Updated: May 1
Singer/songwriter Raymond Salgado exclusively tells Gaye that he is dropping a new single, along with writer and producer Julen Zaldua, called “Almost There”, on Friday April 30th. This single is a long time coming, as the pair have been mutuals on Instagram for over two years, but it took Julen finally reaching out to Raymond for the two to start their first collaboration.
“Basically, he reached out, and he said I have this track, I feel like it would really suit your voice, check it out,” Raymond told us, as the two sat down over a Zoom interview.
“I instantly was like hooked and in love with the whole meaning behind just trying to heal a relationship, a friendship you know even just like family sometimes, sometimes things aren’t meant to be fixed.”
“It was a challenge for me just because I’m used to just singing ballads, so I wanted to challenge myself and try to do something outside of my comfort zone and I’m really in love with the record,” said Raymond.
Julen originally wrote the song for the Ryan Tedder Masterclass, one of three, starting with a guitar sample and built a song around it. For the lyrics, his inspiration, amazingly, was from a saved post that he saw on the Instagram page @poetryporn.
“I had forgotten about the post for like two days, and then I remembered it in my camera roll and thought ’this!’, this is what I want to talk about.”
"I wanted to get the contrast between the sad lyrics and happy music because I feel like sometimes that concept is stronger, and obviously Raymond got involved and just killed the vocals and it’s just so incredible," said Julen.
The duo tells us they find inspiration everywhere, specifically online on Tik]Tok, where as quarantined artists have swarmed to share their work.
“There’s so many talented people on TikTok and social media, like just scrolling through your fyp (For You Page), there’s just so many talented people and it’s so inspiring, ...anything can spark an idea.” Julen said.
Julen also cites the likes of Billie Eilish and FINNEAS as big inspirations at the moment, from both a lyrical and technical standpoint.
“They’re the main one's at the moment. Really any song might, even if it's just one word, might click and inspire another one, and then another one for that."
Raymond's internet stardom afforded him the opportunity to live his lifelong dream of singing the national anthem at a Canucks game. He explained that it was very unexpected for him, both because the game kept getting pushed back due to COVID, and that he didn't even expect to win the competition.
Once he made top eight, it was in the hands of his fans on Instagram, who showed an uproar of support, some even creating accounts solely to vote for him.
"It was really nice knowing that my fans voted for me, and my family in the Phillipines...That just meant the whole world to me. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't have had that opportunity, so I really have to thank them, and my family and friends."
Recently Raymond met one of his musical inspirations, Demi Lovato, when his cover of ‘Sober” was featured in Glamour. He was later invited to a listening party where he was one of four fans to talk with the Demi.
He shared what it felt like to hear her words of encouragement when she reacted to his cover.
"I was just so honored. It gave me the courage to keep going with music and keep creating and working with amazing producers."
He was able to thank her during a listening party over zoom, where he and four other fans were able to ask her questions about her new album.
"I got to thank her for what she's done and ask her a question. That experience was unexpected, because I was one out of four fans and it was really intimate. We got to listen to her process with the album and basically how it all came about. As well as the whole concept and the collaborations, and basically everything she's gone through, and I thought that was really cool to experience that."
He goes on to share his own experience in song writing and how it has helped him express himself, even with the first song he wrote when he was 17. Now almost five years later, he's grown more comfortable with vulnerability in his music.
“It’s always been a saving grace to talk about my feelings, I remember even writing my first song and feeling just so empowered by it and liberated by it because my whole life, I’ve always kept to myself When I first wrote that one song, Runaway, it helped me express myself in a different way that I usually don’t. It’s important to talk about these things, people want to know who you are as a person.”
The two already have plans for a music video, working with Raymond’s longtime friend Sam Valskanger, a director who’s worked with Netflix.
As the for the future, Raymond says that he is ready for whatever “makes sense” for him as an artist.
“When you’re an artist you’ve got to try new things, you have to challenge yourself and I felt that with this record, I felt this was the best thing for me because if anything, I’m always willing to grow and wanting to learn every day because I’m always learning with my artistry and with my voice and a lot of other things. I’m really open to any opportunities that come my way.”
You can see Demi reacting to Raymond's cover of "Sober" here. Follow Raymond Salgado @TheRaymondSalgado and Julen Zaldua @JulenZaldua on Instagram for updates and snippets of their music. Be sure to stream Raymond's single "Almost There", which is available on Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Music.