One of my favorite parts of the album is “Nani’s Interlude.” Raveena’s Nani talks about enjoying life to the fullest and of loss, speaking over light brushes of instrumentals that resonate throughout the rest of the album.
“You never know … we should be thankful for every moment … no regrets … you will love this life more, you will love this life more,” she says. The words themselves are soothing, almost as if I’m in conversation with my own beloved elders in Vietnam.
That feeling of softness and togetherness is Raveena’s aim in performing for her audience as well.
“A lot of my music talks of growing out of these really traumatic experiences,” Raveena said during her Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. “I just want you to know, in this space you are extremely, extremely loved.”
The artist draws from the South Asian diaspora as well, with a strong following of South Asian American millennials who can relate to her exploration of identity and culture.
“It’s not all butterflies and self-love,” Raveena told NPR about the storyline of “Lucid.”
She spoke about how oppressive the culture was towards LGBTQ people.
“Growing up, South Asian culture and queer culture felt like oil and water. Something that just simply couldn’t mix,” Raveena said in an Instagram post.
For Raveena, her music is all about storytelling, she told NPR.
“There’s so much beauty in this culture that people don’t realize,” she said. “But there’s also a lot of stuff we never talk about. I just think there’s room for more stories.”
Three songs for your playlist:
3. Salt Water
I miss coffee shops. The atmosphere, the anonymity, the pretend productivity while sipping a drink and chatting with a friend. It is one of my favorite ways to socialize. And I especially love the music.
Soul and R&B singer Raveena’s album “Lucid” brings me back to that relaxed atmosphere and is perfect for when I sit down at my desk with a drink and my laptop, determined to get work done. Her voice is lilting, high and enchanting, paired with a cascade of dreamy instrumentals.
Her album doesn’t disappear into the background as white noise; it’s actually quite the opposite. As a listener, I can still let her velvety vocals wash over me while appreciating the sound of her music and letting its melodic sounds drive me to do my work.
I feel this internally when listening to “Salt Water.” The first seconds of the song bring to mind a movie set, perhaps an opening shot of rain dripping down a balcony or maybe a lone figure taking shelter from the rain.
“Ooooh I want a sister or my mother / But oooh this silence makes sure that I suffer / I wouldn’t wish someone this pain / I pray that it would fade away.”
Raveena’s lyrics are deep and purposeful, poetry in and of itself, especially with her song later in the album “Mama.” The song is a quiet inquiry into a daughter’s pensive thoughts on what her mother’s life was like when she was younger.
“1989 on 85th and Lefferts Avenue, mm / CVS lipstick, you would / Go to school and work at the bank, mm / Many men were chasing / But you’d never have it that way, mm yeah.”
Much like the poetry of Rupi Kaur, Raveena’s lyrics have a sure beat while also speaking to a cultural narrative and intense trauma.
Kimberly Nguyen is the associate digital editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.