AJ Wray (United States)

    Boy | Pop
    When you’re born into a musical family and grow up where nights around the piano and touring the world were the norm, it’s almost unavoidable that you’d venture down the musical road yourself. And that’s more than okay with 14-year-old singer AJ Wray. From the very first time his father brought him onstage to sing for a crowd of 5,000 fans, he knew that singing is was what he was destined to do.
    “My earliest memories are being around music. I’ll never forget the first time I saw my father perform when I was about 5 years old. Something welled up inside of me and I knew this was what I wanted to do. My dad has showed me the road; now I have to walk down it, ” says the Dallas-based singer, who started piano at age 4, performing at age 5, and guitar at age 10.
    After that debut performance with his dad, a fire was lit inside of the young singer. He sang everywhere and anywhere he could, from entertaining his family with “Away In a Manger” at Christmas to performing at school, church, and dance conferences.
    “Teachers would call me saying that AJ was singing all through class again. They gave him a pass because they knew it’s simply in his genes and maybe it was a way for him to focus better. This is a kid who could match pitch and harmonize before he even learned to read… and he learned piano and guitar fast, too. It was amazing how naturally he took to it,” recalls AJ’s mother, Tracie.
    Growing up in a musical environment was a big influence and motivator for AJ. He also cites icons Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers as influences and is taking a pop route with his debut CD, the 7-song Another Day In Paradise. “It’s positive pop music,” explains AJ of his music. “It’s uplifting and just really fun. I want people to feel like they can go after whatever they want in life. I guess I want to be the light in a dark world and that’s what you get on Another Day In Paradise.”
    Besides music, AJ has found a huge passion for acting. Bit by the acting bug while cast in a local production of “Oliver!”, AJ has discovered a natural talent and love of acting he never knew about. “One thing I love about music is sharing an experience with people. Acting is really similar; you just use a character instead of a melody.” Casting directors and producers are already noticing AJ’s natural acting ability and he’s already begun work on a major feature film called “Altar Egos” and has a number of projects in development.
    AJ’s acting and musical talents combine in his infectious YouTube videos including his cover of “Footloose,” and two original songs from the album, “What Kind of Beautiful” and “Another Day in Paradise.” All three videos capture AJ’s swagger, vocal chops, and sharp dance moves, complete with an impressive backdrop of professional dancers. The buzz caught the attention of The Jonas Group (yes, of that Jonas family!), which signed AJ to a management deal in 2013. He’s also been catching the eye of major media outlets such as “Great Day Houston” and “Good Day Texas,” which featured live performances of AJ.
    Though AJ always knew he wanted to perform, the real turning point for him to go all out for it was after attending the music summer camp, Camp Electric. “The school I go to is very focused on sports and it was sometimes hard to connect with a lot of people because I’m not as into sports as they were. I would feel really excluded. I can’t play anything that ends with the word ball,” laughs AJ. “But I always turned to music to feel better and had faith in what I was doing. So when I got to music camp and saw other kids my age who were also more into music than playing video games or football, I felt for the first that there was a group of people where I could really fit in. That encouraged me to focus on my music and forget about the rest of it,” says AJ.
    AJ tackles the topic of bullying on his breakout song, “What Kind of Beautiful,” which tells the story of girl-on-girl bullying that eventually leads to compassion and friendship. AJ’s strong core values – such as making the right choices, doing the right thing, being kind and grateful – shine out on this song. “It’s about how true character comes from your personality traits on the inside and that’s way more important than what’s on the outside. You know, lipstick may make you look good but if your inside is bad, no one is going to notice,” he says.
    Strong messages of gratitude, confidence, and celebrating life run through each of the album’s songs. The title track, “Another Day In Paradise,” (which also features AJ’s 10-year-old brother, Gabe, on backing vocals and in the song’s video) best defines AJ as a person and artist and showcases his positive outlook on life. “I’m a happy person. Even when things are tough, I can find the bright side. Paradise, to me, is within and we can all make our own paradise with the right attitude and perspective. Paradise can simply be your inner peace,” he explains.
    Elsewhere on Another Day In Paradise, AJ sings about standing up for what you believe in on “I Won’t Deny You” and “Won’t Go Home,” and shows his gratitude on “What You Did For Me.” Meanwhile his cover of the ’80s pop chart-topping “Footloose” shows off the 14-year-old’s high energy and playful side.
    “Music is my calling. I know that this is what I was meant to do. It’s always brought me up in stressful times and made me feel like everything’s going to be all right. That’s what I want people to feel when they hear my songs,” adds AJ.