Singer, songwriter Ray Goren performs at BV West

Once a guitar prodigy, Goren now seeks career as a solo artist


Jolie Barnhart

The many faces of performer Ray Goren at BV West High School, Oct. 8.

Jolie Barnhart, Illumination-Arts Section Editor

     Walking into the BV West Performing Arts Center, a single figure stands center stage. He is surrounded by two microphones, a loop machine and his guitar. As students fill the center section, 18-year-old Goren looks out to the group and grins. 

“Thanks for coming. Who wants to hear some music?” Goren said.

     The crowd barely responds. Pushing past the awkwardness, Goren begins to play his guitar, adds the riff to his loop, sets a drum beat and begins to sing. The crowd perks up, continues to grow and shares amazed faces.

“This guy is actually really good,” senior Cora Sorenson said.

     Goren’s musical talent was recognized early in his childhood. By the time he was nine-years-old he was playing guitar at blues festivals around the United States. A quick YouTube search reveals countless videos.

     Goren’s family moved to Los Angeles, Calif. where he began gaining experiences to fuel his desire to write music. Continuing to receive attention as a guitarist, he started creating a library. Within a short time, he released videos and started performing gigs in Los Angeles and San Diego. Singing about what he knew about-summertime, real love, LA traffic and graduation, he started building a name and signed with Moxie (the same group who represent Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran). 

     In the video above, Goren sings about his graduation from high school in the spring of 2018. While his friends were going off to college, he chose to launch his career by touring wherever he could book dates. He and his father drove 26 hours from California to Kansas to do two dates at Kansas City high schools, starting with BV West. After that, he’s off to Ohio, Texas and Florida before heading back home to visit his mother and three siblings before heading out again.

     The bell to end the first session of JAG prompted several students to head to math, finish their social studies notes or listen to the guest speaker for English class to get extra credit. Those who stayed got a passionate finale and one-on-one time with Goren.

     “I want the autograph and selfie because he’s going to be famous,” was the phrase heard by those in line over and over. Goren took the time to meet each person, sharing an observation or laugh. The multi-talented performer displayed humility and joy. 

     The photo gallery below shows the many faces of Goren in a 40-minute performance. All photos were taken by senior Jolie Barnhart.