Craymo - 10 Questions Music Interview
Craymo was born Craig Stephen Raymo in Massena, New York and grew up in nearby Ogdensburg, a quiet little city on the St. Lawrence River bordering Canada. He wrote his first song when he was 16. Craymo eventually went to Fredonia State University, majoring in Broadcasting with a minor in drama. Feeling the call of the big city, Craig left college and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams. He soon landed acting gigs in the TV soap operas General Hospital and Days Of Our Lives, most recently in The Watchman’s Edict (2017), The Misadventures of Walt’s Frozen Head (2017) and the HBO original film "Recount." Craymo even appeared as a male vocalist on Star Search ;89 with Ed McMahan. He opened up shows for Smashmouth, The Plimsouls and Fishbone.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
When I first saw The Beatles on TV, I was 3 years old, I grabbed my Mom's hairbrush, jumped on my parents bed and started singing and performing. In that moment I was forever changed. Then came Elvis Presley, Elton John, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. I wrote my first song in high school, it was called "Troubles." My Mom was so proud of me, in her ceramics class she made me a ceramic record bank that had a 45rpm record shape and she painted the record Troubles written by Craig Raymo! I still have it! I would say the true catalyst was my parents. They always encouraged me to pursue my talents.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
In the 80's and 90's I earned my living as a nightclub DJ/VJ. I was one of the first video jockeys to learn how to beat mix using two VHS machines! I was working in this club called Reuben's Video Dance in Studio City, Ca and Soul/R&B legend Bobby Womack came up and complimented me on my DJ skills and started chatting! We became friends, he became my vocal coach for a while and gave me this song he wrote and did a demo of called "The One I Love" (I think was the title) and said "Hey Craymo, record this song and let's see what you can do!" He liked what I did and he ended up recording and releasing the song himself. I still have my version on a cassette! RIP Bobby
What has been the high point of your music path?
Reaching #1 for 5 weeks (4 consecutive) on the Euro Indie Music Top 200 Chart for my song "Take It Slow (Gotta Say Hey)" which was released in loving memory of my father and my song "December Rain (Carol Of Love)," released in loving memory of my mother, is #2 this week on that chart and recently won several awards including Best Rock Song, Best Video, To have received the success, love and accolades, including some humbling reviews, for two songs dedicated to my parents, is the greatest gift I could receive.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Totally organically. I am inspired from the Universe every day! I always have lyrics, a chorus or a melody flying in and out of my head! I have to constantly record them on my phone or they disappear as fast. Sometimes the bits and pieces fit together, sometimes they don't. I take my favorite ones and expand on the idea or concept
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The biggest challenge is exposure. Nearly 40,000 tracks are released on Spotify a DAY! What? What if radio stations opened up to playing more indie artists. There was such an excitement back in the day when the DJ/announcer said "hey check out this cool new track I found." People love to be the first at things, to hear something first, to see something first.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Sam Smith. He sings from the heart. His beautiful tenor over my baritone voice on a duet, would be a blast!
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I usually do not like to talk much on a show day. Rest those vocal chords! Then I do vocal warm-ups and exercises. Lots of warm water.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
My song "Moment." It was a song I wrote after my first cousin took his life. It drew upon all of my emotions. I broke down in the studio when we were recording it, it was so personal. I wanted it to be a message of hope for other people who were having the same feelings, to hopefully prevent them from doing the same. It's a song promoting suicide prevention awareness, we all have moments in our lives, just remember it is just a moment, it will pass, "I'm having a moment, but I'm having a good day."
What's coming up in the future? I have an interview and performance in the new web series entitled "Music and Lyrics." It's a show about the song, who or what was the inspiration, and also the songwriting process. A new EP in February entitled: "Love Power."
Tell us where fans can access your music?
More About Craymo
Along with his friend, Brandon Jarrett (Song-writer/Producer) Craymo formed Moho Productions, LLC. They recorded "One Love One World" which became a worldwide phenomenon being featured on the United Nations project UNESCO web site www.newsongsforpeace.org. School teachers all over the world downloaded the song and taught it to their students who then performed it at their schools in the USA, Canada, China and Australia! The opening scene in his music video One Love One World features students in Pang Liu Village in China who were taught to read English using the words and music to his song.
Awards and Nominations:
Best Alternative Video and Best Easy Listening Video for December Rain (Carol Of Love) in the 2019 Indie Music Channel Awards at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California.
Best Rock Song for December Rain in the Fall 2019 Clouzine International Music Awards.
December Rain was a Semi-Finalist, Adult Contemporary Category, in the 2019 UK Songwriting Contest.
Bronze Medal Award for Male Vocals, December Rain, in the November 2017 Global Music Awards.
Best Male Easy Listening Artist in the 2017 Indie Music Channel Awards for his beautiful ballad “So Far Away.”
Honorable Mention in the Comedy/Novelty Category of the 22nd Annual USA Songwriting Competition for his song “Passion For Fashion.”
Best Alternative Recording in the 2016 Indie Music Channel Awards for “Moment,” a song promoting suicide prevention awareness.
“Love You More” won Best Alternative Recording in the 2015 Radio Music Awards and was a Finalist Best International Song for “Moment” 2016 Australian Music Oz Awards.
Craymo has been a semi-finalist and finalist in several songwriting competitions including the 2012 Australian Music Oz Awards ,”Passion For Fashion”
2012 Hollywood Music In Media Awards Unisong, the Hollywood Spiritual Film Festival, UK Songwriting Competition, Pacific Songwriting Competition and the Artist Undiscovered Competition.
Anti-Bullying Advocate / Awards
Craymo is also an anti-bullying advocate who recently won back to back Worldwide Music Contests, in Version 3 he won Best Song for “Be Myself,” his anti-bullying anthem and in Version 4, Best Video for “One Love One World (We Are One),” another anti-bullying anthem that also promotes equality, tolerance, brotherhood, human rights and world peace.
Film and Television
Craymo's songs have been licensed in the indie films, Lucky Dog, Culture Shock, Gabe The Cupid Dog, Cinnamon, Super Southern Sweet Sixteen, Miss Castaway, Leaving Hollywood and Successful Failures 2. Craymo has licensed several songs in television including The Mysteries of Laura (NBC), The X Games (ESPN), The Orlando Citrus Parade (SYND), Sinbad's Reality U (pilot), Toddlers and Tiaras (TLC) and Chris and John To The Rescue (Canada).