Ray Wilson, recognized as one of the UK’s finest ever vocalists by Classic Rock Magazine, is renowned across the music world as an exceptional singer/songwriter, and is acclaimed for his charismatic stage presence, and his ability as an extraordinary entertainer.
A native Scotsman, Ray founded his first professional band GUARANTEED PURE with his brother Steve in the early nineties, releasing three albums, and touring constantly around the UK and Europe.
In 1994 Ray joined the Scottish band STILTSKIN as their front-man. Their debut single “Inside” was an immediate success, reaching number one in several European countries, and to this day “Inside” remains one of the most recognizable rock songs ever recorded, being used of course by “ Levi’s “ as the soundtrack to one of their legendary jeans commercials.
Due to the amazing success of STILTSKIN, Ray was brought to the attention of one of rock’s biggest ever bands, GENESIS, and was given the job of lead vocalist after the resignation of Phil Collins in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 Ray was singer/songwriter with the rock giants, and in the process, they recorded the fourth best-selling album in the band’s history – “Calling All Stations”, following this up with a European Tour, and headlining the world famous Rock am Ring/Park festivals in 1998 . In March 2010 GENESIS were inducted into the “Rock’n‘Roll Hall of Fame” being recognized as one of rock’n’roll’s most important and influential bands.
After the rock legends split, Wilson went back to his roots, and in 1999 released the album “Millionairhead” with his new band CUT_, the songs being written by him and his brother Steve, the band being made up of the former members of GUARANTEED PURE, along with GENESIS drummer Nir Z. A stadium support act tour followed, CUT_ supporting the SCORPIONS in arenas all over Europe and WESTERNHAGEN on a football stadium tour of Germany, playing to over a million people in the summer of 2000.
In 2001 Ray Wilson began his solo career in earnest, playing 12 sold out Acoustic shows at the world famous Edinburgh International Festival. Ray followed this up by recording his first solo album “ Change “ in 2003, touring with his band all over Europe, and appearing as special guest, on tour with JOE JACKSON and SAGA.
In 2004 his second solo album “ The Next Best Thing “ was released, again followed by tours of Europe and South / Central America, as well as performing on tours with Dolores O’Riordan from the CRANBERRIES, and SUPERTRAMP front-man Roger Hodgson. Proving his diversity, Ray also collaborated with the Dutch DJ-star ARMIN VAN BUUREN; recording a remix of his own song “ Yet Another Day “ the song strolled to the Number 1 spot in the Dance Charts in 2005.
In late 2006 STILTSKIN returned, Ray going back to his “rock roots “ with the studio album “SHE”. Together with his new band line-up, Ray toured the critically acclaimed album, to audiences all over Europe, with a live album being produced from the tour. Ray followed this with his album “Propaganda Man“ in 2008, and coupled with endless touring, quickly established himself as a “must see ” performer.
In addition, in 2009, another of Ray’s live projects GENESIS CLASSIC, brought together 10 musicians from across Europe, with the members of his band STILSKIN being joined on stage by the Berlin Symphony Ensemble. GENESIS CLASSIC celebrates the music of Genesis, and its members, taking classical interpretations of world famous songs, and airing them in a form never heard before.
A Triple live CD/DVD of the Genesis Classic show, recorded at the Poznan Philharmonic Hall, was released in 2011, featuring songs from all across the Genesis spectrum, and of course songs from Ray’s solo career, the album box set achieving major chart success reaching Number 2 in Poland, and Number 21 in Germany, with sell out shows all across Europe, and as far afield as Moscow, Russia.
In September 2011 Ray Wilson & STILTSKIN released their long-awaited new studio album, “Unfulfillment”. With typical Scots calm, Ray combined the energy of rock music, with lyrics of great depth, alongside complex string arrangements. All of the songs were written by Ray, Uwe Metzler, and Peter Hoff, one of Stuttgart’s most successful producers (Die Fantastischen Vier, Beth Hart, Lou Bega).
The video for the single “First Day Of Change” was produced by the renowned German company “Camelot”, directed by Robert Broellochs (Xavier Naidoo, La Bouche, Mel C., Shaggy). Cameraman on the shoot was none other than the famous Englishman Joe Dyer (Kylie Minogue, Take That, Bryan Adams etc). Ray followed the release with an extensive European tour, taking in Countries from Poland to Portugal, and Romania to Spain.
Next up, In the Spring of 2013, Ray released his new solo album, “ Chasing Rainbows ”. Ray aired 12 brand new songs, again joined by his band, and touring string section, and a surprise new addition to the lineup, in the form of saxophone player, Marcin Kaiper, the album mixing Ray’s acoustic roots, with his love for Rock music, culminating in an array of songs, which pleased fans, old and new alike.
An extensive tour followed throughout 2013, with the highlights being a main support slot with Rock legend STING, at the Life Festival in Osweciem, Poland, and the year finishing on a major high, as the band headlined the Wroclaw New Year's Eve celebrations, playing to over 150,000 fans.
So, 2014 promises to be a big year for Ray and the band. First up, came the release of “ Up Close and Personal “, a double live CD, recorded in Mainz, Germany, at the legendary SWR 1 Studios, featuring Ray, backed by his acoustic quintet, and presenting the first ever recording of Ray's full acoustic show, beautifully showcasing the classical arrangements of songs from both Ray's solo career, and the world of Genesis.
So to the future, again in addition to his extensive touring schedule, Germany, Poland, Austria, and Romania have already been reached by the end of February, Ray will be giving his fans, a Ray Wilson first, his first ever, full length DVD, combining this, with a full Double CD recording of the concert.
“20 years and more“, is truly the first complete retrospective look at Ray's career in the music business. A fascinating journey through his early days with Guaranteed Pure, via Stiltskin, Genesis, Cut, and of course Ray's extensive solo career, the DVD highlighting Ray's depth and diversity as a performer, backed as always by his band, and a 4 piece string quartet.
Captured live on stage at the Polish Radio Music Hall, at the iconic Radio Troika Studios in Warsaw, Poland on April 14th , 2013, the DVD features various milestones from Ray's career, including the songs, Inside, the European wide No 1 smash hit from 1994, Another Day, remixed by world ranked number 1 DJ, Armin Van Buuren, the song going on to become No 1 in the European dance charts, and Congo, from the last ever Genesis studio album, Calling All Stations, the album going on to reach No 2 in both the UK and German Charts.
Ray also takes us on an intimate journey through his own musical life, by playing songs, written about his life experiences, focusing on major moments, and indeed turning points in a fascinating career, of many up's and downs.
Firstly, “ The Actor”, a song which expresses his true emotions at the end of his Genesis career, revealing the real battle he had with himself at the time, with the line, “ It's alright, I'm alright, I just need to believe” summing his feelings up, and played to a breathless, almost silent audience.
Secondly, “Constantly Reminded”, a highly personal song, written about the break up of his marriage to former manager Tyla, reflecting on his past, and the changes he wished he could have made.
Next up “Tale from a Small Town”, a song which highlights a new start for Ray, an observation on his new life in Poland, and the challenges faced by many, who find themselves in a situation far removed from the norm.
This release also highlights the huge part that classical musicians now play in his band , with Ray giving special mention to the early Genesis song, “Ripples ”, a regular fixture in Ray's live set, and a firm audience favourite, Ray describes the Instrumental section of this song, as “ simply magical, an overwhelming piece of music”.
In addition, Ray performs several of his favourite Genesis songs, touching on his time spent touring with the band. Songs like Mama, No Son of Mine and of course the classic Carpet Crawlers, a song which Ray recently re-recorded with Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett, clearly demonstrating why Genesis chose Ray to replace Phil Collins, as the bands frontman in 1996.
This first full concert DVD release of Ray's career, takes you on a true musical journey, providing an intimate look at the performer himself, giving both a true retrospective look at the past, as well as a glimpse of what lies ahead.
As Ray says – “The Journey has just begun”