Singer and HS student Ravyn Lenae: A rising star from Chicago's South Side

FOX 32 NEWS - This month, most high school seniors are trying to survive finals and longing for the day they graduate.

But one senior is juggling school and a singing career. She’s a rising star from Chicago’s South Side.

When you see Ravyn Lenae sing, her soulful and sophisticated style can be a bit deceptive. She’s just 18 years old.

“When I get on stage or when I write I'm stepping into a whole other realm of Ravyn that isn't really Ravyn. But once I get off stage, I'm just like this and shy, you know,” Lenae said.

She says the performer Ravyn Lenae channels older and powerful women, mainly her mother and grandmother.

“Their experiences, their stories I take and I sing them or write through them, so a lot of the times it's not me singing, it's really them,” she said.

But the real Ravyn Lenae is a senior at Chicago’s High School for the Arts in Humboldt Park, who had to balance homework with her first cross country tour this year.

“The first couple of weeks were hard man. Sleep...none. Eating schedules off. I remember crying in my hotel room once silently because I didn't want anyone knocking on my door asking if I was okay. I just wanted to be alone,” Lenae said.

But she also loved connecting with fans.

“One lady came up to me when I was in Canada and she said, 'we're all hungry and you're feeding us so please keep feeding us' and that will always stick with me because that's just powerful you know,” she said.

Lenae calls her sound "Dreamscape Music." She considers herself a "cosmic girl" and is obsessed with the moon.

Her latest EP - "Midnight Moonlight” - follows "Moon Shoes,” which she released at the age of 16.

Lenae's music is also strongly connected to color. She believes she has "synesthesia" - a blending of the senses that in her case automatically connects sounds with colors.

“I initially feel colors or hear colors or see colors, and based on those colors I attach the words to them,” Lenae said.

Rolling Stone recently named Lenae as a "new artist you need to know." She's signed with Atlantic Records and is working on a new album.

But first, this South Side teen has to graduate from high school.

And when you peer behind her performance, you'll find an 18-year-old who could not be a rising star without her mom by her side.

“The whole world can love you but if your mom doesn't support your music, it doesn't matter, it doesn't feel the same at all,” she said.

After high school graduation, Raven Lenae says she's looking forward to focusing solely on her music without the stress of trying to balance it with academics. But this week, she has to get through finals.

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