Raymond P has starred on Broadway in shows like Hair, The Three Musketeers, Miss Saigon and Jesus Christ Superstar. He’s been in movies like Charlie’s Angels and even played the role of Jafar in a stage production of Disney’s Aladdin. Raymond will be the first person to tell you — with very real humility — what a blessed career he’s had as an actor and he will also be the first person to tell you how important it is for people with blessed experiences to give back to the community.
These days Raymond’s in the process of change. He’s converting decades of singing and performing into a new career as a songwriter. “That really feeds my soul right now,” he says.
He and a few partners in Los Angeles have launched a company that writes tunes for singers searching for their next hit. But Hollywood is a place where connections are king. One of the partners at Raymond’s company has a strong rolodex, but it’s still a grind to get their songs to all the right ears. And the company only makes money when someone buys a song and the rights.
“It’s a very connected industry. They don’t take unsolicited material,” Raymond says. “We’re still relatively young.”
So Raymond has had to find ways to pay the bills outside of songwriting and started working as a Personal Shopper with Instacart in July of 2014 to help him do just that. “Instacart has been a savior in many respects,” he says, noting this is the first time he’s worked as an independent contractor. And he is loving it. He chooses his own hours and always has flexibility if an important meeting comes up. He says the Instacart team always tries to fit work around his life and other commitments. “It’s such a cool company.”
A lot of songwriting is about empathy, feeling what other people go through, and transferring those experiences into music. Raymond’s found that as a Personal Shopper, he’s able to connect with so many people he wouldn’t have otherwise. One customer to whom he’s delivered groceries is homebound and couldn’t shop if she wanted to. Helping her is something that inspires Raymond’s creative spirit but more importantly, inspires his heart: he is truly enabling another human to live their life.
“To know that you’re shopping for someone and helping someone that can’t go out into the world, and you’re bringing what they need to them — it’s a serviceable thing,” he says. “That’s the key: keep busy with things that are serviceable and helps others. Instacart serves that purpose in so many ways.”
Raymond’s young company also coaches up-and-coming singers. Even as the salutatorian of his high school in Washington D.C., Raymond didn’t have many mentors or people opening doors for him when he was trying to make it in showbiz in New York and LA. So he feels like he needs to lend a hand to today’s young singers.
“It’s important to me to feel like I’m giving back, because I’ve had these incredible opportunities,” he says.
Learn more about becoming a shopper at Instacart.