From the Southside to Your Stereo with Ravyn Lenae
There are two age groups we often find inspiring – those who finally get their break later in life, and those know what they want to do early on and go for it. Ravyn Lenae is in that group of people as she’s only 17-years-old and has her eye on the prize. Combining R&B with electronic and soul, Ravyn’s style is an eclectic mix that comes together in a way that makes her one to watch as she dropped Moon Shoes this past July and has no plans of stopping her rise to the top.
Kendra: The Southside of Chicago is no joke. Do you think growing up in a place where you have to have tougher skin than most has made you more than ready for a career in music?
Ravyn Lenae: I don’t believe growing up on the Southside of Chicago has a direct correlation in molding my personality and attitude towards the music industry. However, the violence in Chicago has made me more aware of the downfalls we face as people.
Kendra: Many your age have no clue what they want to do. When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
Ravyn: I knew that I wanted to be an artist when I realized that nothing can possibly touch the feeling of creating. Although I was involved in the music program in elementary school and decided to go to an arts-based high school, it never quite felt like enough. I knew I needed to take the tools given to me and apply them to my own form of art to seek true fulfillment.
Kendra: You’ve got such an eclectic sound. Did you grow up with a variety of styles being played around the house?
Ravyn: I consider myself a fusion of a variety of amazing artists. Growing up, I was definitely influenced by India Arie, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Eartha Kitt, Outkast, and the like.
Kendra: Again, your debut Moon Shoes is just a full on cornucopia when it comes to genres. What I was wondering about though is when constructing your songs, what comes first – the lyrics or the beat?
Ravyn: While creating, I find it more difficult to produce lyrics without a beat. I usually pull inspiration from the beat itself: the chord progression, drum pattern, key changes, nuances, etc. However, I find myself randomly writing a few words or lines that resonate throughout the day. I usually come back to these phrases while creating a song.
Kendra: Some of the songs on the record made my mind wander. Like “Recess” for example made me want to ask – what were you usually doing during that well deserved break time in elementary school?
Ravyn: Man, I miss recess. I can recall the slightest memory of me and my good friend playing the piano on top of the gym’s stage while all the other kids played basketball and Four Squares. I like to think that we were the entire school’s soundtrack for that particular portion of the day.
Kendra: Then there’s “Sleep Talking.” It’s a habit some have. With that, do you have any odd habits you wouldn’t mind sharing?
Ravyn: During the winter, I have a really strange habit of keeping on my coat hours after I’m home. I justify this by saying that my body has to adjust to the change in temperature…
Kendra: On a serious note though, you’ve noted “Free Room” is about learning and evolving and how you’re not the same person as you once were. We’re constantly changing and in ten years time, what kind of person do you think you’ll be?
Ravyn: In ten years, I will definitely be advanced in all areas: artistically, emotionally and intellectually. I hope to be exactly where I plan by then.
Kendra: What’s up with you for the rest of the year? Touring at all?
Ravyn: This year I plan on playing more shows, releasing new music and visuals, and having fun!
Kendra: Lastly, by this time next year – what is one thing you will have hoped to accomplish?
Ravyn: By this time next year, I would love to be able to say that I’ve traveled outside of the country a few times, specifically Europe.