( ENSPIRE Music ) Pop Artist Ray Hodge Releases “Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me”
ENSPIRE Contributor: Wesley Tran
On June 30, 2023, Ray Hodge released his newest single “Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me.” A drum and bass-inspired single, the song can give anyone a boost of confidence. As a black queer artist from Queens in New York, Hodge’s music doesn’t shy away from sharing his own personal experiences against a unique, theatrical blend of pop rock, soul, dance, and indie. His viral release, the emotional “I Am King” from his self-released Braveheart EP landed itself on the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series and NAACP Image Awards winner Queen Sugar. Since his sync breakthrough, Ray Hodge circulated on multiple outlets such as The Source, Billboard, AfroPunk, Hiphop DX, Earmilk, Apple Music’s Ebro Darden’s Discovered, and more.
“‘Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me’ is the first song I wrote that’s claiming myself and vibing on my own level. It’s about just going in my studio, no plans, and playing whatever comes to you. No matter how different or crazy. It’s about catching a vibe and shaping my sound. The song is just a rundown of a random ass day in Jamaica Queens, NY. My friends and I just running around doing crazy shit and having fun expressing ourselves” said Ray Hodge. With his gripping vocals and a melody that exudes confidence, Hodge’s latest track draws listeners in with its striking beat.
ENSPIRE had the amazing opportunity to interview Ray about his song and how it came to fruition. Read about it below!
What made you want to create pop music? What artists influenced you?
What made me want to create this style of pop music is for all that I have been through, and all that I am now. Inspiration bloomed through the dark times – this is how I found my voice. And I dared to take all that emotion and make it in the sounds. Artists that inspired me in those times were Michael Jackson, System of The Down, Meshuggah, Underoath, Taking Back Sunday, Jill Scott, Sarah Vaughan, Amy Winehouse, Circa Survive, Nine Inch Nails, Mars Volta, Lady Gaga, Adele, Patti LaBelle…I can go on in the past from the past, and these days it’s been a lot of new artists such as like Kim Petras, Charli XCX, 21 Savage, EARTHGANG, Dreamville, Janelle Monáe, Allie X, and many more. I can never choose one.
What are some lessons that you want listeners to take away from listening to Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me?
The most I can say is I hope that people walk away knowing no one can do it better than themselves. No one can rock Ray Hodge like Ray Hodge can. And I want them to feel that about themselves. That means we got our own road, our own time, and then I think we’re gonna be alright.
What experiences made you want to become a musician? What was the moment you knew you needed to be one?
I can honestly say I always knew it. Felt it! Always there. I can almost hear it speaking in my mind as a child asking for instruments that I never knew how to play just to pick it up, and know how to play something from the heart or the soul or from this place, that is beyond my understanding…but I recognize that the most when I was alone and hurting when I was a child. Not alone in the reality of it, but alone in my head. Where I felt misunderstood, this is where me and music had our union.
What are some difficulties you go through being a queer/Black music artist and what do you do or think about to get past these challenges?
Sometimes forgetting that it’s okay to write about myself. Cause I thought no one wanted to know my story, but wanted some story. I wanted and have been tapping more and more into that and from that, finding my voice and healing, my confidence and the will to dare to go farther and explore more about me in this dream and experience we all share called life. And to not look into those people who don’t understand me cause I don’t fear to be authentically myself, or even show how imperfect I can be. To not let that get in the way – I have to remember sometimes we’re so many different little universes living amongst each other… that I don’t have to accept anyone’s way in order to be myself, or in order to live or fight or find self for whatever I believe. I do this with my music. I choose to show people like me I exist, and have always been here rather alien to your mind or not. We have been here – especially black, gay, queer, bi, trans, nonbinary, etc… all have been here. And we push with dreams and hurt, love, pain, loss. We are here. We are Art. And amazing. But us melanated ones can be pushed to the back, but we see that won’t last for too much longer. So keep being you. Cause I’m doing me.
What can we expect from you in 2023, in terms of songs or tours, or even expansions? What do you hope to do that might not happen this year?
You’ll be hearing more new music! Plenty of fire tracks. Maybe some cool videos and some live shows. And maybe even some collabs. Definitely a lot of surprises on the way. Stay tuned in.
The track “I Am King” off of Ray Hodge’s Braveheart EP seemed to take on a life of its own, with its powerful vocal performance and message leading to the Oprah Network TV series Queen Sugar placing the song in a pivotal scene on the show. Since the release of his Braveheart, Ray has been hard at work crafting his forthcoming sophomore EP that will be released later this year. This next wave of music sees Ray channeling the emotional rollercoaster of his life these last few years, as Ray shares that “This music is the story of my hardest years, channeled into songs. This next chapter is honest, dark, revealing, and uplifting all at once, it’s my story and one hell of a ride. Are you ready for that?”
To listen to “Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me,” click below to listen on Youtube or click here to find it on your preferred platform!