Ray Chew (born 7 September 1958, Harlem, New York) is an American musician who specializes in keyboards and contemporary and orchestral arranging.
Chew grew up in the Grant Houses several blocks west of the Apollo Theater. As a youth, Chew studied at Harlem School of the Arts. He studied at Third Street Music School Settlement in the early 1970s for four years. During his years at Third Street, he became a student teacher alongside faculty member Ramon Rodriguez. He concentrated on percussion and piano and was particularly fond of contemporary jazz.
At sixteen, Chew landed his first professional gig with Tony award-winner Melba Moore. Then at nineteen, he was discovered by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who chose him as their young music director and ushered him into the vibrant New York session scene where he plied his craft as an arranger and first call pianist in hundreds of records and jingles. Chew is credited as arranger and or pianists in recordings for artists including Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack, and Donny Hathaway.
Chew was a member of the Saturday Night Live Band from 1980 to 1983. During the 90s & 2000s, he was music director for the syndicated television series Showtime at the Apollo and the bandleader on The Singing Bee.
Chew was the bandleader during the 2008 Democratic National Convention and at the Barack Obama Neighborhood Ball at the First inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009.
Ray was music director for Fox's American Idol from 2010 to 2013. In 2014, Chew was passed the baton to musically direct the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade by long time musical director Milton Delugg. Chew has also served as music director for the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants since 2010.