Ravyn Lenae's Music Honors The Merry-Go-Round Of Love

Mar 24, 2018
Originally published on March 24, 2018 8:24 am

At 19, R&B singer Ravyn Lenae knows how to channel her heartache. The Chicago-born artist's latest EP, Crush, proves that young people know love's perils just as well as the older and wiser. Her music recreates the merry-go-round of falling in love, even when you know it's with the wrong person.

"'Sticky' is about reaching a point in a relationship where you both realize you guys shouldn't be dating, but you're doing it anyway just because you like to have that sense of just being able to be honest with the person and comfortable with the person," Lenae says of the project's lead single. "You kind of ignore all of the signs and red flags because you really want to like the person."

Lenae associates the colors red and pink with Crush because they represent two sides of love. Red's intensity provides a foil to pink's innocence and vulnerability. For the artist, these two sides of love can be blinding.

"I think it's hard to leave a relationship that you shouldn't be in," Lenae says. "It's a self thing, and not really realizing your worth and how much you deserve in love."

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Ravyn Lenae is 19 years old, and she's already made it to the big stage. She tours with artists that includes SZA and Noname. Speaking of age, her new EP "Crush" proves that it's never too early to fall in love. The project is all about the goods and bads of first love. The first song on the EP "Sticky" recreates the merry-go-round of falling in love even when we know it's probably the wrong person.

RAVYN LENAE: "Sticky" is about reaching a point in a relationship where you both realize that you guys shouldn't be dating. But you're doing it anyway just because you like to have that sense of just being able to be honest with the person and comfortable with the person.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAVYN LENAE SONG "STICKY")

LENAE: (Singing) Spinning, spinning round and round. Sticky, sticky off the ground. Slipping till you let me drown. Hate me then you love me now.

I've definitely had personal experiences with breaking up and getting back together and knowing that you guys aren't the best match. But you kind of ignore all of the signs and red flags because you really want to like the person.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAVYN LENAE SONG "STICKY")

LENAE: (Singing) Then I look stupid. Call me foolish. But I'll do whatever. What did you do?

In my prior experiences, that's what it was - you know, me liking the idea of the person and kind of wanting to shape them into what I wanted them to be. And it took me a while to kind of figure out that, OK, this person is them. And we're obviously not right for each other. And I'm obviously obsessed with the idea of what I want this person to be.

I think it's hard to leave a relationship that you shouldn't be in mainly because it's a self thing and not really realizing your worth and how much you deserve and love. But overcoming that, you realize that that's not what you deserve and that you guys were literally just sticking around each other for the fun of it or because you were too lazy to find anyone else.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAVYN LENAE SONG "STICKY")

LENAE: (Singing) Zigzag circus. I don't know that sticky-icky (ph) is the potion. Sticky-icky, sticky-icky. What did you do?

I like to associate the colors red and pink with the project. Red is the staple color for love, but it's also a very intense color. Pink because it's a very innocent and soft color. And I think you need a certain amount of innocence and softness to be able to be vulnerable with someone while falling in love.

SIMON: Ravyn Lenae. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.