Ray Woolf has been in the music business for between 46 and 50 years, depending on when you begin counting. He speaks of his early days in England where he lived until he was 17. Early inspirations for him included sciffle music, Frank Sinatra and Elvis. For those of you that don’t know (and I must admit that I didn’t) sciffle music was the first mainstream music said to come from England and was a mixture of country and blues.

Listen to the complete interview here:

Ray Woolf sang pop rock music in the 60s and 70s. Ray was awarded the Entertainer of the Year Award in 1975, best T.V. light entertainer awards in 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1980 and the variety artists’ BENNY Award in October, 2008. Ray also received recognition of his services to entertainment by way of a Queen’s service medal in the New Year of 2008.

The music we spotlight during our Voices from the North interview represents a return for Ray to the Frank Sinatra-type American standards that he grew up with. Frankly, I think he sounds a lot like Sammy Davis Junior. Most of the songs are backed up by the very talented Rodger Fox Big Band, a group of young performers, mostly from Auckland.

Speaking of Sammy Davis Junior, Ray and John talk about Sammy and his extremely inspiring book Yes I Can. Sammy Davis paved the way for young black entertainers that followed and even Barrack Obama’s success today.

Ray speaks of his experience with Type One diabetes, which he has had to deal with for 20 years. A lot of his charity work is related to diabetes, as well as Star Jam for handicapped folks. Ray and his wife grow a lot of their own food, organically. He strongly advises anyone getting going on their own garden. I find it refreshing to hear this well known character speaking so passionately about growing their own food. The diabetes has forced Ray to make a lot of changes. He’s not a vegetarian but he sometimes goes a long time without meat. He stopped smoking and dramatically reduced his drinking. He’s 64 today, looking great and still going strong.

The songs featured include Where or When, Goody Goody, The Day My Heart Caught Fire (first time ever played on the radio), Birth of the Blues and Feel So Young.

Ray’s advice for a young person wanting to break into the business—really want it. Don’t let anything stop you. He has learned to never say no to opportunities. You don’t know what can come out of experiences. The things that come along unexpectedly can represent defining moments in your life. Ray is a passionate man and really likes the breadth of music that is available today.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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