Willie Ray Lewis was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Columbia, Maryland. It was clear to his mother at the age of 8 that he had an inclination toward the piano when she found him tapping out songs on her mother's piano that he heard on the radio by ear. Piano lessons began shortly thereafter and continued until the age of 15 when he discovered a record his sister purchased called "Trans Europe Express," by Kraftwerk. Already fascinated by the strange and new synthesized sounds he heard listening to his parents' Stevie Wonder records, it was clear that there was a love budding for the unconventional sounds of electronic music that he continues to incorporate in his music today.
A love for the art of Film propelled Willie to study it, and he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production at the University of Maryland at College Park. It was during this time that he acquired an internship at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. in the audio/visual department. There were radio, television and film productions being produced here, and Willie, after several unsuccessful attempts, was able to push hard enough to get his music heard, eventually becoming NASA's staff composer, where he scored "Frontiers," a local radio show, as well as numerous television and short films produced for NASA. His opening score for "The Video File," still airs today on the NASA TV channel.
In 2006, Willie's composer reel was selected out of several hundred applicants to be showcased at NYFEN's (New York Film Exposure Network) annual gala. "This was a pinnacle moment for me," he says. "It reminded me that I have a voice and to stick with it," he says.
After moving to Los Angeles, Willie continued as a freelancer for NASA, and began vigorously pursuing a career as a composer and producer. He was hired as a composer with Elias Arts Music in Santa Monica, and went on to score for student films, indie films, and theatrical trailers. As a producer, Willie wrote and produced "Imagine Paradise," an album for Tony Award Winner Levi Kreis that charted in the top ten electronic albums on iTunes. This opportunity led him to work with several other recording artists, and he eventually crossed paths with long-time Madonna backup singer Donna DeLory, with whom he worked as a producer, composer and touring keyboardist. It was this experience, coupled with meeting and performing with Donna's keyboardist and now respected Emmy Winning composer Mac Quayle (Autism In Love/Cold Case/American Horror Story/Mr. Robot/Bette and Joan), that inspired Willie to set his sights on exclusively becoming a composer.
Says Willie, “I dug deep and began to study and research all of my influences, as early as Wendy Carlos, Philip Glass and Klaus Shulze to modern composers such as Hans Zimmer, Marco Beltrami and Cliff Martinez. But it wasn’t until I watched my “electronic music idols” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross walk across the Oscar stage to receive their award for their electronic score to "The Social Network" that I truly believed there was a voice to be heard from today’s modern, genre-bending up-and-coming composers. I continued to explore the combination of non-conventional sounds with organic tones, and this defines who I am as a composer.”