This Black History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of essays, interviews, reviews, poetry, playlists, and more features in recognition of, and out of respect for the symbolism and significance of this month.
Today, soulful singer/songwriter Rayvon Owen shares his personal statement “Lift Ev’ry Voice: The Song Must Go On” as a part of Atwood Magazine’s Black History Month series. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia and active for the past decade, Owen has long flexed his expressive vocals and tremendous range: He released his debut single “Can’t Pretend” in summer 2014, followed by his debut EP Cycles. Owen was a finalist in Season 14 of American Idol, and since the show’s completion he has continued to pursue an independent career. A lengthy string of singles releases over three years’ time led up to 2020’s six-track EP Las Virginia, a soaring collection of alt-R&B songs that puts the artist’s evocative voice and lyrics on full display.
“I feel like with this new EP I am redefining who I am and showing the world that I’m not just a singer, but an artist and songwriter with a perspective and story to tell,” Owen says of Las Virginia. “It’s all about my internal yin and yang, growing up in the East but now living in the West, and the battle of who I was taught to be versus who I am becoming.”
Owen started 2021 off with the poignant and sweeping “Do It Again,” an achingly tender and moving piano ballad highlighting his upper register against a delicately sweet backdrop. With this strong start to the year, Rayvon Owen has nowhere to go but up.
Lift Ev’ry Voice: The Song Must Go On
My relationship with my music is synonymous to my relationship with own cultural history.
I was profoundly influenced by the music of the early Black church – a sound birthed from the struggle of a people who overcame the oppressive fire of slavery and rose from the ashes.
Because of their determination to persist, my gifts as an artist withstand.
My tone echoes my forefathers’ fight for freedom.
My harmonies reflect the pain of my people.
My timbre is resonant with the shared trauma, resilience, and yes, even the JOY of my Black ancestors.
I recognize and celebrate all of this, and am grateful to carry these musical and thematic traditions and historical influences in my sound today.
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