Born and raised in the small, rural town of Goldsboro, North Carolina, it took a quantum leap for Velton Ray Bunch to arrive in Los Angeles to do what he does best – make music. With qualifications ranging from five Emmy nominations to working with Dolly Parton to scoring Star Trek: Enterprise, Bunch has shown a versatility that could only come from someone with such a diverse background.
At age 10, Bunch was the pianist at the local church, a church with a southern gospel influence. It was this experience that would underscore his musical offerings throughout his career. When he was not deftly stroking the ivory keys, the multi-talented Bunch aspired to be in professional baseball, providing him with his first foray outside of his nascent rustic environment. After an injury ended this promising career, Velton Ray resumed pursuit of his earlier passion and attended East Carolina University, where he obtained a degree in music theory and composition.
Velton Ray’s musical fervor brought him to California, where he first met Jimmy Webb (MacArthur Park, Wichita Lineman, Phoenix). Webb was impressed with the evocative sounds of Bunch and signed the East Coast transplant to a songwriting contract. Soon thereafter, Bunch was forced to move back to Goldsboro, where he taught underprivileged youth. After two years in the Head Start program, Bunch determined that he wouldn’t give up on another dream and moved back to Los Angeles.
Bunch was subsequently introduced to Mike Post (Hill Street Blues, Law & Order, NYPD Blue), who was interested in recording some of his songs. Post recognized the unique talents of Bunch and used his pervasive influence to introduce Velton Ray to TV music, initially as a pianist and arranger for Ray Charles and Mac Davis. Bunch maintained success as a songwriter, evidenced by the renowned artists that would perform his songs, including Dolly Parton, The Commodores and the Oakridge Boys.
Velton Ray was soon scoring variety specials, resulting in over 25 critically acclaimed scores and compositions. At the urging of Post, Bunch began to score dramatic TV, first working on Magnum P.I. and Hill Street Blues. Velton Ray soon made his Quantum Leap, for which he earned his first Emmy nomination. The show was a showcase for Bunch’s versatility, providing a backdrop for his abilities in the genres of symphonic rock, country, rhythm & blues and of course, gospel. As a result of his hands-on approach and pleasant demeanor, Velton Ray developed a professional kinship with the show’s star, Scott Bakula, which led to numerous opportunities for Bunch, including Bakula’s current project, Star Trek: Enterprise.
In addition to his episodic television scoring success (The Pretender, JAG), Velton Ray has scored telefilms including his most recent projects, FLIGHT 93, FAITH OF MY FATHERS, THREE BLIND MICE with BRIAN DENNEHY, a Showtime picture WHAT GIRLS LEARN, and a biopic based on SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN’S book entitled FAITH OF MY FATHERS. The current year was highlighted by his sixth EMMY nomination and subsequent win for the orchestral score for STARTREK: ENTERPRISE.