Sometimes you’ll find artists whom you wonder as to why they aren’t more well known. This brings me to my next artist profile featuring Ravyn Lenae. The young songstress in my humble opinion should be synonymous with R&B.
Hailing from Chicago, IL Lenae’s musical career is on the rise. Like the windy city she calls home her talent is a breath of fresh air and hard to ignore. The singer’s style is thoughtful and very much unique. These are some of the reasons that would lead many to believe she’s older than just 17 (18?) years-old.
As she’s described, her age allows her to be in a special creative place to explore and grow her craft. Admittedly, when I hear about Chicago, I immediately think about a series of hiphop artists. Thankfully, Lenae’s contributions have become a new bullet point.
This July, her EP Moonshoes was released across all digital stores and streaming platforms. Spoiler alert: I hope she has more awesome music for us soon.
Moonshoes is an offering of 10 songs formulated by her visual lyrics and mindful messages. She begins the album with Venezuela Trains, the track beings with a synthesized beat light on drums and bass. Ravyn melodically sings of a seemingly difficult relationship. The other party is someone that she can call at times and other times asks they move away.
The weaving narrative from start to finish poses a question; does the other party really understand her. Regardless, she recognizes she won’t be the one to tell them in detail. Then there’s the underling realization that she wants this person as her highest priority. But when the world is falling will they be able to reciprocate those feelings? Will they be there was skies are sunny and dark?
Track 2 is then the titular song of the album Moon Shoes. She beings to sing of what is happiness? Something we all can relate to and understand. As she begins to make sense of life she starts question sadness. Lyrically, the song floats along with almost somber audio. “Let’s put on our moon shoes”, Ravyn commands. Moonshoes invokes images of youth where things were simpler. We had no cares in the world and would make sense of it as best we can.
Ms. Leane summons up those playful memories and conjures scenes of where we were highly curious. She questions what we perceive what might be happy, sad, why we maybe laughing and so forth. Often in our youth we floated around our emotions especially when playing even in perhaps a pair of Moon Shoes?
Blossom Dearie, is rhythmic track that’s very soulful in nature. Ravyn speaks of how she seeks to make sense of her nameless partner. She questions their worth and place in life. She wishes if she could speak their language and leave her current circumstances with them. There’s feelings of frustration try to build more of the status quo. However, life isn’t that fair especially when it comes to her dearie.
The composition of the song helps paint the picture that thing aren’t perfect. Leanae’s echoing voice supported by piano punctuates the ears and mind. There won’t be any traveling to those places she wishes for. As the song fades away so to does the hope for more.
The tempo pick ups with Recess up next. The song is faster and more positive on we witness a new adventure. The story tellers creates a scenario of chasing what we may have never had. In this case speaking with a stranger and maybe possibly a new relationship? The stream of thoughts begin as the song picks up. Our fictional subject is giving life by the songstress. He (I think) eyes someone and wonders so many things. The song eloquently pieces together his series of thoughts. Is she into the things I’m into, what I’m not her type but he tries.
He’s under her spell and wants to study her. The track playfully creates the awkward scene. He wants to say hello but that chance is lost. But we have to keep trying for the sake of the pursuit. You have to keep trying but the song conveys the message wonderfully.
We reach the half way point of the album with Free Room ft. Appleby. This is my personal favorite track. Ray throughout the track is musing about interesting interactions. Paired with the upbeat temp, she sings of being able to come to an understanding. She acknowledges they other party of the relationship doesn’t know her. Ultimately there’s no judgement it is what it is, a “free room”of thoughts. Appleby hops on the track signing about that the issue isn’t something you can runaway from.
The sixth track, Sleep Talking is possibly my second favorite track. She paints a picture of simpler times before life got more complicated with an unnamed partner/friend. It’s a somewhat somber tale of how much life changes from childhood. The songstress asks if they can return to being like children to keep things simple. It’s a strong sense of yearning for the past Ms. Lenae asks for.
Greetings is a bit more up beat song about well that first “hello”. It would be more accurate to say that moment of meeting someone. Here were painted a scene of where she and someone of interests are noticing each other. She then shares the thoughts and emotions she fins herself having. Even their small talk on what might be considered trivial but she has has a purpose. Throughout the song we find out that she would like to see more of them. It’s just a matter of saying “hey”.
The eight tack, Everything Above is more of a contemporary comprised composition. She finds herself in a space a lone moment filled with questions. Raven rhythmically finds her answers by recognizing their significance. It could be interrupted that for now some of those questions are trivial. The question arises; do trivial questions matter when you’re with that special someone? She punctuates her point with blah, blah, blah.
Right of Spring features lyrics such as “I’ma roar, I-I’ma roar. Louder and louder. I’ma soar, I-I’ma soar. Higher and higher”. Ravyn celebrates her freedom to do as she wishes. This freedom follows as she asks for permission. Like the month of Spring her song speaks of a emergence. Gone are those days of living from someone else. This season begins her new start of life for yourself only. This is something where everyone can relate. We’ve all made that decision of living for me, myself, and I. She reminds us that when your in control it’s beautiful.
Thus we have our outro song with Something in the Air. True to the song’s title we finish with an airy medley. The arrangement is well to use a familiar analogy; she’s like a leaf in the wind. I do wonder if the subject of the air here is a reference to Chicago, the windy city. Perhaps we’ll never know. Nonetheless, as creates that scene of her moving along so asks if she can be joined. It’s analogous to when we find ourselves being moved by a powerful force. She sings of something we all can relate with and not ignore. It’s a beautiful period to her first album.
Despite the genre, the same common theme within music is its future. I believe our present and future is in good hands. I hope Ms. Lenae has a long productive and fruitful career within the world of music. When the subject of singers arises in conversation, I like to point to her for those searching for someone new.
I know artist don’t like to be compared to others but like others she’s rather active via social media channels. You’ll find her to be rather engaging with fans and likes to chat. Ok, that was weird to write I know. However, music fans will understand the statement regardless.
Of course, before I close this post, here’s additional songs featuring Rayvn Lenae you should definitely listen to.