Born and raised in Illinois, Ray Buchanan became a talented musician known now as Play Ray. Play Ray
grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Al Green, Shirley Ceasar, Edwin Hawkins, Michael Jackson,
Prince and Nat King Cole. Growing up in the church, and singing in the choir, he soon became interested in
playing the drums and piano. It was just a matter of time before he’d become the main church musician and in
demand in his area.
In 1983, Play Ray became a member of “Uptown”, a Rockford, Illinois-based band that played top 40 hits
across the Midwest. A short time later he received a call from a friend in Minneapolis, Minn. To play keyboard
in a band for Prince's former bass player, Andre Cymone's female group called "The Girls".
Play Ray later joined Epic/CBS-signed group, Exotic Storm, which was first managed by James Bryant.
Exotic Storm was known for there hit songs "Get with it" and "I'll Save You from the World". Exotic Storm
toured there freshmen project with greats such as Shalamar, Kool and the Gang, The Time, West Side,
Sounds of Blackness, Mazarati, Low Key, and Gary Hines.
It was during this time that Play Ray began producing various groups, artists, singers and bands. He did
projects with Jamaica-based reggae artist Norris Roberts, Sandra Behn from Fontana California and Desiree
Hubbard from St. Louis Park, Minn. While located in Minnesota, Play Ray had the opportunity to play and
work with all the greats in the area which further advanced his future in music.
Play Ray then returned to Illinois, continued to produce and started in Hip Hop and Rap music. Production
soon started on a rap project from the Chicago-based group B.O.A and the Rockford-based group Les
Fortunate. He also collaborated on a CD Project with producer Black Gold. One song produced by Play Ray
made the charts, "Smoke with Me" which talked about how gang members should sit down and work out there
In 1994, Play Ray Productions was founded at which time several groups were signed to the company. He
later went back to his roots of Gospel music, and went back on road where he opened for Diana Reeves,
while touring with Ann Nesby, his local gospel artist and his RAMMI winning male choir for the church for
which he was minister of music. He also opened with Jackson Southernaires, Willie Neal and The Gospel Key
Notes, Canton Spirituals, Lee Williams, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Shirley Caesar, John P. Kee and many more.
As Play Ray Productions continues to grow, I give thanks to the one that gave me my gifts and talents. I also
thank many friends, musicians, and family for helping in their own way. A special thanks is given to Jaynel
Collins, Andre Richardson, Sam Goodloe, Joyce Silletti, Rev Charles & Rosie Jarrett, Leo Dowthard Jr,
Anthony Riley,Rev Louis Malone, Rev Rob & Jesse Ellis for helping in my start