• Words
  • Photography Jingyu Lin (featured) and Jimmy Fontaine

Ravyn Lenae is the voice of a new generation of Chicago musicians, we caught up with her after the release of her EP CRUSH for this week's Internet Crush.

Social media has changed the way we interact with our favourite artists. More than just musicians, they’re now personalities, people we can interact with on the daily. Now more than ever we’re aware that musicians are pretty normal people, they just have a weird job. Every week we get to know one of our favourite SoundCloud heroes, internet dating style, in our new column, Internet Crush.


Chicago is never short on talent. The city that birthed Kanye, Common, Chief Keef, Chano and countless others, it’s hub of creativity all too often overlooked in the New York vs LA vs Atlanta rap-capital debate. Now a new school of Chicago musicians is emerging, bringing with them a more experimental, but still accessible take on the city’s legacy. You’ll have seen their names crop up on various projects from Chance the Rapper, people like Smino, Saba, Noname, Monte Brooker and more. Yet Noname’s flawless debut album aside, this new school of Chicago artists is yet to have a breakout star.


Neo-soul singer Ravyn Lenae might just change all of that. Her latest EP CRUSH was entirely producer The Internet’s Steve Lacy and took her already infectious sound to new heights. One of the most distinctive singers in the neo-soul revival, Lenae’s voice is halfway between Kate Bush and Kali Uchis, dramatic and wonderfully off-kilter at the same time. We caught up with the Chicago-based singer to talk creativity in the Chi, Steve Lacy and more for this week’s Internet Crush.

What’s the best thing about making music in Chicago?
Being able to do it with very, very creative artists and people who are also very supportive and open to different sounds and experimenting with music. The community.


Where’s the best place for a date in Chicago?
It depends on your interests really. I can go to a movie theatre and be happy, but there’s a really fancy Ralph Lauren restaurant where I went on a date with my boyfriend recently, and it’s really nice.


What’s Steve Lacy like in real life?
Steve Lacy is exactly what you’d imagine him to be; he’s very funny and energetic but also a musical genius.


Who’s your favourite Chicago musician of all time?
Of all time? My all-time favourite musician has had it really bad in the media lately so is it ok if I name someone recently? Smino has been my favourite recently.


Who do you hang out with when you’re not making music?
My best friends and myself.


Describe your sound in one sentence
My sound is soul meets fairytale princess.


Favourite colour:
I think it’s red at the moment.


Favourite movie:
Mr Nobody.

What’s your star sign?


Have you ever been in love?


Have you ever had your heartbroken?


How do you deal with a broken heart?
I like to spend a lot of time with myself and give myself the attention I deserve.


The last book that you read:
The Alchemist.


First record you ever bought:
I think it was Beyonce, ‘Dangerously In Love’.


First act you ever saw live?
I don’t remember my first concert.


What’s your earliest memory?
Being carried in a car seat and the cover flipping up because it was a windy day and seeing a white car. That’s all I remember.


Are you a morning person or an evening person?
Probably an evening person.


What was the first song you ever wrote?
‘Greetings’ which was the first song I ever put on the internet.


What’s your favourite song of your own?
I really like ‘My Song’.


What’s your favourite lyric?
There’s a line by Moses Sumney from ‘Plastic’ – ‘Funny how a stomach unfed. Seems satisfied ’cause it’s swell and swollen.’

Related Articles

Notion Now: Debut Albums of the Year

From newcomers to Notion favourites, delve into the eight best debut albums of 2022.

Ravyn Lenae: Live in London

Chicago's Ravyn Lenae takes us behind the scenes of her first London show in four years.

Ravyn Lenae

Chicago-born Ravyn Lenae is a singer/songwriter that refuses to be put into a box. We talk to her about the intimacy of writing and the importance of slowing down.