The star of Hahnville native David Raymond Jr. continues to rise. It’s downright soaring, in fact.
Raymond, a multitalented musical artist, earned a crowning accolade Sunday night when singer-songwriter P.J. Morton’s “Say So” earned the Grammy for Best R&B song at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Raymond, who performs under the name DJ Raymond, was on bass for the hit song.
“A year later(after recording), Say So wins a freaking Grammy!” Raymond posted to his Facebook page after the announcement. “I’m a Grammy award winning musician, man. I didn’t know what a Grammy was growing up. I didn’t know what the billboard charts were. None of that. Man, I’ve now gotten to sing on and play on records that have been affiliated with both. Unreal, man. God is being way too good to me right now.”
Raymond told the Herald-Guide he ran outside and let out some emotion upon hearing the news of Say So’s win.
“I ran out the house and took a lap around the neighborhood, screaming,” Raymond said.
Raymond began pursuing a career in music at age 19, after graduating from Hahnville High School in 2006. He initially planned to go into nursing before making a full commitment to his musical aspirations.
He started to make a name for himself as a bassist when he earned a huge break in 2016: he successfully auditioned to play bass as part of a nationally televised performance by Solingen on Saturday Night Live. It was the first ever performance on SNL by Solange, the sister of iconic singer and actress Beyonce. Solange was fresh off earning a No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200 list with the release of her album, “A Seat at a Table.”
“Everything we worked on, all those individual things, came together as part of Solange’s vision,” Raymond said on the heels of that performance. “When you see everything you’ve been working mesh like it did, it makes you feel like you’re part of something really special.”
It provided a spark for his next big step, releasing his first solo project in 2017 entitled “Truth Be Told.” The R&B EP release was a compilation of eight original tracks written and performed by Raymond. On that album, Raymond performed as bassist, singer, songwriter, producer and, for one song, pianist.
His love of music comes in part from his father, who was long an avid singer with the ability to play numerous instruments proficiently. The younger Raymond began playing drums as a youth before moving on to the piano and, ultimately, to bass, where he’d make his name.
“Even though it’s just one part of the music, I feel like the bass gives you power and control of where the music goes,” Raymond said. “It plays a big role. I can choose to make the music have a different feel or steer it in a different direction.”
Say So was recorded at The Parlor recording studio in New Orleans. Morton reached out to Raymond to be part of the song recording, which Raymond noted took less than 45 minutes “(Morton) wastes no time!” Raymond noted.
It is a duet by Morton and fellow R&B singer JoJo, written by Morton and released on Feb. 14 of last year through Morton’s own record label, Morton Records/Empire, as the lead single from his sixth studio album, Paul.
The song beat out several other nominations for the Grammy in the Best R&B category: ‘Could’ve Been’ by Dernst Emile II, David “Swagg R’Celious” Harris, H.E.R. and Hue “Soundzfire” Strother; ‘Look At Me Now’ by Emily King and Jeremy Most; ‘No Guidance’ by Chris Brown, Tyler James Bryant, Nija Charles, Aubrey Graham, Anderson Hernandez, Michee Patrick Lebrun, Joshua Lewis, Noah Shebib and Teddy Walton and ‘Roll Some Mo’ by David Brown, Dernst Emile II and Peter Lee Johnson.
Raymond said the win hadn’t quite sunk in completely.
“It hasn’t hit me in totality yet,” he said. “I think I still have a lot more left to accomplish … I try to take the highs and the lows altogether, stay even and keep working hard.
“I’ve definitely been blessed to keep some great company the past few years. I’m going to keep working hard to capitalize (on the exposure) and get to the next level.”