FULL NAME: Elysiana Gray STAGE NAME: Ely Gray DATE & PLACE OF BIRTH: 3/1/84 in west covina, california CURRENT RESIDENCE: los angeles, ca OCCUPATION musician/actress STATUS: single POLITICS: democrat RELIGION: non practicing christian EDUCATION: BA in Music Industry (USC '05) PARENTS: Louis Gray (father, pastor) Kanya Gray (mother, RN)
It was 1980 in Samut Prakan when a caucasian looking surfer with a deep love for his faith met an 18 year old girl who, in her world, felt as if she was lost in her country. Kanya would later define this as, she was clueless on what she really wanted to do in life. Louis Gray was smitten from the start, with a language barrier between them; he had a handy Thai dictionary he communicated with her the best he could, and she thought it was endearing, but also, a ticket out of her home country. Nearly a year and a half and two trips to Thailand later, the couple married, and Louis brought Kanya home to his Southern California apartment.
Kanya Gray settled in the foreign city only twenty five minutes away from Downtown LA, still struggling with the English language, she took night classes at a local high school, not only to enhance her vocabulary, but to receive an education. With her husband an associate pastor at a well known Church, she was left to become a housewife; but Louis encouraged her to educate herself. With the aspiration to become a nurse, Kanya worked toward her goal, the thought of children being put off until a surprise pregnancy when her eldest child was born in the spring of 1984. Kanya fell in love with the misheard name "Elise Anna" and came up with Elysiana (pronounced: Eli-see-ahna) just hours after her daughter was born. She continued attending night classes with the help of her husband and several members of the congregation assisting with childcare. Three more children followed in 1988, 1990, and 1992.
The Gray children grew up in the strict Christian upbringing, and Ely's earliest memories were that of watching her father preach on Sundays. With babysitters, Louis worked toward becoming the Church's pastor and Kanya went to school full time, finally achieving her goal in 1995. Ely minded her parents in fear of facing her mother's wrath and disappointing her father, she did well in public school, and was considered a loner to many of her peers. At the age of 14, her parents transferred her and her siblings to a Christian private school that catered to all grades. Being biracial, she still struggled, but made a few close friends in choir, a safe haven, she flourished from singing in the shower to singing in front of audiences to her own congregation.
By 16 she knew what she wanted to do, sing. While she mostly listened to gospel music, she had no concrete knowledge of secular music, except the ones played in public places. She picked up guitar, and as a christmas present from her parents and a few favors of a wealthy member of the congregation, she recorded a christian album that was released in 2001. The album was tanked, only selling a few hundred copies, and a small tour which hit Christian campuses around the country, she didn't let the outcome discourage her. She went home and graduated from high school.
Receiving a full scholarship to USC for music, she moved to campus, which resulted to a major culture shock, but her short time there was where she found herself. Elysiana stood out to one of her professors with her knack for writing, who put her in the running for a summer internship for a well known songwriter/producer. Commuting to and from every day from her childhood home in West Covina, her parents were hesitant at first for a multitude of reasons, but supported their daughter. A few weeks before the internship ended, the producer put Ely into the recording booth to bring her songs to life. Expecting it to go nowhere, she was offered a part time position at the record label where she interned, and returned back for her Sophomore year at USC.
October 2003 was where Ely's life did change, the demos she had recorded were passed to Island Def Jam Music Group where they offered a recording contract. With the heavy pressure of her parents to remain in school, Elysiana thought she could juggle both. She did, however Island Def Jam decided to cancel the album; she was ultimately dropped. In 2005, Ely graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Music Industry. Two labels and the original producer she worked for later, Capitol Records officially signed her in 2007.
The constant shuffle between labels and the transition to Capitol was a blessing in disguise, she had a degree and Capitol was receptive of her ideas, and her notebooks full of songs. By that time she moved to LA, with her parents still unsure of their eldest child's future, they would not be happy when she was introduced to Dr. Luke, and the penning of "I Kissed a Girl". Nevermind that she had minor success in her downtime with other secular songs, their daughter singing about kissing a girl was something they did not approve of. However, Ely reassured them that she was still a believer of the faith and left it at that. Over the year she recorded her debut album and knew this had to be her big break.
I Kissed a Girl became the song of the Summer in 2008, and her career was in the fast lane to success. She toured, fell in love, fell out of love, turned her experiences in songs, and continued to do what she loved: making music. Her sophomore album was released two years later, more touring, more recording, making friends, making enemies, falling in love, falling out of love; her life was revolving in the same pattern. For every low, she had several highs to bring her back to life.
Over the past seven years, her life hadn't slowed down in the slightest, with the reissue of her second album, and a third released a year later, she had a movie chronicling her tour and personal life in 2012, but she would forever be grateful for the person who gave her the chance. With the fame, she's pissed plenty of people off, her fame gave her a voice and while she's not cruel, she can be quite blunt and sometimes has little tact. She brushes the "haters" off, as she's starting 2015 off as the Super Bowl Halftime Performer and with another leg of the Prism World tour, she has little time to listen to the negativity.
2013. PRISM Roar. Legengdary Lovers. Birthday. Walking on Air. Unconditionally. Dark Horse. This is How We Do. International Smile. Ghost. Love Me. This Moment. Double Rainbow.
2012. Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection Teenage Dream. Last Friday Night (TGIF) California Gurls. Firework. Peacock. Circle the Drain. The One That Got Away. ET. Who Am I Living For? Pearl. Hummingbird Heartbeat. Not Like The Movies.The One That Got Away (Acoustic) Part of Me. Wide Awake. Dressin' Up. ET. Last Friday Night (TGIF) Tommie Sunshine Megasix Smash-Up.
2010. Teenage Dream Teenage Dream. Last Friday Night (TGIF) California Gurls. Firework. Peacock. Circle the Drain. The One That Got Away. ET. Who Am I Living For? Pearl. Hummingbird Heartbeat
2009. MTV Unplugged I Kissed a Girl. Ur So Gay. Hackensack. Thinking of You. Lost. Waking Up in Vegas. Brick by Brick.
2009. The Hello Ely Australian Tour EP Electric Feel. Black and Gold. I Think I'm Ready. Thinking of You. Waking Up in Vegas. I Kissed a Girl. Hot n Cold. Ur So Gay.
2008. One of the Boys One of the Boys. I Kissed a Girl. Waking Up in Vegas. Thinking of You. Mannequin. Ur So Gay. Hot n Cold. If You Can Afford Me. Lost. Self Inflicted. I'm Still Breathing. Fingerprints
2001. Elysiana Gray Trust in Me. Piercing. Search Me. Last Call. Growing Pains. My Own Monster. Spit. Faith Won't Fail. Naturally. When There's Nothing Left.
2012. Elysiana Gray: Part of Me ... Herself/Elise Kitty Gary
2013. Killer Queen 2011. Meow 2010. Purr
ooc PB: Chrissy Teigen
SOUNDS LIKE: Katy Perry
WRITING: Third Person, storybook format in past tense
Credit: ~KINNI @ IJ.COM