Singer and guitarist Cody Raymond, a 2009 graduate of South Albany High School, will appear on NBC’s “The Voice” this season, which started on Monday and will air on Monday and Tuesday nights.
The competition’s first three weeks feature blind auditions, where coaches — famous musicians — hear but don’t see contestants they try to pick for their teams.
Brett DeYoung, director of choirs for South Albany, recently found out the news directly from Raymond, with whom he’s stayed in touch with via Facebook.
“I’m super proud of him, but I don’t think I can take any of the credit. He just had so much talent. I just gave him the opportunities he needed to perform and hone his craft,” DeYoung said.
“He was one of those kids who oozed music. He originally wasn’t in choir, but we talked him into being part of the group. It was clear he enjoyed being part of something musical,” he added.
Through his involvement in choir, Raymond started connecting with other people and singing and playing guitar with them, DeYoung said.
Raymond currently is in Cody Ray & the New Favorites, a Seattle-area band.
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The group has a retro funk, soul and pop sound reminiscent of James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, Gary Clark Jr. and others, according to the band’s website, www.codyraymondmusic.com.
Raymond has returned to Albany to play at the Calapooia Brewing Co. in recent years and other venues in the area, DeYoung said.
“I know he plays gigs all over the place,” he said.
DeYoung added that it was fun to see a former student having success. “He always kind of talked about wanting to be a performer. It’s really fun to see his hard work finally paying off. … He’s got this nice bluesy style that he’s developed,” DeYoung said.
And Raymond, regardless of how he does on “The Voice,” is already inspiring teens at South Albany.
DeYoung showed students videos of Raymond performing that are on YouTube.
“There’s a bit of a buzz going on. … I even had one kid come up to me today and say, ‘This is what I want to do,’” DeYoung said.