Ray Charles Robinson was an American singer, songwriter and musician, he was also known by the nickname ‘Brother Ray’. He was talented musician, and he has got a big career behind him.

Unfortunately, Ray has started losing his vision, when he was only 5 years old, but this didn’t stop him to become one of the greatest musician of all time. Ray was in love with blues and jazz, and these two genres were his main path in music.

He made huge success in music industry, his music is still played and his songs will never be forgotten.

The biggest crossroad in his career, was his first album which was covered by ABC records. We also need to mention that Ray Charles was the first black musician with this big success in country, jazz and pop music.

Ray was surrounded with biggest artist in that time, one of his best friends was Frank Sinatra. You can find a lot of interviews where Frank says that Ray was the only genius in show business.

Ray was awarded many times, his biggest award was Grammy for the greatest artist in the world, but this was not the first time that Ray was named for the biggest artist in the World. In 2002, Rolling Stone Magazine also named Ray as biggest artist in the World off all time.

There is no doubt that Ray made a big impact on our music.

In this text, we will inform you about Ray’s life, childhood and career. 

Early life

Ray had very hard childhood, he was the son of Bailey Robinson, who was a laborer. His mother was Aretha William, she was teenage orphan. Ray father was married, he had a wife Mary Jane Robinson, unfortunately they did not have children, and they have decided to adopt Aretha.

Aretha lived with Robison family three years, but she got pregnant when she was only 17 years old, with Bailey Robison. This was the big scandal and it cause a lot of controversy, that is why Aretha leaved Robison family and she moved to Albany, Georgia.

In Albany she stayed with the member of her family, she didn’t want to go back in Greenville and she has decided to stay here until the baby was born. After the birth of Ray, Aretha received a letter from Mary Jones Robinson, who was begging her to come back in Greenville and to live with her. Aretha was aware that her work will not be enough for her baby, she wanted to provide him a better life, and she accepted this offer.

After six months of Ray’s birth, he and his mother moved to Greenville, where they stayed with Mary Jane Robinson. His father, left his family and he got married with another women.

When he was kid, nobody would believe that Ray will be famous musician, because in this age he showed a lot of interests in cars and machines. His music talent started when he was five years old. His first music steps were made in Red Wing Café. This café was his home for one year, because his mother did not have money to afford something better.

Ray also had younger brother, unfortunately he drowned in machine tub, when he was four years old. This was the big tragedy for his mother, and after this she became different women.

Ray started going blind when he was four years old, and with only seven years Ray was completely blind. Aretha was completely devastated, she was not even recovered from her son lost, and Ray’s problems started. She wanted to help her son, she wanted him to be educated and to become successful, but with losing sight that would be very hard.

Ray went to at School for Death and Blinds in St. Augustin, in this school he developed his talent for music. He also learnt to play piano and he started taking violin lessons. He played classical music, but he showed more interests for jazz and country music. His music teacher was very surprised with his talent, and she would say that Ray was the most talented student in this school.

When Ray was 14 years old, his mother died. This was big shock in his life, and this tragedy made a huge consequences in his life.


Ray was expelled from school, luckily friends of his mother decided to adopted him and he started living with them. His music career started early, he started playing piano in local bar. This job gave him a lot of advantages, he would earn extra money and people loved his music, he had a reputation of young and talented singer.

Ray was aware that his talent deserve more attention and more money, he wanted to play music for bigger audience and that is why he moved to Orlando.

First year in Orlando were very hard for him, he did not have money and he was homeless. He wanted to be a part of band, but this city didn’t give him a chance for batter future.

He moved to Tampa, where he was a part of big pop band. Ray’s success started in Tampa, where he had a chance to record his first song, which were big hit in America.

His first love was piano, and he wanted to have his own band, that is why he moved to Washington with his friend Gossie McKee. Together they have formed band named McSon Trio. This band made big success from the beginning, their first song ‘Confession Blues’ became a nation hit. Many musician still play this song.

In 1950, Ray started his solo career, and he recorded two songs ‘Baby, let me hold your hands’ and ‘Kissa me baby’.

After these two songs, Ray started working with Atlantic record, with them Ray recorded a lot of songs.

‘Mess Around’, ‘Don’t you know’, ‘I’ve got a woman’ , ‘This little girl of mine’, ‘A fool of you’, ‘What’d I say’ and ‘Drown in my own tears’ were the biggest hits while he was working for this record house.

All these song were listed as a pop music, but Ray was in love with jazz and he wanted to record songs and albums in the genre.

He started working with Milt Jackson, together they recorded songs ‘Soul Brothers’ and ‘Soul Meeting’.

In 1959, Ray hired female singing pop group, this was unusual because female artists did not have a lot of success in music, but Ray followed his intuition. He married Margie Hendrickson, and together they had one child, Charles Wayne.

In 1960, Ray signed with ABC Paramount Records, this was the biggest music house in America, and becoming a member of this family, did not only gave him a lot of money and fame, becoming a member was a sign that he was one of the most talented music artists not only in the America, but in whole World.

His most popular track which was recorded was ‘Georgia in my mind’. This song won a lot of awards, but most important was the Grammy for the best single record and Grammy for the best male pop artist.

Ray success was not only visible in America, people in whole world where fascinated by his music talent. Ray also had a privilege to perform in front of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Georgy W. Bush.

Personal life

Charles personal life was a topic of many controversies, beside his music, Charles was also known as a lover, he had a lot of troubles with low and he admitted that he was using drugs and alcohol.

He was married two times, and he had 12 children, beside these marriage, Charles also had a lot of lovers and girlfriends.

Ray started using drugs when he was only 15 years old, in one interview Ray has admitted that he was addicted to the heroine for 16 years. He was arrested three times for using drugs.

Ray spent three years in prison, in this period he wrote two songs called ‘I don’t need no doctor’ and ‘let me get stoned’. These songs were his first confession that he was using drugs.

When he was arrested in Logan Airport for possessing heroin, police sent him in McLean Hospital.

Quick summary

Full name: Ray Charles Robinson

Date of birth: September 23th 1930

Age:  Died at 73

Birthplace: Albany, Georgia, United States of America

Profession/Occupation: Musician and songwriter

Net worth: 200 million dollars

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown