Billy Ray Deiz
Award-winning, singer-songwriter Billy Ray Deiz is no stranger to success. As a BMI songwriter, Deiz has written and published dozens of songs. In 2006, his song "Rather Have Sooner" was chosen as a finalist in the Chris Austin songwriter’s competition. Deiz performed it live at Merlefest, a popular music festival in North Carolina, where it was awarded #3 in the Nation in its category. In 2008, his Nashville-produced song "Carolina Blue" was chosen as a finalist in the UK Songwriting competition where it received one of the highest scores from the judges in the country/folk category.
In 2013, Blue Pie Records released Anthology of Blues, Vol. 2 which is now for sale worldwide on most major digital outlets. The label chose “Daddy’s Comin’ Home” by Deiz as the lead single on this compilation album. The Nashville-recorded tune features George Marinelli of the Bonnie Raitt Band on lead guitar with a vocal by Deiz and backing vocals by Britt Savage.
Deiz prolific music career started in the summer of 1965 when the Soul band, The Harlequins (Their guitar player, Bob Welch, would later find fame with Fleetwood Mac). Shortly after their arrival in LA, Bob arranged for an audition with songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (among their hits were Silver Bells, Que Sera Sera, and Tammy’s in Love) while the band performed at a Los Angeles nightclub. This led to the band recording demos of several new Livingston and Evans songs at Hollywood’s legendary Goldstar Studio. At this session, Deiz met music publisher Larry Shayne who also shared an office with Henry Mancini in the Sunset and Vine Tower. Shayne immediately signed on as the band’s manager and came up with a new name for the group: The Seven Souls.
Shayne guided the band to a record contract with Loma Records, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers, and he signed Gerry Perrenchio as the band’s agent. Perrenchio also represented The Righteous Brothers. When Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers got married later that year his wedding reception was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The Seven Souls were chosen to play at this gala event, which included a who’s who of the music industry as guests, including Dick Clark of American Bandstand fame. A song that Deiz co-wrote with sax player Henry Moore, “I Still Love You” has become a Northern Soul classic, a favorite in the UK. It was re-released recently by Sony on a compilation album.
Also in the 1970s, Deiz sang a duet with Neil Sedaka as part of a TV feature Deiz produced on the music industry for KCBS TV News. Deiz also appears with Bob Dylan singing background on the Leonard Cohen album, Death of a Ladies Man, produced by the legendary Phil Spector.
Currently, Deiz is writing and recording a musical, the story of Jesus as told by two teens, a brother and a sister, who become disciples during Jesus time on earth. The rock musical features several new songs recorded in Nashville which showcase some of the country’s best musicians.
Troubled by the hate filled rhetoric in today’s political scene and speaking truth to power, Deiz recorded Freedom’s Song, "Look Out My Window", to warn of the dangers of this country’s drift towards dictatorship. Its message is clear, fueled by the soul-stirring arrangement featuring Hammond B-3 and Fender guitars and a horn part that makes you move. Our Freedom’s Call EP features some of Deiz' best tunes and showcases "Freedom’s Song."