R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Arin Ray releases his long-awaited EP Phases III via Interscope Records. The thrilling 11-track installment is the L.A.-based performer’s most mature yet playful release to date. Supported by revered co-writers and producers, including Tricky Stewart and James Fauntleroy, Phases III celebrates the art of spontaneity and living more from the heart than the head. Arin also releases the captivating visualizer for the EP focus track “Moonlight”.
Throughout Phases III, the vocal powerhouse revels in a full-spectrum sonic world—and the joys of being single. Still, amid the sleek production and reckless abandon, Arin Ray retains his emotional nuance and depth. When he’s not throwing back shots (“Tequila”) or debating casual hookup prospects (“Wet Dream”), he’s yearning for something more serious: “Why would you wait so long to say what you want, say what you need,” hepleads on the Stewart-produced lead single “Wait So Long.”
“Maybe I’m a little more bold and more vulnerable”, Arin Ray says of the EP. “My writing comes with experience, and always trying to have a cool little swing to my sound. I’m just being honest; a lot of people just ain’t honest.”
Throughout the EP, Arin Ray embraces traditional sounds—from classic ’70s R&B to imperial-era Michael Jackson to neo-soul and beyond—to freely experiment. Take the Fauntleroy-assisted “Psychic,” an otherworldly funk track infused with a mystical collection of synths, or “Save It All,” in which he drops soulful triplets over a shuffle that flirts with interstellar gospel. They both seamlessly flow alongside the groovy club seducers “Curious” and “Electric.” But the most striking throwback may be the sensual power ballad “Cold Outside,” a nod to pop-R&B’s mid-’90s heyday. “That kind of music is literally what I was born into. It’s embedded in my soul,” the 28-year-old explains. “I made that record in like an hour. It just came out of me.”
While Ray’s perspective has matured over the years, the same themes of romance and redemption have dominated his work, from his 2016 debut EP Phases to 2018’s acclaimed major-label debut Platinum Fire to last year’s lauded sophomore album, Hello Poison. Now, with Phases III, he continues to expand his sonic palette—a mesmerizing mix of fresh and classic sounds—while remaining authentically himself.
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