Against a historical backdrop with social commentary sprinkled in, Ray's contemporary storytelling style blends tales for his inner city beginnings, military career, and rural mountain retirement. As a speaker, his goal is cultural enlightenment and social justice by using oral expression to present the human experience in a compelling, inspirational, and memorable way.
Ray has appeared on The Moth and RISK stages and podcasts. He can also be
be heard on Snap Judgement and NPR. A prolific story slam winner, he took the 2016 title at the National Storytelling Festival, and hosts of his own podcast, What’s Ray Saying?
Ray loves adventure so travel of any distance will be considered.
I founded the National Storytelling Festival, the first festival anywhere in the world. So, I've seen a thing or two about stories, storytelling, and storytellers. Ray and his stories are authentic and down-to-earth but always inspirational. He's a fresh, new face on the storytelling scene, and he's on his way to being a well-known, respected storyteller. When you listen to Ray, you will agree.
I've hired Ray Christian for several shows in Asheville, NC. and Jonesborough, TN. His style of storytelling is very appealing to the adult audience, they want to know more and more. His stories are raw and authentic. His humor is crisp and sharp, his tone deep and heartfelt.
Ray is a favorite at every show he's performed at and continues to be in demand.
Your audience will LOVE him!
Price Range: $100 and up
Gig Length: 5 - 60 minutes
What to Expect
Contemporary storytelling is NOT tall tales or folklore. He remains loyal to the tenets of this genre. Stories must be true and told without notes.
You can expect Ray to share biopic stories from his own life that illuminate the theme/feel of your event.
Ray can craft his stories so that they fit a variety of types of events- purely entertainment, commemorative, motivational, educational, or corporate training.
Content can also be altered for a variety of ages/environments. His audiences have ranged from churches and scout troops to civic groups and night clubs.
He can present a series of shorter stories (5-10 minutes) or a longer (20 minute) story.
He has performed with other artists interwoven between his stories or a solo act.
Ray’s storytelling began with his family role of mail-reader for his illiterate parents. He escaped the urban slums of Richmond, VA by running away at age 17 to join the circus in 1978. Not actually in the circus but the United States Army, Ray served in a number of capacities and assignments at home and abroad, primarily as an Infantryman and Paratrooper. He retired after 20 years of service and the combat-decorated veteran earned a BS in History, MA in Public History, and EdS in Education Leadership. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Education with dissertation research that explores the relationship between parental behavior and academic success among African American students. Ray teaches two courses as a part time professor at Appalachian State University- “The Souls of Black Folks” which examines African American social culture, and “Storytelling Life in the Narrative” that explores the historic and contemporary use of storytelling and oral history in America.
He uses these experiences as his foundation for his work. He not only entertains in on contemporary storytelling main stages, but he also works as an event host/emcee, motivational speaker and keynote speaker. His audiences have ranged from churches and scout troops to civic groups and night clubs.
Ray has shared his stories on the Moth Main Stage in the US and Canada. His stories have appeared in Readers Digest (One of the Best Stories in America Edition) and have been featured on the Moth Radio Hour and Snap Judgment. In addition, as a competitive storyteller Ray is a 8 time Moth story Slam Champion, and the winner of the 2016 National Storytelling Festival Story Slam. Ray currently hosts his own podcast “What’s Ray Saying”. He hopes to continue crafting stories that can serve the cause of cultural enlightenment and social justice by using oral expression to present the human experience in a compelling and memorable way. This father of six currently hides away in the rural mountains of NC with his family and farm animals, which is the perfect solitude for reflection and crafting stories.
Additional Booking Notes
The only requirement is a working microphone, unless the venue is intimate enough that amplification is not needed when one is speaking a normal, conversational volume.