The article describes Ravyn Lenae’s music as “thoughtful and highly lyrical electronic soul.” The 18-year-old was as shocked and excited as anyone to appear on the list. “It’s so surreal,” she said. “Some artists have been in the industry for years and still can’t get in Rolling Stone, so I’m really thankful.”
“It all started in church,” she said. “That’s the best place to share your gift—with people who know you and love you and support you. Pullman CRC is a very nurturing environment where you’re allowed to grow and be yourself.” She grew up singing in church and school choirs, learned to play the guitar and piano at a young age, and was encouraged to begin composing and songwriting as a teenager.
“She’s a daughter, a granddaughter of the church,” said Rev. Rick Williams, Ravyn’s grandfather and former pastor of 30 years at Pullman CRC. “They see her as an extension of themselves—one of our own who has grown up and done well. In a place like Chicago where so much bad press goes out, people are extra excited when we’ve got good things to share."
Ravyn, a senior at Chicago High School for the Arts, released her debut EP Album Moon Shoes in 2015, followed by Midnight Moonlight this past March. “A lot of my musical inspiration stems from things that aren’t really musical. I try to find something that doesn’t have life and bring life to it,” she explained. She strives to represent Jesus through her music by blessing others with beauty and comfort.
Graduation day is fast approaching, and Ravyn is eager to pursue her music career full time. “I feel like a real-life raven that is ready to spread its wings and fly,” Ravyn said. She is signed to Atlantic Records and intends to begin work on her first full-length album this summer.
Rev. Rick, a proud grandpa and adoring fan, is quick to offer grandfatherly wisdom. “She’s beginning to learn that it’s a very demanding career that she has chosen and will get even more demanding as she pursues it,” he said. “She’s determined to follow it where it leads. She has talent, and I have no doubt about her persistence.”