Spotlight Artist: Collin Raye
March 1, 2013
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Our March spotlight artist is well known to anyone who was listening to country radio during the 1990s. Between 1991 and 1998 Collin Raye released five albums — four platinum and one gold — and scored 21 Top 10 hits, four of which reached #1. He was born Floyd Elliott Wray in De Queen, Arkansas on August 22, 1960. In the early 1980s he formed a duo with his brother Scott. Known as The Wray Brothers, they released a pair of singles on an independent label, which led to a brief stint with Mercury Records. When their singles failed to gain any traction with country radio, The Wrays were cut loose by Mercury and disbanded shortly thereafter. Floyd, also known as Bubba Wray, began a solo career shortly thereafer. Rechristened Collin Raye, he signed with Epic Records in 1990 and entered the charts with a cover version of an old Conway Twitty album cut called “All I Can Be (Is A Sweet Memory)”, which reached #29.
Following the success of “All I Can Be”, Raye released a ballad written by Skip Ewing and Max T. Barnes which would become his signature hit and the first of his four chart-toppers. “Love, Me” told the story of a young boy who visits a church and learns about his grandparents’ courtship on the day of his grandmother’s death. Most of Raye’s subsequent work was less rooted in traditional country; he became known primarily for his ballads, which often addressed social issues such as alcoholism, interracial relationships and child abuse.
Raye remained a staple at country radio throughout the decade, scoring his final Top 10 hit with 2000′s “Couldn’t Last A Moment”. His stint with Epic ended in 2001, and he took a four-year break from the recording studio before releasing Twenty Years And Change on an independent label. His most recent efforts include Never Going Back, a 2009 release for Saguaro Road Records, and the inspirational album His Love Remains, which was released in 2011.
Unlike many of his 90s contemporaries, Collin Raye was never a traditional artist, but his style of country-pop ballads are remembered fondly and among the things that many listeners of today’s country radio miss. We hope you’ll enjoy our look back at the career of this five-time Male Vocalist of the Year nominee.