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We had the pleasure of interviewing Corey Cray (GHOS7) over the phone!
Many artists are shaped by the places they come from. But for the 25-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer GHOS7 (pronounced “ghost”), that wasn’t the case.
Born Corey Cray to musical parents based in Charlotte, North Carolina, GHOS7 never quite felt connected to the area. From a young age, he had his sights set on much greener pastures and was moved by stories from beyond the confines of the Tar Heel State.
“My mom took me to see Oliver! when I was a kid, and when it was over, I left crying,” he remembers. “I turned to my mom and was like, ‘I want to be on that stage.’”
Though it is rare for such a young child to be so moved by a piece of art, GHOS7’s passion for performance hardly came as a surprise. Growing up, his father introduced him to bands like Toto, Chicago, Journey, Dixie Dregs, Tower of Power and Earth, Wind and Fire—“anything that was really musical.” Both his parents also played music at their church, with his mother playing more traditional fare, and his father handling the contemporary stuff. GHOS7 himself took up the guitar and began learning from his father how to pick up on even the most minor details in a piece of music. “That was our thing,” he says.
GHOS7 went on to spend his childhood performing in Broadway tours and appearing on kids’ television shows, including Cartoon Network’s Fried Dynamite!, and experimenting with music (“I was making full-on metal tracks and singing and full screaming on them in my bedroom”). He eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time, attending auditions and working at a production house, where he learned even more about sound. After becoming disenchanted with his acting venture his dad convinced him to move to Nashville, and shift his focus to his original love: music.
The self-described trap-pop artist initially moved for a recording job but was ultimately let go after his studio was bought out. Desperate for a steady income, he began producing karaoke tracks, recreating some of the most popular songs of all time note for note. In this role, he was able to utilize the analytical skills he learned from his father, recognizing the intricacies in each song and mimicking them.
From there, he began producing his own music, befriending and selling hip-hop and trap beats to up and coming rappers in the area. One day, he realized that just as he had learned production skills, he could learn about writing and performing lyrics, just as his rapper friends had, and he began taking songwriting and vocals more seriously. Eventually, he was given the name GHOS7 by Young Buck, whom he met through the local artists he was producing for.
“I always start with a beat. It took me a while to really perfect my lyricism craft,” he confesses. “But really, it was all about confidence in myself. I had to go through some life experiences that changed me, to even want to be an artist.”
He says that the adjustment to Nashville, and seeing the music industry up close, has been a darker experience than he was anticipating; “but I’ve prevailed and destroyed all those demons, and now I’m on top and I can tell my story.”
With his debut singles on the way, GHOS7 is on a mission to empower other people in the same way music has helped him to empower himself, to help them “break down their barriers and their walls, and to send [them] a strong message of feeling good about themselves.”
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