Directing Harmony

How a music man to the stars makes every performance look effortless

Ray Chew, Musical Director, Arranger, Composer and Producer on the Fox network's American Idol

Name: Ray Chew
Current Position: Musical Director, Arranger, Composer, and Producer on American Idol
Education: Manhattan School of Music

Having discovered his passion and talent for music at an early age, Ray Chew has a 25-plus-year history of working with a range of talent including Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Prince, James Taylor, Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo, Barry Manilow, T.I., Shirley Caesar, and Quincy Jones. Today, he is the musical director on one of television’s most popular star-making machines.

How he got the job: In September 2010, when executives from InterscopeRecords were brought on board to handle music for the newly revived American Idol TV show, Chew was on their short list of prospects to become musical director. “I was brought in as a primary candidate for the job,” he says. “Ron Fair [a record industry veteran] called me, and then I had a series of interviews and meetings. My credits included many years of working in the music industry.” Chew had the right pedigree and started at American Idol in January 2011.

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