Raymond Murray began playing music at the age of three, and hasn’t stopped since. Now a successful lawyer with Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, Raymond is also a performer – his band Souljazz Orchestra has released 8 albums, three of which have been nominated for Junos – and a musical mentor through Orkidstra, a program which provides kids from low-income families in Ottawa with free music lessons.
Raymond believes that music can help to build better, stronger communities – creating environments in which young people work together with respect, discipline and creativity to achieve their goals, building their self confidence as they learn new musical skills. For his commitment to supporting kids who might never otherwise have had the chance to make music a meaningful part of their lives, Raymond Murray is one of #150GreatPeople in Ottawa, and he answers the questionnaire here:
What makes Ottawa special to you?
My children were born in Ottawa and I have had the pleasure of watching them and the City grow together over the last 15 years. My children are bilingual in French and English. They go to school with other children who came here from all over the world. Their classmates come from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and includes refugees from places such as Somalia.
Beyond my children, I am excited by the growth in the music scene in Ottawa. I started playing souljazz, reggae, afro and funk in Ottawa in 2001. At that time, there were few other artists embracing alternative, underground and modern styles of music and even fewer venues willing to support us. Flash forward to today and there are excellent acts, artists, community programs, and centres supporting the Ottawa music scene.
I have watched as this City embraced multiculturalism and as it became more cosmopolitan while maintaining its small-city and community feel. I think this is one of Ottawa’s biggest strengths. I cannot wait to see how our music scene continues to grow and evolve as we welcome people here from all over the world.
What do you love most about living and working in Ottawa?
Ottawa feels like a real living and breathing community. Many of us work hard, but lifestyle is also important to us. For myself, I want to show my kids that it is important to work hard at your job, but it is also important to be there for your family and the people you love as well. Ottawa is also a place that prides itself on being outside and enjoying nature. It is great to be so close to incredible parks and have sports programs for people of all ages and levels. I am also pleasantly surprised all the time to see the level of philanthropy in the community, even with the kids.
The work that you do helps to make Ottawa a better place – why is this important to you?
As a lawyer and musician, it is important to me that I provide legal education to the community in my areas of experience, namely in estate and entertainment law. In both areas, it is important that I am approachable to people. Most people do not need a lawyer when they are in a good spot in life; they need a lawyer when something has gone wrong – sometimes very wrong. I try to accessible. It can be intimidating and confusing to speak with a lawyer, and we are not always the best communicators. I try to spend time in the community breaking down common legal issues. I want to help Ottawans feel confidence in the legal system again. I want the people in my community to know they can come to me if something has gone wrong in their life. I want them to feel I will do everything I can to maintain and protect their rights.
You give back to the Ottawa community in various ways – is there one Ottawa-related achievement of which you are most proud?
In terms of my volunteer work, my great love is for OrKidstra, which is a social development music program for children aged 5 to 18 living in under-serviced areas of Ottawa. OrKidstra combined two of my greatest passions, social development and music. I am a board member and am very proud of all that the OrKidstra organization has done to promote and provide music to children. I love that Ottawa has given me the opportunity to be part of an organization like this.
What do you hope for Ottawa in the future?
I hope that Ottawa keeps its small town feel as it grows. It is important that Ottawa continues to be a community that supports its peoples and identity. We have great talent, diversity, community and business here. With all the positives, I cannot wait to see what we accomplish.