Award-winning jazz-pop musician Rai Thistlehwayte is making a huge comeback under his solo project Sun Rai this year. Originally from Sydney, Rai has lead numerous music groups and collaborations under the roles of pianist, guitarist, and vocalist, all while holding a well-known, reliable songwriter reputation. At the age of five, Rai was already familiar with piano and educated with bass and guitar from his parents who were successful musicians. Rai graduated with a Bachelor of Music in jazz piano in 1998 and has since built his career leading the Australian pop rock band Thirsty Merc, who went platinum with their debut album. As impressive as his track record might read, however, it was his incomparable sound that first caught my attention.
As of the past few years, Rai has been performing solo and recently released his debut EP Pocket Music. At 34 years old, his soothing voice couldnâ€™t be given an age as it naturally complements all four jazz-inspired tracks alongside light snares and paced bass. Rai currently resides in Los Angeles, California, certainly an influence to his track â€œSan Francisco Streetâ€ which beautifully kicks off his debut album with soulful pop rhythm.
Rai is currently on tour with Norwegian singer Bernhoft; finishing up on the east coast at the moment and then moving back home out west, while performing at almost every jazz bar in between. Take a look at his upcoming shows and please do yourself a favor and attend one if youâ€™re able to. I stumbled on his live performance for his song â€œTil The Lights Come Onâ€ from back in January and am completely in awe with his talent. Take a listen to his EP and the live video streamed here, and make sure to keep up with Rai after his tour for future updates.