Tony-Ray Jacobo

INTERVIEW | Tony-Ray Jacobo Premieres ‘You Are The Light,’ ft. Frankie J

Tony-Ray Jacobo premieres “You Are The Light,” featuring Frankie J, on CelebMix, and then discusses his present exploration of new genres, including pop.

Tony-Ray Jacobo co-founded reggae band Tribal Seeds with his brother, Steven, in 2003. Tribal Seeds went on to release a series of award-winning, Top 10-charting albums. Then in 2016, Tony-Ray Jacobo decided to focus on producing.

Adrian Cisneros hooked Jacobo up with Frankie J. When the two artists got together, the chemistry was instantaneous. Tony Ray describes it, saying, “I pulled up an instrumental that I had made a couple of years earlier and within seconds Frankie started moving his head to it and throwing up melody ideas. We worked late into the night writing and recording.”

The end result was “You Are The Light,” a tasty song encompassing savors of EDM, trap-lite, pop, and R&B.

How would you describe yourself?

Kind of quiet, an observer. Strong in faith and always wanting to learn. A work in progress. Hardworking, but deff like to make time to have a good time. A giver. Some people tell me I don’t give myself enough credit sometimes so guess I’d say humble. A husband, like to give Lots of Love, avoider of drama as much as I can and be at peace as much as possible.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into? 

I don’t get into much trouble. I did get kicked out of a club once for shoving the manager and security, but the guy put his hands on me first because I was standing outside the girls bathroom waiting for my wife and he thought it was creepy and started pushing me to move me without asking me to move. Sorry I don’t have a better story to tell. Thank God I’m a fun drunk … I have had my hands zip tied on the side of a highway in Virginia while cops searched our tour bus. A couple of the guys went to jail that night for being difficult but being the laid back person I am they let me go without a ticket. They just took my weed.

What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

If the vibe is right, I might belt out some Tom Petty. “Won’t Back Down” and “Learning To Fly” are my go to. I get into belting old rock songs, songs from Queen, Boston, Credence, Patti Smith, Kiss, The Beatles and so on

Who is your favorite music artist?

I don’t have just one. My taste is eclectic. Songs from Bob Marley, Tom Petty, The Kooks, Vampire Weekend, Steel Pulse, UB 40 are some standouts for me

How did you get started in music?  What’s the backstory there?

I started a Reggae band in 2003 with my brother called Tribal Seeds. I did most of the producing and also performed and toured up until 2016 when I decided to stop touring and pursue producing full time. I still do some producing for the band and they still tour. I did some producing jobs for other artists, mostly Reggae artists. I enjoyed it but I also wanted to explore creating other genres and styles of music. It brought me to this moment when I’m releasing my first single under my name in the “POP” genre. Another new journey for me and I’m excited.

How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?

I know consciously and subconsciously, songs I’ve played over and over or even just heard a few times, impact my work. The chords, sounds, melodies all get stored in the hard drive in my brain and come through in my music.

Your new song, “You Are The Light,” is great. What inspired the song?

Lyric wise, I thought of the idea of the partner in a relationship being the light that helps to improve the other. I definitely thought of my wife when coming up with the concept. Frankie took that idea and ran with it.

How did you hook up with Frankie J?

A mutual friend of ours, Adrian Cisneros, linked us up. We met at Adrian’s studio, Avant Garde Music Company, in San Diego, CA. Adrian had done a lot of studio work and played shows with Frankie. I met Adrian years ago through the band I started with my brother.

We hear flavors of EDM, trap-lite, pop, and even a little R&B in “You Are The Light.” How would you describe your sound?

I hope to not really have a description for my overall sound. I wanna dabble in a variety of genres and just make what I’m feeling from song to song. The description of this song provided in the question is pretty spot on with “Your Are The Light.”  I enjoyed incorporating multiple genres in this song. I just plan to make music that grooves and makes the body move.

Who produced “You Are The Light?” Are you pleased with how it turned out?

I produced and mixed the song. Adrian Cisneros recorded the vocals. Bruce Bang out of Houston mixed the vocals. Michael Piroli mastered it. I am happy with how it turned out. I often listen back to older work and do hear small things I would change, but that’s how it usually goes with all my work. But overall I am happy with how the song came out.

What’s next for you musically?

I do have a couple of projects on my plate for other artists at the moment, but as for my next official (Tony Ray Jacobo) release, I’ll just be searching for and messing with melodies, chord progressions, sounds, drum grooves, whatever causes that initial spark of inspiration to build a song off of. Whatever I’m feeling.

Will you be doing any touring?

I don’t have any plans right now for touring but that’s something that does sound fun in the future. I used to tour and play keys, so that’s something I could do and have other musicians, singers, rappers etc. perform with me; that does sound fun. For now I’ll just be producing and releasing music.

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.