A few weeks ago, we profiled 19-year-old Raveena Auora, a singer and songwriter working out of New York City who released her EP, “Where We Wander,” this past February. After our post, many of you reached out to us wanting to learn more about the talented artist. Aurora was gracious enough to answer some of your questions via email.
I just write whatever melody and lyrics pop in my head, and those are always subconsciously influenced by the music I’m listening to at the time, which is almost always music from the folk/pop/soul/indie genres. I think you’re definitely predisposed to end up sounding like the artists that really speak to you.
You write or co-write many of your own songs? How many of them are inspired by your own experiences à la Taylor Swift?
I write the lyrics and melody, and then I found a really incredible co-songwriter, Aya, who writes all the underlying chords and guitar arrangements. I don’t think I’ve ever written a song that hasn’t been inspired by what I’m feeling at the time. Writing lyrics is the way I process and reflect on what I’m feeling, all while playing with words within the constraints of melody, rhythm, rhyme and a verse/chorus/verse structure. Songwriting is challenging, fun, and immensely therapeutic for me.
Which of your songs best represents you?
When you hear one of my songs, I’m revealing another layer of my personality to you, so I don’t think I can say one song represents me best because like all people, I have a bunch of layers and facets to my personality. Maybe if I had to pick one, it would be “Where We Wander,” because while it has this really free-spirited and upbeat vibe, there are some darker moods that find their way in there, which I think is a lot like my personality — sweet, but a little dark.
How did you learn to play the ukulele?
My friend Audrey, who I do the “2 girls 1 uke” YouTube series with (and also known for being the sexy violinist/vocalist in rising star and psychedelic folk band Steady Sun) taught me a couple weeks ago in her East Village apartment one morning after our ritual chocolate chip banana pancakes, and it was a match made in heaven!
You often speak about your heritage as a Sikh-American on your website and in other interviews? Why is that important to you to get out?
There’s not much representation in the mainstream media of Sikh-American artists. I’d be honored to be a positive role model one day for such an incredibly strong, peaceful, and loyal community — but one that is unfortunately sometimes misrepresented and underrepresented.
I read that you’ve heard your fair share of Bollywood music. If you could work with one person from Bollywood, who would it be and why?
Ah, I’ve been fairly out of touch with Bollywood music lately, but A.R Rahman has always been really inspiring to me, and I love how he so seamlessly blends Western and Eastern music. I’d love to work with him one day.
You’ve invested a lot in your music. You’ve started studying part-time, etc. Made other sacrifices. Where would you like to see yourself in a year?
Right now, my team and I are working hard at pitching our work to labels and publishers, so my goal for this year is to hopefully get signed with a label or publisher and work on my next album with them. If I don’t get signed in the next year, I’ll continue on the DIY path and work on recording and promoting my first full-length album, which is already completely written!
We’re all our own worst and best critics. What would you say are your best and worst qualities as a musician?
I think I have a really strong ear for composing melodies and relatable lyrics to go along with them, but I don’t think I’ve developed the skill for arranging and producing my sound, which is a skill I’ve been working on for the past few years, but definitely not something that comes as naturally as my intuition for voice.
How has moving to NYC from Connecticut affected you musically?
Its so competitive here. I mean, I feel like there’s little direct competition in the music industry here because everyone is creating their own musical fingerprint and comparing two artists is like comparing apples to oranges, but you can end up putting a lot of pressure on yourself once you see how hard everyone is working and how talented they are.
I feel like everyone that is trying to make it in NYC is truly the best of the best, and once you’re in the thick of it, you’re constantly putting pressure on yourself to be the most professional, look the best, and create something emotionally honest and also artistically compelling. It can be a lot of stress and pressure (but only what you make of it!), especially when you’re also tempted by other attractions of the city and just want to indulge in being young and carefree, but it definitely pushes you to always strive to be the best — as an artist and an entrepreneur.
Current song on repeat?
There are a couple, so I’ll do Top 5.
Current musician obsession?