Ray Greene always knew that he was destined to share his musical gifts with audiences around the world. Now he’s finally getting his chance to do just that as the new lead singer of legendary funk/soul band, Tower of Power. Prior to joining the group, Greene built a loyal following in the local Boston area performing at corporate gigs, clubs and releasing several solo albums.
“I was happy with what I was doing but not completely satisfied with my life,” he revealed. “I’ve always had this vision of reaching audiences throughout the world.”
This past New Year’s Eve, Greene officially replaced former lead singer, Larry Braggs who toured with the band for 13 years. However Greene isn’t likely to be compared to Braggs as much as to Lenny Williams, arguably the most memorable and commercially successful lead singer of Tower of Power. It is Williams’ voice that helped make songs such as “You’re Still a Young Man,” “What is Hip?” and “So Very Hard to Go,” instant classics. Listeners can reminisce on those days with the recent release of a live archival album from 1974 with Williams. But for those looking to the present and future Greene is ready to give such songs a fresh vocal makeover.
“Some people said they can hear some of Lenny’s influences on me. How can there not be an influence when he was such a powerful force in their music? So I want to hark back to that but bring a fresher face to it as well. I cannot do all Lenny’s riffs the whole night. I have to bring my own flavor.”
Greene also hopes to bring his touch to Tower of Power’s forthcoming new album, which is being recorded as they tour around the world. But in the meantime he is focused on bonding with his band members including tenor saxophonist/vocalist and founding member, Emilio Castillo.
“Emilio and I share a love of Christ and his influence on our lives. As we are on the road together we will get a chance to experience each other and talk about our families, music and Christ,” he said. “But how will things get when we are on the tour bus grumpy after a period of time will be interesting.”
The weekly column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.