard, because they needed to support me. Except they weren’t letting even the sponsors invest in me. This period was unbelievable and I did what I could.”
You were involved in a major scandal in France, when a tabloid radio accused you of trying to be Demi Lovato. You said, at the time, you suffered a lot because of this. Does these things still happen?
“Fortunately, no. This time in France was during my ‘Running’ tour, and I was absolutely stumped. The radio made the charges and some people on the street accused me of being false, ridiculous and disgusting. I was fighting my own demons and that was a very difficult thing for me. I’ve sued the radio and I won the cause. After that, I never saw France with the same eyes. I love my French fans, I really do. But these people of bad character affected me in a way that I can’t even describe.”
Have you ever been to a rehab clinic again? Many people speculated that during this year, since you’ve been gone from social networks.
“I always visit the clinic where I was hospitalized, to give support to people who are there. I always do this. But I never had to lock myself in there, thank God that wasn’t needed anymore. I had a doctor with me for more than a year, and it was a difficult and complicated struggle. But I managed to win it. Now, I fight so that others have the same happy ending.”
What put you in rehab? The same problems still persist and you decided to ignore them, or no longer exist?
“I was exhausted. It was my first war on Free Sounds and my family, my uncles, my cousins, were behaving strangely. I needed their support and they pretty much were slamming the door in my face. With that, I started doing some things to myself. I was carrying a blade in my purse. And vomiting after every meal. One day, I left my house to go to the baptism of my cousin. I was in LA, and I went to NYC. There, I was unwelcome. So I had a nervous breakdown. Nowadays, I’m more focused on myself. I love what I do and I want to grow up with that. Sometimes, I am faced with family situations that make me quite upset. But I try to overlook it. They can’t hurt me like before.”
Now, you’re living in NYC for almost a year. Do you have a boyfriend? How’s your life here?
“I don’t have a boyfriend and for the time being, I want to stay single. I’m in a period of transition in my career, which must only end when my new album is released. I’m thinking of myself. And I’m loving living in NYC. It’s considerably a noisier city, but I love it here. A lot of diversity, many places to visit. I made a few friends and I’m in a place that makes me comfortable. I miss my house in LA, my old bed. But I’m happy right now and that’s all that matters to me.”
You commented on twitter that your new album is Latin pop. Some fans protested. What do you have to say about it?
“I can say that if you don’t like latin pop, your opinion will change the moment you hear my new album. Because this is actually happening. All songs are unlike anything I’ve ever done. First, the melody: which’s wonderful and engaging. And second, because these songs are entirely mine. It’s my truth. No one’s saying what I should say to my fans. And final point: I will be sad if my fans reject my album, yes. But I’m happy with my work, I’m proud in a way that I didn’t get with the previous four ones, and that’s a big thing. I’m sure everyone will enjoy what I’m presenting soon.”
The new album features collaborations with other artists?
“Indirectly, yes. I recorded the album in NYC and brought some producers from Mexico, like Daniel Betancourt and a few others. They helped me in the composition of melody, to make a Latin thing anyway. But there are no other people present in the songs besides myself. I’ve produced the album all by myself, with the help of my father and Daniel. It’s my thing, my will.”
Tell us something about the songs.
“For me, they are amazing. Love experiences, and love yourself. My album is like a powerful woman. At the same time that laments a lost love, a disappointment love; this woman could put some heels and rock the night. It has a feminine strength that everyone will enjoy, even the boys. I can’t give too many details right now because it’s still early. But soon, everyone will be able to learn more about my new album.”
Do you already have a release date for the first single and the album?
“I’m still deciding. But I will do my best to release the first single in January, I can guarantee you that. As for the album, I was thinking of releasing it between March and July, but there’s still a lot to discuss about that.”
Will we have a new world tour?
“We will have a tour, I just don’t know if it’s going to be worldwide. I would like to start the shows in September of next year, but also there’s nothing decided.”
How do you plan to do the album around the world, then?
“In fact, we have a sure thing in relation to disclosure. We will select some countries, where I’ll be hosting a listening party. At this party, some fans will be drawn a few days before the official release of the album, to hear it and rate it for me, and for the other fans around the world. We’re definitely going to do that. However, as you might expect, we don’t know what countries and cities we’ll be doing this. Only time will tell.”
What it’s like to have your own label?
“It’s wonderful, but at the same time extremely tiring. In the recent months, I started my label with the title ‘Recovery Records’. I didn’t have time to search for new voices to throw into the world. Now, before the start of publicizing my new album, I want to do a quick search. Next year, after the release of my single, my album, I’d like to have the pleasure to say that any person, who will be a success, was discovered by me. This is one of my dreams as a person.”
What do you like to watch on TV?
“I have three favorite shows in the world. Two of them are already finished: ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘One Tree Hill’. Currently, I haven’t missed a single episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. I’m watching season 9 again on my DVD, and I’m following the season 11 by ABC as well. I watch other shows when I have time, but none of them hold a candle to the three I mentioned.”
If I open your library of songs, what will I find?
“I’ve been listening to the new Ariana Grande’s album. It’s wonderful, and I identified a lot with him. From the latest releases, I really enjoyed the posthumous Michael Jackson’s album. There are also new songs from Nick Jonas, since I’m completely addicted to ‘Jealous’. And also Taylor Swift! I love her, I really do. ‘Shake it Off’ and ‘Out of the Woods’ are both amazing, and I can’t wait to hear the full album next week.”
What can we find on your bookshelf?
“I haven’t had much time to read this year, so you won’t find new things. However, I bought and read ‘The Maze Runner’ before the release of the film, which was amazing. One of the best readings I’ve ever done. As I am a big fan of ‘Harry Potter’, you will find two complete collections of books, and another that is incomplete. I love the ‘Hunger Games’, so I got the three books too. If you tweak to the bottom shelf, you will find the ‘Twilight’ Saga. But I liked only the first book, and bought the others out of curiosity to see how the story would end. I didn’t like any of them. Breaking Dawn is so boring, I’ve never finalized it.”
And what about your collection of movies and series?
“So you know I’m a collector, right? I still don’t have much. I bought all the seasons of ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘One Tree Hill’. From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, I have 9 seasons. I don’t know if the 10th season is already in stores, but I need to purchase it. I also have four seasons of ‘The Vampire Diaries’, but the series is good only until the third. I have many movies too.”
Would you like to live in another country?
“As I said before, I’m happy where I am in NYC. I’m in a good moment of my life. A moment of transition that is extremely important for my career, so for now I’ll stay here. But yes. I imagine that when I’m older, I want to live in an inner city of the UK, because I think it’s so sweet! Love their accent! But I would love to live in the American suburbs, preferably something like Wisteria Lane from ‘Desperate Housewives’. Earlier this month, I checked in an apartment overlooking the beach, in Cancun, for vacation. Next year, I want to buy a new apartment in Rio de Janeiro, which is a lovely city. Then, on a permanent basis, I get in NYC. But I have many housing options.”
Let's keep the conversation a little more serious now. Tell me, have you ever used drugs? What is your position on this matter?
“If I say I have never used drugs, I would be lying. As I am in a transition period, I feel free now and I owe the truth to my fans. During my dark period, I made use of narcotics. My family knows it and I dealt with it in rehab. Today, I’m totally clean. So it’s a complicated issue. I do not support the use of drugs, like cocaine or something more powerful, because it can ruin your life. It almost ended mine. It’s a path that has a comeback, but it’s very hard to get out. So I say to my fans: do not follow this path. Are you having a problem? Get help from your parents, or your friends. But ask for help! Do not think drugs will alleviate your problems, because it’s quite the contrary. They will increase and you won’t endure it.”
There was a time, early in your career, that you were a victim of an online scandal involving homosexuals. Some people said that you were homophobic. What can you tell us about that?
“They’re wrong. I am in favor of equal marriage. I am in favor of the gay cause and everyone who says otherwise is lying. I have gay fans, I have gay friends. I even have a gay cousin. And I love them. They are pure, attentive, they don’t leave you and only seek happiness like the rest of us. The problem is that their path is already full of obstacles because of the homophobic ones. I defend them and the cause to the end.”
Now, finally, I’m going to say a word and you will answer me whatever comes into your head.
A dream: making a difference.
A song: Who I Am, Nick Jonas.
A quality: I am loyal.
A defect: I’m jealous with my material goods.
One love: my family. God.
Favorite book: the Harry Potter series.
Favorite food: Pasta.
Favorite movie: Titanic.
A place: my bed.
A trip: all my tours.
One sentence: happiness can be found even in the darkest hours, if you remember to turn on the light.
Spooping, a kiss for you! It was great chatting with you and understanding more about your projects and your life. I hope to repeat that very soon.
“I appreciate that. To my fans: stand by. New things coming right up.”