Paris Ray Yates: Long Island’s Newest Pop-Princess

Paris Ray and the Crush
@futuredaysphotography on Instagram.
Future Days Photography.
Paris Ray and the Crush. PhotoPhoto Future Days Photography.

From being on the cover of American Girl Magazine at age 13 to releasing a full-length studio album at 27, Paris Ray Yates is an example of immense perseverance. The artist has been itching to make her name known since her youth, as she chased her original desire to become an actress. In recent years, she’s committed to a rigorous schedule, showcasing her talents in a myriad of bars on the South Shore.

During her brief child acting career, Ray appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” an episode of the Nickelodeon series “iCarly,” and was even seen on a handful of soap operas.

“You know, at the time to be 13 on iCarly, I was like, that’s cool, like I made it,” Ray shared. “And then over time, I just didn’t love acting — I think I would use the word competitive. I kept feeling like I was fighting my friends for these opportunities.”

Ray then learned guitar and began writing songs at age 15. Her segue into music influenced her decision to study songwriting at SUNY Purchase. Since receiving her diploma, she’s relocated to the South Shore. Rather than working a nine-to-five job, the singer has dedicated her life to live performances and yearning to make her dreams a reality.

“This has been my full-time job for four years, which is insane,” Ray said. “I play Wednesday to Sunday with a double every Saturday, and once it’s the summer I’m doing more like nine shows a week where I don’t know how I’m physically doing it.”

The singer’s perseverance and confidence have assisted in crafting this consistent schedule of live appearances. Over the years, she’s taken advantage of social media to gain opportunities and has befriended individuals with the power to book gigs.

Typically, bar performers have a generic list of songs prepared to sing during their set, but Ray takes a different approach. Something particularly fascinating is that she rarely enters a performance with a set list, but rather takes note of her atmosphere and chooses songs based on the crowd’s vibe. Her top priority is that her audience is having an enjoyable experience.

In a sea of classic rock cover bands, Ray shines a unique light on the music community with her bubbly attitude and girly pop songs.

“This is the era of pop princess and I’m so excited,” Ray gushed. “We haven’t had a pop princess in a minute and now Chappell Roan and Sabrina Carpenter are my two favorite artists. I love it.”

Ray fits into this “pop princess” category, which shines through in her original songs and cover selections. The singer has recently acquired a band to expand her success potential, as she’s been a solo act for the past few years. Although her band is a trio of boys, she controls the project’s direction.

“My band is all boys and we’re working on our summer setlist right now. There’s a lot of trust in me as well because I’m like, we’re not playing the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We’re playing girly pop.”

This summer, “Paris Ray and The Crush” will be at a handful of notable events, from the Montauk Music Festival to Shoreline Trading Company’s Live Music Sunset Cruise. This infamous event invites guests to relax, listen to live music and enjoy the scenic views from the Great South Bay. Ray is a booze cruise veteran, as this is her third year appearing on the floating stage.

Although the cruise features different performers on each voyage, Ray sells out on every boat she’s booked for. The charismatic band can be found on Instagram @parisrayandthecrush, or perhaps you’ll run into them in action at a South Shore bar!

Paris Ray will be performing live on Shoreline Trading Co. May 23 & 25, 2024.