Introducing Raymond Karago, a multi-talented actor and producer hailing from Nairobi, Kenya. With a passion for film from a young age, Raymond has since honed his craft through training at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles and has gone on to star in and produce award-winning projects such as Gangsters, Illville, Stand Up, and Kareem’s Oorah. With a career that spans both film and voice acting, Raymond is a rising star in the industry, and we are excited to have him with us today to discuss his journey and future plans.
HI, WELCOME TO ABOUT INSIDER! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS RAYMOND KARAGO IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
Greetings, wow, what a question! I would say that Raymond Karago is an artist on an everlasting journey of growth and self discovery.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EARLY LIFE AND HOW YOU BECAME INTERESTED IN THE FILM INDUSTRY?
I was born in Kenya, east Africa. It was movies such as the lion king and Tarzan that inspired me initially to work with animals at a local conservation centre in Nairobi. I moved to the united kingdom when I was 13 and it was there that I fell in love in theatre. Outside of school I would make my own short films and perform plays in London, including my role as eddie in sister act, which was performed at her majesty’s theatre. This led me to study acting and film producing in Los Angeles.
SHARE SOME OF THE PROJECTS YOU HAVE PRODUCED OR ACTED IN, AND WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THESE EXPERIENCES?
Over the last five years, I have been blessed to be in some truly incredible projects and have played a wide variety of characters, from a ruthless drug lord in gangsters (for which I won best supporting actor at the dream machine awards in 2018) to a grieving father in Illville (which screened at the pan-African film festival as well as indie night film festival). The main thing I have learned is that as an actor you have to be prepared for just about anything. One particular project, desert sky, required us to be chained up in a box for the entire filming process in the California summer heat.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROLE IN THE MILITARY DRAMA KAREEM’S OORAH AND THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED WHILE WORKING ON THAT PROJECT?
Kareem’s oorah is a project that is very personal to me. The story is about a young Muslim American man who joins the u.S. Marines right after 9/11. Islam has been a huge part of my life and I have several close friends who themselves are military veterans, including a dear friend, JC Delgado, who recently passed away, so I wanted to make a project that honored them. I play the lead role and also served as the co-writer and co-producer. Wearing many hats can definitely be a challenge but I believe it is necessary for an actor to know the different aspects of production.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR VOICE ACTING WORK IN THE CHILDREN’S ANIMATED SERIES TWENDE AND WHAT IT WAS LIKE WORKING WITH VETERAN ANIMATOR KWAME NYONG’O?
Twende has been such a fun experience, there is only so much I can say at this moment but I can say that the pilot was screened at the annual film festival. Doing voiceover is quite a different experience since it is just you in the booth having conversations and experiences as this character. I was fortunate to voice several characters on the show and really got to exercise my voice-over muscle. I can’t wait for the world to see this !
CAN YOU DISCUSS YOUR RECENT AWARD WINS AND NOMINATIONS, AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU AS AN ACTOR AND PRODUCER?
To date, I have won awards for acting (best-supporting actor for gangsters at the dream machine international film festival) as well as a best supporting actor nomination for the desert sky at the dream machine international film festival, in the same category as joe estevez, and producing. As a producer, I have been fortunate to see many of my projects go to some of the biggest film festivals in the world, including Cannes, indie film night, the pan-African film festival and the lift-off global filmmaker network. Such achievements are very humbling but I also use them as further motivation that I am doing the right thing.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES AS A KENYAN-BORN ACTOR AND ANY UNIQUE CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED IN THE INDUSTRY?
One of the main challenges I faced since moving to Los Angeles was learning the American accent, at first I either lost a lot of opportunities or found myself getting type casted. With the help of the amazing accent coach Claire Corff, I was able to learn an American accent as well as a variety of other accents, including; Southern, Jamaican, Irish as well as east African and British (both of which come naturally).
WHAT’S SOMETHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT MIGHT SURPRISE US?
Outside of the industry, I am a very active person. I am an amateur wildlife photographer and have been lucky enough to photograph wild animals across kenya and the united states in their natural habitat. I enjoy physical activities and my passed times include weight lifting, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and being out in the ocean which includes deep sea diving and jet skiing. I am also a huge fan of the English soccer team Arsenal FC and have been since I was a kid. I am so excited with our incredible form this season and I’m excited to see where this young team goes.
ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS/ROLES YOU CAN TALK ABOUT?
One project slated to come out this year that I am very excited about is exile road. This film is a romanticized account of the story of daniel from the bible. I play the evil warrior prince Abu Waqar, and me and David (played by the talented Ethan Averton) have an incredible fight scene that I am eager for y’all to see. The film deals with themes of faith, bravery and standing up for what you believe in. I am also producing two other films; bald patch, which is a sci-fi thriller that relies heavily on prosthetics and CGI so I am very excited to see where this goes. I am also producing a short film nobody will know my name, which gives an honest look at the indie music scene.
WHAT IS ONE MESSAGE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GIVE TO YOUR FANS?
I know this journey as an artist can be very difficult and it is full of uncertainty. I would say to remember why you started, what sparked this dream, what gave you the excitement? And when times are tough, I would call on those to keep you going. I know sometimes it can feel hopeless, trust me, I know, but if you keep pushing, believe in yourself, work hard, have a good support system, blieve in god (whatever that means to you) you will end up where you are supposed to be. For me, my friends, family, faith have all kept me going but I must also give a special shout out to my amazing girlfriend who has been my rock through many storms. I love you darling !
WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOU ONLINE?
You can find me on my Instagram @king_on_the_rise_
I can also be found on IMDb as raymond karago
I also own my own business, the Cat Productions and you can find the website
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