Ray LaMontagne Biography
Raycharles "Ray" LaMontagne (IPA pronunciation: ) (born 1974) is a folk singer-songwriter currently living in Wilton, Maine. After hearing a Stephen Stills song, he decided to quit his job at a shoe factory and pursue a career in music. He has since released two records, Trouble and Till the Sun Turns Black. In the UK, Trouble was a top 5 hit, and the title track of the album was a top 25 hit. Till the Sun Turns Black was a top 40 hit in the US. A soft-spoken person who is known for his raspy voice, LaMontagne has won a number of awards for his music and has performed at several charity events.
Ray LaMontagne was born in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1974 to a constantly traveling mother and a violent musician father who abandoned the family during LaMontagne's childhood. Because of his father's background in music, LaMontagne refrained from most musical activity, instead spending much of his time reading fantasy novels in the forest. His mother moved him and his five siblings to wherever she could find work, so it was diffucult for LaMontagne to become friends with other children. LaMontagne attended high school at Morgan High School in Morgan, Utah, but frequently ditched class, wrote stories, or got into fights with other students. This caused him to get poor grades and LaMontagne barely graduated. After graduation, LaMontagne moved away from his family to Lewiston, Maine in order to find a full-time job.
LaMontagne found a job at a shoe factory in Lewiston where worked 65 hours a week. One morning at 4 a.m., LaMontagne heard Stephen Stills' song "Treetop Flyer" on the radio as it awoke him for an early work shift. After purchasing the Stills Alone album, LaMontagne decided that he wanted to quit his job at the shoe factory and start a career as a singer-songwriter. LaMontagne began touring in 1999, although he maintained a side job as a carpenter. In the summer of 1999, LaMontagne amassed 10 songs for a demo that he sent to various local music venues. The owner of a local theater heard the demo and invited LaMontagne to open for folk acts such as John Gorka and Johnathan Edwards. A business executive heard LaMontagne's recordings and introduced him to Jamie Ceretta of Chrysalis Music Publishing. CMP recorded his first album, and sold it to RCA Records in the US and Echo Records in the UK.
Ray LaMontagne is particularly known for his raspy voice, which he claims to have learned by singing through his gut and not his nose. LaMontagne claims that he is highly influenced by Stephen Stills, and critics have compared LaMontagne's music to that of Van Morrison, Nick Drake, and Tim Buckley. LaMontagne refers to himself as a "very private person", and infrequently gives interviews. He also usually does not interact with the audience between songs during his live shows. LaMontagne has been known to perform live shows in the dark in order to separate himself from the audience.
Ray LaMontagne won three Boston Music Awards in 2005 for "Album of the Year" (Trouble), "Song of the Year" ("Trouble"), and best male singer/songwriter. He was also nominated for "Act of the Year" and "Male Vocalist of the Year". Later that year, he was named "Best New Acoustic Rock Artist" on the 2005 XM Nation Awards, and was nominated for "Best New Touring Artist" in the 17th Annual Pollstar Awards Trouble was nominated for the 2005 Shortlist Music Prize, but did not win. Esquire Magazine awarded LaMontagne a "Best Voice Esky" in the 2006 Esky Music Awards In April 2006, GQ Magazine listed "The Seducation of a Ray LaMontagne Concert" as one of the 25 sexiest places on the planet to take a girl.