Gilbert Louie Ray Embraces a Storytelling Method in "Topanga"



Hailing from Atwater Village in Los Angeles, Gilbert Louie Ray makes music that ranges from Folk to Bluegrass, to Country and Rock.

Being lyrically blatant with whimsical melodies, Gilbert Louie Ray holds intricate yet simple chord progressions that border the unexpected. Fulfilling his fan base with concepts that serve people from all walks of life, there’s a brilliance that lies in his creations.

Serenading us in the jaunty and enticing expressions found in his latest single “Topanga,” Gilbert Louie Ray delves into his take on production by his own helms. Tiptoeing in what effortlessly portrays itself as the Americana scope of all sounds uniquely crafted in this piece, we can’t help but feel a sense of familiarity that trickles into the comforting hues of the storytelling he reiterates.

Taking on an abstract, yet direct approach to how the lyrical content falls into place, the warmth radiated from Gilbert Louie Ray’s vocalization has us embracing the subject matter with arms wide open.


Leaping into a narrative that strokes the age-old story of involving yourself in a new relationship, while your ex-partner wants to reach out to you knowing very well that you're happy with someone new, Gilbert Louie Ray approaches this theme from a perspective that is stuck in the middle of these unfortunate happenings.

With the drizzle of harmonies cascading upon the raw acoustic guitar strums that emphasize each lick of the story in a newfound light, we admire the angles that are unveiled as Gilbert Louie Ray places amplified importance on the way his unmatched timbres relate to his fan base.


Welcome to BuzzMusic Gilbert Louie Ray, and congratulations on the release of “Topanga.” The story that you delve into is one that many can relate to. Was there a particular story or moment that encouraged you to tell this tale in the manner we get to take in?


To be specific about how this song came to be, I had watched a Bee Gee documentary called "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" about a month before I wrote the song. I always heard their music growing up on the radio or in movies but never was a huge fan. After watching that documentary, learning about their lives, how they created their music down to detail, I was immediately inspired. The string section in my song is highly influenced by the way the Bee Gees would have their string sections orchestrated. In terms of the subject, the whole story of old love trying to come back in your life while you're with someone new is in fact a common tale people go through but I wrote the song entirely from a fictional point of view. It didn't happen to me. I just thought of a sort of love triangle idea, and the words came out. Though the song isn't a true story personally, the sentiment is real.


Being the one who tackled the production components in place, how have you found this experience to be? Does the creative process differ from tracks that you approach where you aren’t head of production?


I have found recording and mixing myself has been rewarding and creatively productive. I feel every time I produce myself I learn something new I didn't utilize in previous self-recording sessions. I have had plenty of demos and official releases in the past produced by others and I loved learning and working with them as they have taught me cool little tricks along the way. The creative process definitely differs when you're working with someone else who is at the head of the production. You get two sets of ears and ideas instead of one.


In terms of bringing the vision to life, was there anyone assisting you with other elements of the release? What did this process entail?


One thing I am so grateful for is the background vocal accompaniment in this track. Graced with the voices of Phoebe Silva and Alex Ridio, I was aiming for an old school style of doo-wop, 60s girl group, oldies approach. Phoebe and Alex really helped make this song come to life, I'd say right next to the violin string section, which Phoebe also played. The day we recorded vocals, the three of us got together and sang live all at once.


How have you found your headspace changed from the moment you wrote this song, to this present day?


I always feel like I could have done better. That's with a lot of things in my life. But my headspace has come to the point where I've realized that kind of thinking can be quite straining. With the release of "Topanga," I've realized that some things you give it all you got, do your best, and set it free to the world. At least with creative things I feel.


What's next for you?


Well, what's next for me is I am continuing recording and mixing my full-length album which "Topanga," will also be featured on. I am working on a project that is mixed with Bluegrass, Country, Rock, Folk but with random and tasteful "indie" sounds.


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