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The sound out of Pittsburgh,Pa has been buzzing lately with the likes of Wiz Khalifa, and Mac Miller. Today I bring you a look into the life of another Pittsburgh native growing a buzz on his own, Ray Dawn. Ray Dawn left law school after a year, to pursue a career in music. Now we all know Kanye West is a college dropout, but Ray Dawn graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and he just thought 4 more years of school wasn’t going to be as fun as pursuing a Grammy! My Q&A with Ray Dawn:

1.     Law school to the rap school… Why the move?

Ray Dawn: Life’s too short to work a job you hate just so you can afford material goods you truthfully don’t need.  Law school was cool, and I’m confident I would have made a great practicing attorney.  But I was chasing the “safe American dream”…the corner office, downtown condo and big body beam.  Once the novelty of immediate gratification began to stale, would I love the work? The answer was no, making music is my true passion.

2.     What college/university did you attend for your Bachelors? And what law school did you attend?

Ray Dawn: I received a BA in English from Western Michigan University, located in Kalamazoo, MI.  For law school I attended Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Grand Rapids, MI. True story…I only applied to one college and one law school. Crazy right?

3.     Would you ever go back and finish up law school?

Ray Dawn: I have enough life experience to know “never say never”. But for now, I’m going to lean towards no.  I have no regrets on going to law school, I learned a lot. The knowledge I gained pertaining to contract law is priceless considering the industry I’m currently in.

4.     How did your family feel about you leaving law school to pursue a career in music?

Ray Dawn: My parents hated the idea, my brothers were skeptical, but my sister has been supportive since day one.  Needless to say, the tune has changed. The work ethic and accomplishments woke ‘em up.

5.     Has the recent main-stream success of artist like Wiz Khalifa, and Mac Miller (Pittsburgh,PA natives) made it any easier for yourself to grow you’re buzz out of Pittsburgh?

Ray Dawn: There’s no question that Wiz and Mac have dramatically increased Pittsburgh’s presence on the palates of hiphop fans and tastemakers throughout the country.  But as far as growing my buzz outside of Pittsburgh, the foundation was laid by myself and my team.  People don’t take the time to find out where you’re from until they like you’re music. Pittsburgh is definitely a force to be reckoned with now though.

6. So you performed at A3C (hip-hop festival) down in Georgia last year (2010), and this year you rocked the stage twice, How do you feel about that?

Ray Dawn: Getting the chance to rock A3C in 2010 still hasn’t set in; I feel honored. To rock the same festival two years in a row, and be one of the few to rock 2 stages in 2011? It’s a testament to unwavering belief, hard work, resilience, and most importantly patience. 

7. I looked at the line-up for this year’s A3C and it was a deep & talented pool. Who was your personal favorite performer this year besides yourself?

Ray Dawn: This year DJBooth.net booked Jean Grae for their stage.  She was amazing. The way she commanded the crowd’s respect was uncanny. Her stage presence was on point, she performed with a ton of passion. Easily, Jean Grae!

8. I just recently checked out you’re “Controlled Chaos 2” mixtape and I gotta say it was really dope! What was the idea behind it?

Ray Dawn: Thank you for checking it out! Artistically, the project has no cohesive sound; this was done on purpose.  I just wanted to hand-pick some crazy beats and write wherever they took me.  I wanted the project to have a big sound, and I feel I succeeded.

9. I noticed there were no collabs on the mixtape. Any particular reason?

Ray Dawn: Well for starters, I wanted to showcase that I’m able to stand on my own two feet as an artist.  I don’t need another artist’s 16s to co-sign a track I’ve molded.  Secondly, I’m kind of selfish when it comes to my music.  I’m getting better though, met a lot of talented artists at this year’s A3C. I’m not going to name any names for the sake of surprise, but expect some collabs soon!

10. Where do you wanna be in you’re career this time next year?

Ray Dawn: I want to be on tour with my team enjoying the fruits of our labor. #YachtMusic!

11. Describe you’re journey thus far, in one word.

Ray Dawn: EPIC!


I wanna thank Ray Dawn (@RayDawnThe86th)  and his manager Fawn Nicole (@FawnNicole) for the opportunity to conduct this interview!

Clicking the photo will take you to Ray Dawn’s  http://onesheet.com/raydawnmusic/ where you can find his facebook page,twitter feed,bio,music,photos,and video’s. Its a one stop place for everything Ray Dawn. You can also download his latest mixtape “Controlled Chaos 2” @ raydawnthe86th.bandcamp.com

Signed: Random

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