As we are transported to a distant planet on a journey through many centuries to meet ASHA, a Punjabi space princess. We transcend to whimsical dreamscapes created by the marriage between traditional Bollywood sounds and pop/R&B that is Asha’s Awakening. A guided spiritual journey where we learn about love and loss and healing. The transcending album is Raveena’s sophomoric album and a new era for the 27 year old singer songwriter from Queens, NY. The first single “Rush,” her first release with Warner Records early this year was conceived after experiencing a psychedelic acid trip. The video is a visual feast and campy ode to the colorful 80’s Bollywood movies and 70’s Western sci fi movies. Asha’s Awakening, is a sensual utopia that will have you dancing with your eyes closed and teleport you to a feeling of enlightenment.
In a fantastical galaxy far far away we sat down with RAVEENA and talked spiritually, Bollywood and decorating space shuttles.
Tell us about ‘Rush’ this new single.
I think it’s a really beautiful entry into the world. It’s a new sound with all the Indian instruments, the heartbeat of that song is Bollywood drums and the lyrics are centered around the character of the space princess Asha.
What was your influenced you to make your muse a mythological character
It’s a character I came up with in quarantine. She is a Punjabi space princess that learns highly advanced spiritual training from aliens and then comes back down to earth. That’s the fun backstory of the album, I thought it would be a great vehicle for this new sound and Indian influence that I have been exploring in music.
There is a lot of choreography in the video for ‘Rush’. What was that experience like for you?
I trained for almost two years in Bollywood dance just for those music videos. I knew I’d be making a Bollywood inspired album, finding all the ways that south Asian music has intersected with the west. So I wanted to also bring that in the visuals and the performance.
What would you say to someone that was going to India? What has been the biggest takeaways from your trips there?
It’s hard to describe a gigantic country in one sentence but it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is so diverse in language, food and cultures. It’s just this chaotic, beautiful, colorful place that has its flaws, like any other country but it definitely feels entirely different from America.
What would you say is your favorite place to visit?
I’m from the north in Punjab. I really love this place called CA Soli it’s in the mountains. It’s kind of going towards Shimla and you can start to see the peaks of the Himalayas when you get up there. It’s super cool.
Top, Skirt and Boots, JESSICA JADE. Ear Cuff, ISLY. Gloves, LANDEROS.
Would you say that Indian culture has always been a very big inspiration towards your music a shift recently?
Definitely there’s been a huge shift on this album. I’ve always been inspired from it just because I grew up around it. I didn’t really understand how to mix the east and the west until this album. When I really did a deep dive I found all the ways that south Asian music has been intersecting with all these genres, I love RnB and soul and jazz and psych rock and pop and Indian music has been in those conversation for years, right from the sixties and seventies with Alice and Usher and the Beatles and the early MIA, J Paul. I was kind of really deep diving in this album pushing myself to explore.
Would you say that you have a favorite Bollywood artist?
I’m really in love with the soundtracks of RD Burman. They were responsible for mixing a lot of disco and rock into Bollywood in the eighties. He’s definitely a big favorite.
Dress, KELSEY RANDALL. Earrings, LARUCCI.
How much would you say that the aesthetic kind of leads into your style? Is there anything like specifically that you, you go for that you really try to infuse?
The maximalism. The celebration of life and celebration of something that’s larger than life is definitely what I try to incorporate from my roots.
I was just wondering if you believe in spirituality and if there’s any kind of undertone towards your current sound?
It’s such a big part of my life. I was raised around very spiritual people, Reiki, healers, people who practice meditation all day, if they can and it’s become a huge part of my life that practice. I try to infuse it into the music. I feel it’s an undercurrent throughout the album. Even if there’s more upbeat moments or things that wouldn’t automatically seem they’re inspired by those things. I think it’s all music that’s meant to bring you closer to spirit in some way.
If you could designate one particular animal one to each of your albums, what animals would you pick?
That is such a funny question. I would pick a little bird for ‘Lucid’, I would often say that in the album, there’s a little bird that’s sad that needs to come out in ‘Lucid’. I think I was tending to that little bird and I think for ‘Asha’s Awakening’ it would be lion. There’s definitely an undertone of a theme of a lion in the story of Asha as well. It’s like her, her lovers that she has in the past. And a lion is just so courageous and confident feels a lot like the album.
How would you furnish a space shuttle?
I was immediately thinking plush and fur something that’s firm on the walls very colorful because I feel space shuttles are usually very empty, but I’d probably want it to look like the inside of one of those spaces by Zuki who does all the fur installations. I’d probably hire her to do that.
Do you, you have any like mythological references that you really like think about or that you enjoy?
I think that a lot of what I was taking in during the time of Asha was a lot of old 70’s Sci-fi movies like Punjabi folklore. I was remembering stories that was told growing up in that way of Indian princesses and prince’s. I was watching a lot of Indian epic dramas like Buty. Then I watched a few episodes of Avatar last Air Bender.
What would you say is your favorite musical era?
Definitely the seventies. I always come back to it.
Okay. How so?
Some of my biggest influences were in their peak in the seventies, Asha Puthli, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Curtis Mayfield, Sly & the Family Stone. It was just such an amazing era for music.
Definitely a moon.
If you could talk to a fish, what would you say?
I could talk to a fish. It would be rainbow fish and I would say, please be better at sharing.
If you could pick anywhere for a butterfly to land on you, where would it land?
Definitely on the nose.
Bodice, KIM MESCHES. Bootpants, JEFFREY CAMPBELL.
Lastly, someone that you really admire?
My grandma, she survived so much and she’s such an innocent and sweet soul.
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Photos / Shervin Lainez
Styling / Phil Gomez
Makeup / Deney Adam
Hair / Francis Rodriguez
Story / Alexander Mays