10 Reasons Why We’re Obsessed with R&B Sweetheart Ravyn Lenae

 

Ahead of Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, we’re celebrating one of its brightest, most stylish acts, singer Ravyn Lenae.

At 19 years old, singer Ravyn Lenae has the talent, wisdom, style, and self-assurance of a seasoned veteran. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, she sang in church and wrote songs in middle school. Once she got to Chicago High School for the Arts, where she studied classical music, Lenae started financing her own studio sessions, self-releasing music, and eventually touring as a professional artist.

Just like her music, Lenae’s style is effortlessly cool and understated. Her red hair, bright eyeshadow, and silky vocals are just some of her defining characteristics. Though she might be classified as an R&B, pop, and soul artist, Lenae is truly indefinable and one-of-a-kind. Below are 10 reasons why we’re obsessed with her.

 

 

1) She followed her instinct and natural talent.
“From a very early age, I knew that I was artistically inclined and wanted to be involved in the arts. My grandma bought me a guitar when I was eight years old and enrolled me in private lessons. I began playing the piano and singing. My teacher at the time pushed me to start composing, which is where I fell in love with using my voice as an instrument. I vividly remember my first solo ever, though I’ve forgotten the words!”

 

“I fell in love with using my voice as an instrument.”

  • Ravyn Lenae
     

2) Early on, she put in the work to train and preserve her voice.
“Prior to ChiArts (The Chicago High School for the Arts), I didn’t know how important proper vocal training is — phrasing, breath technique, diction, placement, etc. I was surprised by how difficult it is to sing healthily while delivering a great performance.”

3) She found a way to go to school and be a professional musician at the same time.
“Balancing school and music was very difficult at times. It was hard to keep up with my studies while traveling and essentially running my own business. I believe that having to balance two important aspects of my life taught me a ton of discipline and prioritizing. My teachers were super understanding, because most of them had experienced touring themselves and knew how crazy it could be, especially while doing homework at the same time!”

 

 

4) She made a beautiful EP with the help of Steve Lacy.
“I met Steve online! He randomly messaged me on Twitter saying that he loves my music and would like to work. We officially met shortly after while I was in L.A. He invited me to his Beats1 radio show.

“The majority of the Crush EP was written and recorded in L.A. with Steve. It was important for us to work on it together to build the musical chemistry needed to make beautiful work! My favorite memory was witnessing Steve tap into his femininity while creating Crush. I love telling people that Steve wrote the line ‘Got my edges on tight’ for ‘The Night Song!’”

5) She’s committed to being a writer for life.
“Being a musician means being a writer. Some of us just prefer to write to music. English was always my favorite class, because it allowed me to dissect language and twist the meanings of words. I like creating worlds through my own lens and by my own rules. I would love to write children's books someday!”

 

“English was always my favorite class, because it allowed me to dissect language and twist the meanings of words. I like creating worlds through my own lens and by my own rules."

  • Ravyn Lenae
     

6) She’s toured with some of the best artists in the game.
“I've had the honor of only touring with black women thus far, which is incredible. There's always something to learn when touring with other artists. NoName's Telefone tour was my first tour ever, so it'll always be special to me. I got to tour with my friends, which was super comforting as a first-timer.

“Touring with SZA also presented new, teachable moments. I learned a lot about myself and my craft. I also witnessed how much an artist goes through in a day before they hit the stage. I definitely had my tour cries, but all of it is worth it when you're able to see the people in the crowd every night!”

7) Her favorite shoes to rock are pink Chuck Taylor All-Stars.
“My favorite sneakers to wear are my pink Converse, mainly because they are classics and look great with anything!

“I remember being around eight years old and begging my mom to let me wear the most horrible green sneakers for picture day. I had such an emotional connection to these shoes. I laugh whenever I see the pictures!”

 

“My favorite sneakers to wear are my pink Converse, mainly because they are classics and look great with anything!"

  • Ravyn Lenae

 

8) She has a better time when she wears sneakers.
“I always feel great when I’ve made the right decision not to wear heels in a room full of women who are in pain because of their shoes. I tend to enjoy myself more when I'm wearing sneakers.”

9) She’s still excited to see other artists perform live.
“I'm very excited to perform at Life is Beautiful! I'm hyped to see a few artists I've been dying to see live. I've been to Vegas once while on tour, but I wasn't able to stay long. Hopefully I get more out of this trip.”

 

“I always feel great when I’ve made the right decision not to wear heels in a room full of women who are in pain because of their shoes."

  • Ravyn Lenae
     

10) She reps Chicago when she’s on the road.
“Wherever I am, I always miss and represent Chicago. When I'm on tour, I start to really miss my family and the food!”

Artist Ravyn Lenae
Written by Cedar Pasori
Photography by Nolis Anderson
Makeup by Mollie Gloss
Styling by Hailey Marie Losselyong and Symone Snowden-Wright

 

Ravyn's ONES

Shop The Collection

 

Related Stories

More of the good stuff—a celebration of the people who inspire us and the classic kicks in their closets. See All Stories

 

PAPER Magazine x The_ONES

Power Players: Pia Arrobio, the Brains Behind Cult-Fave Fashion Label LPA
Read More

1 Sneaker, 3 Ways: High-Top Converse

From a casual-cool tomboy getup to a velour tracksuit that’s actually stylish.
Read More

PAPER Magazine x The_ONES

Power Players: Body-Positive Model Activist Charli Howard
Read More