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Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Ray Charles Robinson Sr. was a brilliant musician, singer, and composer. He was born on September 23, 1930 and passed on June 10, 2004. Ray started playing music at the age of three and he played the piano at the age of five at a local cafe. Tragically, when he and his brother were near a wash bin, his brother went in and started drowning. Ray tried his best to help his brother but he wasn’t strong enough. His brother unfortunately passed away at only the age of 4. By the age of six, Ray started to go blind due to glaucoma which is a chronic, progressive eye disease caused by a damaged optic nerve. By the age of seven, he lost his sight completely. Soon, his father also passed away when Ray was only 10 years old.

Ray was one of the first African American artists to unite the blues with gospel music which eventually led to rhythm and blues or most commonly known as R&B.  Throughout his childhood, Ray studied music and became serious about being a pianist at the age of fifteen. At this time, his mother passed away due to cancer. Ray has inspired many people by proving that nothing can stop you from doing the things you love. He broke barriers as a black man and a musician.

Although Ray was blind, he loved to play chess and he was arguably great at it. He was nominated thirty-seven times for the Grammy Awards and he won seventeen of them. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.

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