Tuesday, February 26, 2013, national recording artist RaVaughn visited the Direct Drive record pool at Bar 7 to promote and perform songs from her upcoming album, Love Always. Hitting the promo rounds with fervor after the success of her chart rising single, "Better Be Good", and the release of the accompanying visuals, Ravaughn approached the performance of her three singles, "Over", "Best Friend" and "Better Be Good", and media session like a seasoned professional. The laid back California native had a quiet confidence, and warmth that made listeners and media alike feel like they have been lifelong friends. The first to interview her at this event after a long day of radio promo, I greeted RaVaughn with a polite smile and a hand ready to shake wary of the type of mood she would be in after a long day of hustle, to which she went in for the full "best friend embrace", decreeing, "I hug, I am a hugger." That free flowing authenticity is what translated not only through this event, but throughout her soulful music. I say soulful, because no matter the sound or station, the emotion, sense of realness, the urgency to deliver a message, runs throughout every dance track, ballad, and tune on the album. Unafraid to be vulnerable in her music, RaVaughn talks about unrequited love, unexpected love, self love and good loving, but love, always.
Signed to Ne-yo's Compund U/Columbia records, RaVaughn has raw vocal talent and drive that doesn't usually accompany such humility. A background and demo singer, Ne-yo was drawn to RaVaughn after working with her because of that drive, and without that work ethic, she may have missed her chance meeting working with Grammy award winning Ne-yo. One day, after a long day of working on Glee, a producer called her up at 10 p.m. to request her presence working with a songwriter who was in town for one night only. Exhausted but supportive, RaVaughn forsook her bed and attended the session, only to find out that "the songwriter" was Ne-Yo. So impressed was he with her talent, charisma, and drive that Ne-yo later asked her "What's wrong with you? Something has to be wrong with you? Why hasn't anyone signed you?". It seems, though, that nothing was wrong with RaVaughn. Timing has a peculiar way of working, often when you least expect it, and thus a working relationship was born between Ne-yo and RaVaughn. Based on the performance Tuesday night, and the chat we had before, with excerpts below, the reason why she wasn't signed before, was because the perfect musical relationship was waiting to be formed. Luckily for music lovers everywhere, we get to witness the results of what happens when raw vocal talent and work ethic meets amazing business sense and seasoned talent in the musical marrying of RaVaughn and Ne-yo.
Me: So we saw you at the Grammys with Ne-yo. You looked wonderful on his arm, by the way. Give us a little insight into what it is like to work with "Ne-yo the boss".
RaVaughn: (laughs) Thank you. He is amazing. Just working with him and for him to be the person that he is, and have so many achievements and accomplishments, and to be vouching for me is such an honor. He is just really laid back. He's like a brother to me. It's really comfortable. I just feel like I'm at home now with him and it's just really dope.
Me: I heard that he called you the new voice for women. I've watched some interviews, you are about the empowerment of women, your new single "Better Be Good" is empowering and shooting up the chart, tell us more about the voice you are trying to give to women.
RaVaughn: Just as a reminder. I feel like because we are emotional creatures and we love so hard and we get into relationships, I'm a victim of it too, I have done it, but we get in relationships and you want to love so hard, you want to love this guy so much, that we forget about ourselves and our feelings, and they don't treat us right and we forget about it. I feel like so many women forget. That's just who we are, we are emotional. We love and we forget about ourselves. So what I'm trying to do is remind women we need to stand up and tell these guys that they have to treat us right if we are going to them ourselves, our time, whatever we are giving them. They need to treat us right.
RaVaughn: Right? Exactly. That's all I'm trying to do, basically.
Me: So besides being this voice of empowerment, what do you think sets you aside from some of the other emerging artist, R&B and even pop artists?
RaVaughn: I just feel like everything I've been doing, all of my records are from personal experiences or experiences people very close to me have gone through. I feel like when you connect with your audience through music, the passion, it means something totally different. Mary J. Blige did that as an artist, Lauryn Hill. I feel like no one is doing that right now, no one is in that lane right now, and I am trying to bring that back.
Me: One last question, what would you want people that don't know RaVaughn to know about you?
RaVaughn: I'm just RaVaughn. I'm easy going. I love people. I love to talk. I'm super sarcastic, and I love to have fun.
And that she is.