"Sugaray" Rayford is an American electric blues singer and songwriter. He has released three albums to date and in 2016 was nominated for 4 Blues Music Awards.
Sugaray Rayford nominated for 2 Blues Music Awards 2017!
Sugaray Rayford is nominated for the prestigious BB King Entertainer award for the 38th Blues Music Awards! He is also nominated for Contemporary Blues Male Artist.
"I am so honored to be nominated in these categories. I always try to honor the blues and those who came before me, with every performance I give. A big thank you to all those who love the blues and fight to keep it alive. The blues live in my soul and my aim is to share my passion around the world until the day they lay me on the coolin' board" - Sugaray Rayford
Sugaray has fronted his own band since 2010, called the Sugaray Rayford Band. This band is currently made up of world-class musicians who tour extensively internationally. Ralph Carter on bass who is also Suga's writing partner, Gino Matteo on guitar, Drake Munkihaid Shining on keyboards, Lavell Jones on drums, Allan Walker on sax, George Pandas on trumpet. Currently Allen Markel is substituting for Ralph on bass until Ralph can return. Leo Dombecki also joins in on 2nd keyboard and sax on select gigs. Jade Bennett also performs back up vocals on many projects.
The Sugaray Rayford Band is only one of his projects. Suga is very pround and excited about his next release. This project was recorded on Blind Faith Records in Italy and will be released May 26, 2017, The World That We Live In is an album of all original material with the feel of 1960-70's soul. Full band with with horns, strings and back-up vocals complete this old school feel. Keep an eye out in our online store to purchase this new music!
May 2011, Sugaray became one of the lead vocalists for the Mannish Boys, who were under Delta Groove management. This international act performs 6-8 times a year. He sang lead vocals on 9 songs on Double Dynamite the Mannish Boys CD that won Best Traditional Blues Album in May 2013 at the Blues Music Awards. His first solo CD Blind Alley was a self-release in 2010, which garnered critical acclaim. His second solo CD Dangerous, was released on 9/17/2013 under the Delta Groove label and debuted at # 2 on Blues Debut Chart, #6 on the Roots Music Chart and #2 on The Living Blues Chart. Below is the journey that has taken Sugaray to this point in his career.
Texas born Caron “Sugaray” Rayford began his musical career at the age of 7 singing & playing drums in church, and his gospel influence can be heard and felt in his music. Rayford's phrasing is intimate and conversational and the soulful gravel in his voice hints at his firsthand experience with hardship. He grew up in Texas, his childhood marked by poverty and loss. He remembered a sad game he played with his brothers, a competition that determined who was skinniest by counting the number of belt holes left unused. His mother struggled to raise three boys alone while battling cancer. When she died, it was a kind of relief. "She suffered and we suffered," Rayford said. "Then, we moved in with my grandmother and our lives were a lot better. We ate every day and we were in church every day, which I loved. I grew up in gospel and soul.”
When Sugaray belts out a song, you not only hear it, you feel it. The excitement in the room is palpable when he takes the stage; he is a superb vocalist and entertainer. His dynamic voice is large just like the man. With his old school vocal style, echoes of Muddy Waters, Otis Redding and Teddy Pendergrass can be heard. At 6’5” he is a big man, but he moves with grace and energy. His fluid dance steps will remind you of the Legendary James Brown.
His switch to contemporary music began about 15 years ago in the San Diego area, where he sang lead vocals with a R&B/Funk band called Urban Gypsys. With this band he had the privilege of sharing the stage with many notable artists such as The Average White Band, Dennis Quaid, Joe Luis Walker, Kal David, Super Diamond & Venice, to name a few. After dabbling in blues, Suga realized that the blues was where his heart and soul belonged. So after some soul searching he left the Urban Gypsys and became lead vocalist for Aunt Kizzy’z Boyz, a Temecula area blues band. Shortly after joining the band in 2004, they released their first CD “Trunk Full of Bluez”. This band was hungry and did over 200 gigs a year over the next few years and their popularity rose exponentially. Aunt Kizzy’z Boyz represented San Diego (Blues Lovers United San Diego) in Memphis Tennessee January 26th- 28th, 2006 at the International Blues Challenge (IBC), and brought home the 2nd place prize. The band began playing higher profile gigs and in 2007 released their 2nd CD “It’s Tight Like That”. In September 2008, the Boyz won the LAMN Jam Grand Slam Urban Artist of the Year title by a landslide; they beat out hundreds of competitors. The band was offered a distribution deal on the spot by RBC Records. Tabitha Berg wrote, “The band’s most valuable ingredient is that of the band’s dynamic front man Sugaray, he knows how to read and work a room. While most artists simply perform, exceptional artists are responsive to the mood of the crowd. The energy shifted when AKB took the stage, and they had the crowd on its feet within seconds.”
After moving to Los Angeles several years ago, Sugaray was asked to host a blues jam at Cozy’s in Sherman Oaks. It is through this venue that Sugaray met and played with innumerable world-class musicians. Suga’s desire to explore and expand his musical vision has been nourished by these musicians. His solo career has flourished in LA.
He also travels the world singing with other bands like Igor Prado Band, “Big Pete” van der Pluijm, Sax Gordon and several other musical bands.
He has done studio vocals on several projects, such as the theme for Judge Joe Brown, the movie trailer City Lights, a couple of songs on Person of Interest and many other projects.
May 2012 he made his stage debut starring in the Tony award winning play “Ain’t Nuthin’ But The Blues” at the Portland Center Stage in Portland Oregon. He joined members of the New York Broadway cast playing the part previously played by the late Ron Taylor. It had a 6-week run where every show ended with a standing ovation.
He also starred with Felicia Fields and Chic Streetman in the play "Low Down Dirty Blues" that ran in Milwaukee and Cincinnati in 2015. It was a great success in both cities. Suga hopes to have the opportunity to perform on stage in the future.