In the early ‘90s, Isaiah-Raymond Dyer found himself in trouble with the law and doing time. The incarceration had a profound effect on him and he left prison a changed man with a renewed commitment to his faith. He returned to his home church, joined the choir, and in 1994 formed the gospel group Raymond & Co. with Gillian Nembhard, Christopher Gordon, Lisa Allen and Janine Dyer.
Raymond & Co gained a reputation as one of Britain ’s finest gospel groups and have wowed audiences with their soulful harmonies and contemporary gospel flavours throughout Britain , as well as Europe and America.
During their illustrious career, they have shared the platform with some of the world’s leading gospel artists including Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kim Burrell, Tye Tribbett, Deitrick Haddon and have sang at many of Britain’s mega churches.
The year 2001 was a landmark one for Raymond & Co. They made the final three of the prestigious MOBO Unsigned Act Competition; their popular song ‘Playing Games’, was named Record of the Week by Radio 1′s Dreem Teem and they won the first ever GMTV Voice Gospel Challenge, and in the process gained a recording contract with Integrity Music.
Saturday 4th October 2003 was a milestone in the group’s career as they released their debut album ‘Playing Games’. The album is filled with the sounds for which the group have become renowned, memorable songs topped with soaring, inspiring vocals. Stand out tracks such as ‘Playing Games’ ‘Crazy Faith’ ‘No Limits’ and ‘Miracles’ are having a major impact on Gospel music lovers everywhere.
Released worldwide on January 27th 2004, ‘Playing Games’ seems set to consolidate the group’s position amongst International premier gospel artists and give them the international profile their music and ministry deserves.
October 2004 saw Raymond & Co receive an invitation from first ever Pop Idol winner Will Young to be the sole supporting artist on his UK Winter Arena tour. The estimated audience for the tour was 168,000 visiting all major UK cities in the UK and Ireland . For 19 days venues such as the Wembley Arena, Birmingham NEC, Cardiff University Arena and the Glasgow SECC were filled with the gospel sounds of Raymond & Co.
Raymond & Co’s sound is deemed to be urban contemporary gospel, and the term R&B would best describe the style of many of the songs as delivered by the group. However the group’s sound encompasses a variety of musical genres, namely, Jazz, Soul and Traditional gospel. Raymond & Co has a distinct sound, which is a deliberate fusion of UK and USA influences, both vocally and musically. Isaiah-Raymond & a friend coined a phrase to describe their sound, this term was birthed out of the reaction from listeners; the term is ‘Mid-Atlantic’
Unique and versatile are apt words to describe this group who possess a warm feel and the ability to touch audiences across the age spectrum. Raymond & Co have garnered the respect of Gospel and secular artist alike ranging from Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary, Tonéx, Kim Burrell to pop boy band Blue’s Lee Ryan, Will Young as well as Mica Paris, Mistique and many others
In 2007, Raymond & Co were featured on ‘The New Sound Of Worship’ album with songs co written by Isaiah-Raymond, the songs ‘Rejoice’ and ‘Our Eyes are on You’ reflect the mindset of a worshipper whose mind is made up to be joyful, focused on God and His power regardless of their circumstances and the situations facing them in life. Talking about the Project Isaiah-Raymond says “Worship is the ability to surrender all to God- expressed in a life that pleases God in obedience to His Word, will and purpose. This type of surrender releases the reality of God’s existence in the life of the worshipper and brings peace, stability, blessings, strength, insight, wisdom and knowledge. It’s our desire that the above qualities will be experienced continually by one and all as they enjoy the ‘New Sound of Worship’”
Raymond & Co are currently working on their next album which will be a farewell album followed by a farewell show.
Despite their professional performances, appearance and great vocal fluidity, Raymond & Co’s main focus is on ministry, which they view to be serving the world the message of Jesus Christ – the good news via spiritually inspired music that today’s listener can identify with. The very nature of their lyrics suggests a bias towards sincere ministry that also can be felt deep within by the listeners. The group have a strong desire to see people of all races lifted and inspired by their music, and ultimately connected in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.