Meet New York singer-songwriter Raveena. I was first introduced to Raveena a little over 2 years ago and have been a supporter since. With her latest EP release “Shanti” I caught up with the songstress to chat about bringing the EP to fruition and the importance of having WOC representation.
For those just discovering your music, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and how you got started as a musician?
I started making music when I was super young, about 9 or 10, but I really found my sound when I met my producer / boyfriend Everett Orr around 2 years ago. Together we have been making music inspired by our 70’s and 90’s R&B/soul influences, ranging from D’angelo to Sly and The Family Stone, to Minnie Riperton.
When I first heard you, you only had a single out at the time “Dream State”, looking back how much has your style changed/improved?
“Dream State” was probably right when I was on the cusp of getting closer to the sound I have today, but I hadn’t found Everett at that point yet, and I really think he was really instrumental in bringing the vision I had in my head to life. I would also say I went through a lot of growth since then and really came into myself as a musician and artist in the past three years. I explore a lot of themes lyrically now that weren’t really even in the forefront of my mind back then, because I had not done all that spiritual work at that point.
“No Better” is such an alluring track and currently one of my favourites from the EP. Can you tell us what inspired the song and how it came together?
Aw thank you! I feel like it’s not the usual favorite, but I am so happy you appreciate it because that song always makes me super happy and nostalgic. Everett and I were on vacation when we wrote that song and it was after we had a really beautiful day of being around trees and lakes and riding bikes around this little town. The song started off as a really horrible iPhone demo, but we knew the chorus was super special, and we both kind of tinkered on the instrumentation and vocal arrangement for 6 months. The incredible musicians we have on that song make that song super special for me – the vibrant horns by Josh Shpak and the incredible little riffing moments that Cale Hawkins, on keys, does.
What was the process of bring Shanti to fruition? Is there a track your most proud of?
We really took our time with the EP and wrote songs for around a year. I think after we released our first three singles in 2016, we weren’t really sure what our sound would be like for the next few years because me and Everett’s relationship was still pretty new at that time, and we knew we had a lot of exploring, growing and writing to do before we could release a body of work again. The process of making Shanti was filled with tons of doubt, worries for the future, and a real unknowing if all this insane amount of time and money put into music would ever bring any returns or if anybody would listen to the project. And there was no feedback or fan interaction for that year, which I think made all the anxieties much worse. But that time of quietness really made me delve deeper into my spirituality and learn more about my writing process, which I think why Shanti sounds the way it does and has so many songs about self-love, healing and empowerment. It was like I was soothing myself in a way. I’m super proud of all of Shanti. Each song can really stand on its own and is it’s own mini world and has so many intricate details that you can kind of discover and fall in love with every re-listen.
Your music video for “Sweet Time” represents the empowerment of Women of Colour, contrary to the usual fetishization their bodies that’s often portrayed in music videos. How did the visuals and idea come about for the video? What was your thought process behind it?
I’ve always wanted to make music videos that represented minorities in a beautiful, pure light and counteracted how they are usually portrayed. I feel like it’s my duty as a child of immigrants and woman of color to be an advocate in whatever way I can as someone creating media, because visuals and images (especially as young people) we see are so insanely powerful. That treatment just felt like a totally natural visual for the song, because the song is also about self-love and being comfortable in your skin. For me, self-love looked like becoming a feminist and embracing more of my identity as a minority, which is why I try to represent so many of those messages in my art.
Watch Raveena’s acoustic set with NYLON below…
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