Performing Arts

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Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Ray Charles Robinson (1930 – J2004) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray." He was often referred to as "The Genius." Charles was blinded during childhood due to glaucoma. Ray's mother, Aretha Robinson, found a local school to accept him; he then attended a special school in Floriday from 1937-1945. After his mother died when Ray was 14, the boy moved to Jacksonville to with a friend of his mother's. He played piano in bands and gained a reputation as a talented musician. In 1947, Charles moved to Tampa and then on to Seattle, Washington where he formed his own band. He pioneered the soul music genre and received numerous awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.