Photo by Beppe Calgaro
“Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people's."
 
― Anaïs Nin ―
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1976 to 1994

Born from a generation that built truths destined to be dismantled, Ray grows up on a golf course in northern Italy. The lack of restrictions allows for somewhat of an exuberant soul to emerge. At age twelve he is shipped off to a British boarding school in hopes that he could be tamed and eventually recalibrated with focused discipline.

 

The isolated countryside environment and an inspiring literature teacher do quite the opposite, providing instead what turns out to be the perfect launchpad for an endless quest towards freedom, self-expression, and discovery. Teenager Ray starts mining inwards; he finds chunky nuggets of music, an eye for photography, and a deep-rooted desire to change things he doesn’t like.

1994 to 1998

A three-way relationship with two arts and economics turns out to be unusually beneficial. Confused at heart, Ray is forced to strengthen up while constantly seeking a balance between opposites. He takes International Business Management in Southampton; he works as an assistant photographer in a local studio; and he tries the spotlight leading a bad-sounding weed-driven jam-band called Flying Teapot - an experience that fortunately comes to an end when a club patron loses it; and out of sheer frustration, interrupts an interminable solo by attacking the lead guitarist.

All things come to an end, so Ray returns to Italy and picks Philosophy and Music at the University of Bologna. There are still too many hours in a day: on top of delivering parcels and performing self-indulging songs he ads a little management consultancy as an extra revenue stream. The intriguing pull of utilising time to make business happen is a powerful one, and the rewards are too tangible to neglect.

Ray picks Nietzsche’s theory that a man must craft his own identity through self-realisation over Schopenhauer’s wondrous pessimism, and decides to make a swift move; but not before delivering a rather useless monologue on the birth of the African Tambourine.

He packs his bags; throws them into the backseat of a convertible Alfa Romeo; and waves university life goodbye. He’s heading north.

1998 to 2007

The move to Milan marks the beginning of a rather interesting career in event management, music, and technology. Ray works with several international stage heroes; including Muse, David Gray, Damien Rice, Craig David, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Years pass, the Twin Towers collapse, the world begins to change faster than ever before. One day, out of nowhere, peer-to-peer technology attacks like a ferocious pirate. The record industry is but a frail barge operated by unprepared captains: they still look at everything remotely digital and call it “new media”, missing the point altogether. No response strategy goes beyond running a basic website.

It’s 2005, the spotlights are dimming down. Ray decides to abandon ship and lands a job as the CEO of an underperforming ticketing software agency in Rome. He is asked to fire his staff, but he alters the business model instead, delivering results that exceed expectations.

The job pays well, it all seems delightfully under control; but Ray falls asleep at the wheel, literally.

2007

Five o clock in the morning, Ray slams into the guardrail of an empty highway and out of the darkness of spiritual elusion. The dark grey BMW is a write-off. He steps out of the wreck without a scratch.

The sudden brush with death is a wake-up call. He resigns a week later to take things as they come, or even better: to see what things come. He decides to do it, contemplating the warmth of his Martin guitar.

But life has this peculiar thing of sparking unexpected bangs.

Ray goes into the studio with long time friend and founding member of Simply Red Tony Bowers. They press the record button, and the result is Recusant, an album of eleven original songs. Six months later - on the Monday following Ray’s first live performance with his new band - he tops the UK MySpace Artist Charts; alongside Amy Winehouse and Gomez.

A week goes by, Sony Music calls and offers a juicy publishing check.

2007 to 2014 | Music

Ray spends two years touring Europe and five touring Obama’s American Dream. It's part music and part anthropology field research.

He composes a handful of chart-topping singles in his songwriting years, releases three albums, and performs more than two thousand shows. He does it all while exploring the quintessence of the archetypical American trinity: the music circuit, with its vast array of talent and drama; the underground of poker, with its unspoken terms and conditions; and the lifestyle of a freewheeling troubadour, with its unexpected responsibility.

Commended for his music by both the press and his peers, he joins the Grammys as a voting member in 2012; but years spent performing on a different stage every night are beginning to draw the blueprint for enforced insanity. On a freezing winter night, while loading his van after a packed show in the heart of the Midwest, Ray decides to quit.

The desire to walk down a new, unpaved road is like a dog nipping at Ray’s ankles; and there's a gentle breeze blowing through the gates of chance. He shakes the dog off, heads to Los Angeles, sells his guitars on the spot; and buys a Nikon camera from the store next door.

2014 to 2018 | Photography

As a full-time commercial photographer, Ray spends the first year working between Nashville and L.A., shooting dozens of music artists and album covers. He is offered top studio partnerships, but America is heading into a dystopian chapter, and the vicinity of a political nightmare is palpable.

The return to Europe, where he joins the British National Photographic Society, comes with better opportunities than he had ever hoped for. His portrait and editorial work appear on several mainstream publications including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The San Francisco Chronicle, American Songwriter, Vanity Fair, Billboard, the BBC, Maxim, and Sette. His street photography gets featured on Style Magazine (Corriere Della Sera) and Posh Europe. He gets commercial spreads on Vogue UK, Vogue Germany, Vogue Italy, Vogue Korea, Vogue Russia, GQ UK, Vanity Fair, and Tatler.

Photography is working out well, but stills are still, and they only tell part of the story. There has to be a way to tell more, to do more, to get more involved.

Again, it’s time to think.

2015 to 2018 | Cyrano DiVision

The fabulous “content is king” market is as fertile as ever.

Despite - and because of - shrinking budgets, Ray believes that creating a "secret" alliance with agencies struggling to keep up with the readjusted volume/budget ratio could be a winning strategy. He uses his photography network and London’s vibrant environment to start Cyrano DiVision: an extra lean concept designed around an impressive roster of highly skilled, hire-on-demand professionals. Low-overheads and high-profile are a perfect mix; Cyrano DiVision enters the industry delivering digital content and marketing strategies with a remarkable focus on scope, time, and budget.

From 2018 | ForeQuest

The vantage point on the digital marketing arena, together with an innate drive to build something extraordinary out of nothing, inspires Ray to look deeper into mobile advertising. It’s an impressive market destined to grow exponentially over the next handful of years.

Ray has always been obsessed with human behaviour, marketing, media, and ultimately innovation; all of this comes together with ForeQuest: an audacious start-up aimed at disrupting the advertising landscape with the perfect blend of neuromarketing and technology.