Collin Raye knows all about the power of a song. His first chart-topper, 1991’s “Love, Me,” is one that always brings a smile to his face when doing it in concert. Though, now he admits the song sounds a little different – at least to his ears.
“It’s almost a different song with the way we do it now,” he admitted to Billboard. “We still use the same chord progression, but over time when you get so connected to a song that it feels like a part of your body, I sing and approach it differently from when we were recording it, and it was so fresh. I was thirty years old, and it was my first album. I was following directions from the producer on how he wanted me to do it, and I was still learning the song. After it becomes second nature, when it’s like breathing, I think hopefully, you can do them better. It’s like Trisha Yearwood’s ‘The Song Remembers When,’ and it takes you back.”
His first single, “All I Can Be (Is A Sweet Memory),” had peaked at No. 29, and he was hoping for more with single number two. Needless to say, he got it. “I’ll never forget that feeling when Jack Lameier at the label called one day and said, we moved eighteen spots this week.’ I knew we had a hit,” he said with a nostalgic smile.
Raye is set to return to the spotlight with two different projects. Musically, he is finishing up a tribute album to Glen Campbell.
“I have loved him since I was nine years old watching the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS,” he recalled. “As fate would have it, when I first started in the business, he was one of the first people I met, and we’ve been friends ever since. I decided I wanted to do a tribute to him while he could still appreciate it. I wanted him to be able to hear it, and feel the love in it.”
He’s pleased with how the record – set for release later in 2013 – came out.
“At this point in my life, I think I sing as well as I ever have. I don’t look the same, as everything else changes. Aging is God’s way of letting us know he has a sense of humor, but the voice is still the same, but that could change at any moment. While I still have it, I still want to make records, but only ones I think people will want. I had a great run, with 24 top-10 records, which isn’t bad. I can live with that. I’m 52 years old, so I’m not fooling myself by thinking I’m going to find that magic record and get back on the charts — that’s probably not going to happen. If this works, I may do more of these kind of things, because I am where I am because of people like Glen Campbell.”
He is also working on an autobiography, which will include stories about his career, but he will also speak at length about the story of his granddaughter Haley Bell, who passed away in 2010 from an undiagnosed neurological disorder.
“I hope that it will help people, and remind them that no matter what comes your way – and though it might seem like God is absent, he’s got his reasons. We came out of this horrible loss stronger than ever, She was the pinnacle of my life. People ask me why I drifted away from the mainstream, and there was a lot of reasons, but we were trying to save her life. It was the first time in my life I encountered something I was powerless over. I think it was God’s way of saying ‘Stand back.’ That’s what I hope will inspire others. I think we owe it to other folks to share what we’ve learned. Life isn’t supposed to be pretty. Nobody promises anyone a rose garden, but I’m hoping this will be a real helpful message for people. If you open yourself up to the will of God, he’ll lead you where he wants to lead you. That’s what I’m trying to do now.”