Somewhat like the rose that grew from concrete, a sinewy young voice has emerged to soar high above the troubled cityscape of Chicago. At 18, Ravyn Lenae’s music effortlessly speaks volumes while painting a vivid picture of the contemporary experience of a young woman choosing thoughtfulness and art – all while coming of age in an increasingly confusing world. Lenae’s wonderland, as she has illustrated in projects like 2015’s ‘Moon Shoes’ and 2016’s ‘Midnight Moonlight’, is illuminated in fluorescents while being simultaneously grounded by a humbling understanding of the subtle intricacies, sewn together by a sense of style embodying today while pulling from the past. Lenae possesses the ability to evoke an array of thoughts, feelings, and generational attitude both through her distinct choices in music and fashion.
It’s been less then a year since she graduated from Chicago High School for the Arts located in Humboldt Park. The Southside native put her college plans on hold and this fall will be her first not preparing for class. She may not be spending 2017 in a dorm room, but Ravyn has certainly spent her time productively while studying within the budding Chicago Renaissance. In fact, she split time this spring wrapping up her senior year doing homework on the road while serving as direct support for fellow hometown artist Noname’s national sold-out tour. Her summer was spent in the studio with frequent collaborators Monte Booker and Smino who – along with several other artists – makeup the formidable collective, Zer0 Fatigue; This fall she’ll join Smino on SZA’s Ctrl tour. While her former classmates settle into freshman year, Lenae will be slipping on her moon shoes and preparing to take off. Where she goes from here remains to be seen, but it’ll most certainly be on her terms.
This is an extract from Viper’s AW17 NOMAD issue. Buy physical and digital copies via Viper World.
Words by Jake Krzeczowski
Photos by Bryan Allen Lamb
Styling by Whitney Middleton
Make Up by Mollie Akhavan