Frank Ray Shares The Story Behind ‘Uh-huh (Ajá)’ And Its Unique Collaborative Origin [Exclusive]

“It moved the needle for me and it just kind of popped on my radar immediately,” Ray shares of the first time he heard the song.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

May 2, 2024


9:41 am

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Frank Ray; Photo courtesy of Stoney Creek Records

Frank Ray has made it his mission to incorporate his Latin heritage in the traditions of country music, adding his own special flair to the genre. Fans have fallen in love with his ability to spice up a tune by alternating between Spanish and English within the lyrics, and he’s done it again with his newest single, “Uh-huh (Ajá).”

The Song Was Penned By Two Latin And Two Country Songwriters

Produced by GRAMMY-nominated Dave Pittenger, the spirited new release is the product of four songwriters coming together from their differing genres to create something magical. Renowned country music writers Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay and Jesse Frasure teamed up with Latin singer/songwriters Pedro Capó and Vicente Barco to pen the song that was then pitched it to Ray, knowing it would be the perfect addition to his catalog. 

Frank Ray - “Aja (Uh Huh)"
Frank Ray – “Aja (Uh Huh)”

“What was different about this song is that when they put the camp together, they intentionally paired Latin artists from the Latin reggaeton pop world and country writers,” Ray explained to Country Now. “They basically put them in a room and said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ None of these artists or writers had ever met each other and it was just trying to bridge that gap between the two worlds.”

He continued, “From what I understand, on the Dan + Shay side, they’re like, ‘this is just a little too Latin for us to cut. It’s really kind of out of our wheelhouse.’ And the Latin side, they were just like, ‘This isn’t Latin enough for our world.’ So neither one of these artists could cut this song. From what I understand, in the conversation of how they were going to pitch this song, my name came up and they’re like, ‘We know the perfect guy to cut this song.’”

Ray Shares His Initial Reaction To Hearing The Demo

Ray admitted that he instantly fell in love with the demo recording by Mooney. In addition to feeling captivated by the country star’s smooth vocals, he was also struck by the silky melodies, the up-tempo beats, and the overall energy that reflects his Latin roots and heritage.

“It moved the needle for me and it just kind of popped on my radar immediately. I was like, ‘This is exactly the vibe I’ve been looking for.’ It was designed to be a Latin country song, but I think it definitely needed the artist to have that authenticity behind it,” he admitted.

The sensual lyrics paint the picture of a budding love story between two strangers out on the town whose magnetic chemistry can be felt from across the room. The electrifying tune draws listeners with the infectious layers of Ray’s alluring vocals, making it hard to resist the urge to find a partner and hit the dance floor. 

“Walkin’ up to me with her big blue eyes/ Little black dress with the boots thigh-high-high/ Lookin’ at me like I’m just her type/ All she got me thinkin’ is, ‘Oh, my, my, my’/ Asked my name, where you from/ Lost my game, I messed it up and/ Take a drink, try again/ Yes, you got me,” Ray sings.

He continues onto the chorus, “Mucho gusto, señorita/ It’s so nice to meet your lips/ Got me feelin’ like ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh, uh-huh/ Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh ooh/ Take me dancin’, mamacita/ Put my arms around your hips/ Got me feelin’ like, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh, uh-huh/ Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh.”

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A Spanish Verse Sealed The Deal

Everything that “Uh-huh (Ajá)” offers seamlessly aligns with the image of Ray’s career, but there was one particular component that truly sold him on the cut. Since there were two Latin writers, the demo included a Spanish verse that intertwined with the English lyrics to create the “perfect blend.” 

“There is a third verse that’s out there that’s completely in Spanish and that was the verse that I heard. I was like, this is incredible. That just really hooked me right away.”

This verse has since been translated for country radio, but the former police officer hopes to bring light to the bilingual version one stage during his appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on May 7. This will serve as his debut performance of “Uh-huh (Ajá).”

“They’ve been super welcoming, and they’ve embraced my Latin heritage, and they love that we bring a certain flavor to the circle,” Ray shared. “I’ve done several Latin-themed nights there at the Opry and they heard I had this new song out and they wanted me to showcase it there. So I thought, let’s go for it. What better place to showcase a new sort of sub-genre of country music than at the Grand Ole Opry?”

Ray also hopes to bring the song to life in the form of a music video that truly hones in on its joy-filled summertime energy. 

“This song is definitely a summer party and that’s definitely the tone. We want to keep it looking like a good summer party video, so looking forward to doing something like that.”

Frank Ray; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Frank Ray; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

What To Expect From Ray’s Forthcoming Album

Last July, fans got a clear look into the authenticity behind Frank Ray’s genre-bending artistry with his self-titled label-debut album that features “Somebody Else’s Whiskey,” his latest Country radio single. Now, he’s gearing up to give listeners an even deeper display of his roots with his forthcoming album. 

“For this next project, I definitely wanted to hone in on the one thing that really does differentiate me from everybody else, and that’s my Hispanic heritage…I did this because there’s no other country artists that can duplicate this right now in the mainstream world, or do it authentically. I mean, there’s a handful, probably, but we’ve always felt like we’ve pioneered this sort of new sound. I’m just proud to be able to do that.

“So every song that’s going to come on this next project is going to have these elements and we’re not going to shy away from it,” he added. “It’s something that I’m embracing wholeheartedly because this is the one thing that separates me from everybody else.

Frank Ray has toured with the likes of Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Brett Eldredge, Luke Bryan, Kip Moore, LANCO, Old Dominion, Hunter Hayes and many more throughout his growing career. In 2024, he is set to bring his Latin flair to fairs and festivals across the country.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.