All Raveena Aurora’s work—from songwriting, producing to directing music videos—is wholly hers and her new EP, Shanti, (debuting right here) is a celebration of self-love, healing and sisterhood.
So, what does “success” look like for her? It’s bound up in the success of others.
What was your very first job?
My first job was as an American Apparel sales rep. It wasn’t the worst job I’ve had, but it was a weirdly catty environment and a lot of managers trying to purposely be alpha and talk down to young girls. There were some sweet moments though.
What’s the best career advice you have ever received?
Be consistent … rather than chasing some kind of immediate success or making art for the purpose of appealing to a mass audience. I really appreciate all the people in my life who pushed me to stay true to my influences, my culture, my spirituality, and even just my personality—even if that means achieving a less capitalistic version of success.
What does “success” mean to you?
Being able to live off of something you enjoy doing. If I could live simply off my art and play music for people and have a little house in nature, with sunlight and all my favorite records—lots of plants and colors—it would be an immense privilege and a dream. I am honestly not completely there yet. I am still learning the balancing act of being a musician, being flawed, growing, holding down a job and funding my own art, and surviving in NYC on not much money. I think I’m getting there though, little by little.
How do you manage stress?
I struggle with a lot of anxiety and PTSD … and have had to teach myself many different natural healing methods. I am studying hypnotherapy, chakra balancing, reiki and mindfulness so I can use these methods on myself and others. Meditating and allowing my body and mind to remember lighter and freer moments of existence is such an easy way to get into a different headspace.
Making and listening to music helps a ton too. Putting the vastness of the universe and stars into perspective also really helps me. Our worries are so insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe. There is a kind of peace in understanding you will die one day and that your existence is the tiniest blip in time.
What do you wish someone told you at 21?
You are a Queen and a ray of light. You are worth so much more than you know and more than how the people around you are treating you.
What inspires you to get out of bed in the morning?
My biggest goal in life is to help other people (especially women of color) heal and feel more empowered, artistically and spiritually in tune. I want to connect with them through my music, but also in a broader way as an artist, lover and healer. Also making records that are timeless, interesting and well-made fuels a lot of my drive. I still have a ways to go at both of those things, so getting closer to those goals definitely inspire me.
How can young creative women make sure they are not taken advantage of in their work?
As young people, as women, as people of color, I think there are a lot of subliminal (as well as obvious) messages telling you you’re incompetent or need to rely on others for help. There is also this rhetoric, in music as least, that business should be left to business people and musicians to music making. Industries are being turned over on their heads with the internet and there are ways for artists to manage their careers without middlemen needed. Just believing in yourself and your skills will go a long way and save you a lot of money.
In the very beginning of my career, I ran into a lot of people who promised me a lot, and then they never delivered on the services and/or made me sign really unfair deals … while I was putting in all the work (even on the business side of things) and earning nothing for it.
I’ve learned to be skeptical of what services people offer you when they say they want to help your career as a creative. Unless you’re in an extremely privileged or lucky position, people cannot do much for you until you prove yourself a bit and establish some kind of base.
It’s exciting though, because we live in a social media era where anyone can connect with anyone, anywhere in the world and spread messages and build a real following. I think you just have to have the will to do it.