Testimonies of Life
Testimonies of Life: The Stylie Ray Story The word testimony, meaning to bear witness, has significance in a variety of contexts. A context of note is during any sort of court trial. Witnesses are called to offer testimony concerning the actions they saw during a particular event. Additionally, articles accumulated during the trial can offer circumstantial testimony to the truth of the event. Further, the legacies left behind in forms of inheritance, articles of clothing, pictures, or projects often bear witness to the accomplishments and challenges faced in our lives. The Testimonies of Life album bears witness to the experiences, challenges, and accomplishments of the life of Stylie Ray. This compilation addresses a variety of topics, including the American Justice System, gender relations, religion, and drugs; offering social commentary on the state of these various aspects of social experience. They are, for the most part, directly related to the personal experiences of Stylie Ray, hence the aforementioned title. As such, understanding the album's focus may require some understanding of the life of the artist. Born in Gardena, California on February 12, 1974, Stylie Ray always had the desire to do something unique. Being raised by his single grandmother, Roberta Harris, in Compton, a city where gangs were already a thriving part of the community. Stylie did the best he could to adapt to every situation thrown in his face. A lot of peer pressure, negativity, hanging out with the wrong crowd and so-called friends made him change his views tremendously growing up. After being expelled from various LA Unified schools for fighting with authorities, jailed, and often 'being at the wrong place at the wrong time' helped him to see which road he should take in order to fulfill his desires. Music has always been a desire of his heart. Stylie would listen to tapes, vinyl, 45's and sometimes pretend he was an established artist by lip syncing in the mirror. As his interest in music grew, Stylie always wanted to 'do something different' than what other artists were doing. He never wanted to be a follower, instead, he preferred to be a trend setter. He began performing concerts at various hip-hop events including rap contests, freestyle night at 'The Good Life', and Project Blowed. He later performed in a variety of gospel shows with artists such as La Jon Pennix, Freedom for Soul, Soldiers for Christ, Mc Ed, and a host of choirs. He also performed with Reverend Eddie Norwood in the annual Blessfest gospel concert. He continued his rapping career performing in a variety of clubs including the Shark Club, Glam Slam, and several others in Northern California. Stylie Ray has opened up for big name artists such as Biggie Smalls, Mystikal, Mack 10, and Craig Mack. He has also performed with Skee Lo, Superb, I Smooth 7, Vel Baccardi, Tommy T. & Company, Christ Community M.B.C. Mass Choir, R.E.G., Idol Kings, Freedom of soul, and Omar Gooding. In 1995 he decided to strike out on his own, and began work on his debut album project. With no budget or backing, Stylie hustled to buy studio time, reels, and hire the singers and musicians to work on the project. Though he struggled through the challenges of being forced to move from the only home he had ever known and a variety of other family troubles, Stylie was determined to 'Make it'. But his greatest challenge was yet to come. On October 9, 1996, Roberta Harris was murdered at age 69. Killed in the Compton courthouse parking lot, by her estranged husband after divorce proceedings closed in her favor. Having lost the only mother he had ever known, Stylie's attitude towards his life and his music changed forever. He devoted himself solely to finishing and releasing his debut album. 'Testimonies of Life' is set to release later this year and is dedicated in her loving memory.