Ava Raiin is an experimental R&B artist, singer/songwriter, performer and twin. After an unconventional childhood spent between Minneapolis and Texas, she made her way to NYC to pursue her passion. With no existing connections to break into the music industry, Ava began to make her rounds in the artist circuit, singing cover songs in showcases and local open mic nights. A series of fateful meetings and introductions led her to stints in modeling, full-time creative production and eventually touring gigs as a background singer and featured vocalist with a range of artists across the music spectrum. During the last few years, Ava has shared the stage and collaborated with Melissa Etheridge, Blood Orange / Dev Hynes, Chrisette Michele, Solange Knowles and others, all while perfecting her own sound.
Now in the midst of creating her first solo record, Ava is drawing from her full musical repertoire to effortlessly fuse R&B with electronic alternative for a sound that is experimental and cinematic while remaining true to her R&B roots vocally—the epitome of a modern creative.
We spent some time with Ava in the studio to get an inside look at her creative process and get a feel for what’s on the horizon from this rising star.
You’ve shared the stage with some of music’s biggest artists. How does your approach to being a solo artist differ from when you were singing with/for others?
When I’m working with other artists, the approach is more of a supportive one. I get a feel for what their vibe and message is and help them express/convey it further, which I really enjoy. Approaching my solo work is definitely more creative and very introspective. I am writing the lyrics and melodies and expressing more of myself—my personality, style and point of view.
What inspires the music on your forthcoming album?
Music itself, mostly. I like experimenting with different sounds and moods and get inspired by anything. It could be a song, instrument or a random sound I may hear that makes me want to sing along to it, or makes me want to dance and express myself in that way. My relationships, curiosities about love, existence and happiness are usually where the concepts and lyrics come from.
Where do you feel most creative?
Definitely at home in my apartment…it’s my favorite place to be. The studio is a close second. Home is the only place I can totally zone out and do my thing. I have a modest recording set up, great speakers, paint, canvases…it’s my own perfect little world. I feel most free at home making things. When I’m focused on finishing an idea and turning it into a song, the studio is where I like to create and record, the process of creating a song is kind of magical.
Describe your personal style. What Alternative styles are in heavy rotation in your wardrobe?
Unconventional laid back elegance, I guess?
I think this is a style that I’ve sort of evolved into naturally from spending a lot of time on the road touring and living out of a suitcase, or sometimes just a backpack. Being comfortable while expressing what is in me at the same time is what I go for. Most days you can find me in a pair of black jeans, Chucks, Vans, a t-shirt or something funky or elegant up top, depending on my vibe that day. I love layers and versatile pieces. In the summertime it’s all about the legs so I usually replace the black pants for high-waisted denim shorts and tanks or skirts/dresses.
Give us a few words that embody your artistic point of view.
Honest, introspective, ethereal, left-field.