On yesterday’s (April 3) episode of “The Blackprint,” host and REVOLT CEO Detavio Samuels chatted with none other than R&B artist, actor, reality TV personality, and businessman Ray J. The Mississippi-born, LA-raised multihyphenate talked about finding his own path in the entertainment business, learning how to master his skill set, and appreciating the pivots throughout his career.
The discussion began with Ray J letting it be known that while society may have given him many titles, the only one he wants everyone to know him for is being a hard worker. This work ethic has been something that has helped guide the entrepreneur through different eras of his life.
Samuels asked Ray J about his origin story and what it was like for him growing up. The singer shared that his family moved to LA when he was 2 years old and his sister, R&B icon Brandy, was only 4. After the move, it wasn’t long until the family enrolled in acting classes and worked toward becoming a part of the entertainment industry. Ray J opened up about the moment he knew for himself that acting was the path he wanted to explore.
“For an actor or actress, after you get the audition, it’s on you after that. Pure acting and pure adrenaline is how it all got started. My favorite actor was Eddie Murphy. I remember I used to watch Coming To America and Boomerang every single day. That gave me my game and my idea on who I wanted to be,” he revealed.
Ray J reflected on the memorable day he got his big break by landing the role as LJ on Fox TV series “The Sinbad Show.” Samuels brought up that siblings pursuing similar paths can sometimes bring unhealthy competition, but Ray J reassured the host and noted the bond between him and his sister is a strong one. He continued on to say that they showed each other a lot of support, and there was always a certain level of respect and understanding, knowing you can achieve your goals by following different paths.
The conversation segued into discussing Ray J’s music career, and the singer got candid about how he made the decision to become an artist. Ray J admitted that music was never part of his plan. “I never really wanted to do the music thing in the beginning. At the time, I wasn’t ready. I wanted to hang out with my friends. I just wanted to be a young kid exploring the world. I don’t want to say I was pushed to do the music. But it was in my lap because of how the music industry was at the time and how big my sister was, and still is. So I struggled with identifying who I was compared to who they wanted me to be,” he confessed.
Ray J expressed his struggle with creating his own persona after being signed to a record label and navigating how he wanted to do things when it came to making music. With help from legends such as Pharrell Williams, Rodney Jerkins, and the late LaShawn Daniels, the creator was inspired to make music his own way. This resulted in the release of his 2001 hit single “Wait A Minute” featuring Lil Kim. Even though Ray J was happy seeing the success of the record, that time in his life also caused unhealthy habits of self-sabotage that cost him a lot in the long run.
“After ‘Wait A Minute’ happened, I was thinking that because nobody was listening to me, nobody could tell me anything. I went on this whole run and it was unhealthy. Just because they didn’t see your vision before doesn’t mean that they can’t help you grow it. I didn’t listen and that is when I came to a crash. I got dropped from the label and no one else wanted to sign me. It was tough,” Ray J noted.
With the support of his family, the young star shifted to working on his craft independently. This is what sparked the launch of his solo album Raydiation, including the No. 11 Billboard Hot 100 single “One Wish.” After the reality TV star put his all into what he would call his “farewell song,” Ray J started to change his perspective on how he wanted to approach business.
From being in the music industry, he noticed his strengths were in marketing. So, with the help of a dream team, his pivot into the tech industry allowed him to see those strengths shine in a different light.
Scoot-E-Bike was Ray J’s first tech venture. Learning this new territory had its ups and downs for the business owner before he sold it to Canadian firm LOOPShare in 2019. This allowed Ray J to launch his new electronics company, Raycon. The business boasts over $300 million in revenue and the tech founder hopes to scale even more in the future. As you can imagine, the C-suite executive has learned many lessons along the way, but Ray J is proof that the road to success doesn’t always have to be linear.
If you liked this recap, tune into new “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels” episodes every other Monday at 5 p.m. ET on the REVOLT website, YouTube channel and app. You can watch the latest installment here.
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