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Band of the Week: Raveena Aurora

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MEET THE BAND: Raveena Aurora (vocals)

A CUTURALLY RICH CHILDHOOD: R&B/indie pop singer Raveena Aurora grew up in Queens, New York, where her parents immigrated from India after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. She was raised in a traditional Sikh household but still managed to absorb healthy doses of R&B, soul, jazz and folk music.

OUTSPOKEN AND PROUD OF IT: Four years ago, Aurora started working with record producer Everett Orr and self-released her first EP, Shanti, in 2017. The album received rave reviews, and Aurora's career picked up steam. Last year, she was included in ModCloth's Say It Louder campaign, which aimed to "celebrate individuality and strong female icons in music." She was featured alongside other outspoken female musicians like Lizzo, Awkwafina and Hayley Kiyoko.

PUSHING BOUNDARIES: Earlier this year, Aurora released her full-length debut, Lucid. With Lucid, she experiments with her vocal and emotional range more than ever before. On it, she takes inspiration from artists like D'Angelo, Bjork, Outkast, Erykah Badu and the legendary Indian singer Asha Puthli. Directed by Danica Kleinknecht with creative direction by Aurora, the music video for the single "Stronger," a song that features echoing vocals and trippy synthesizers, provides a visual metaphor detailing Aurora's journey to "healing and self-love." The video presents a "physical story" in which Aurora is "expressively fighting against the forces holding her back."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HER: Lucid opens with the flinty "Hypnosis," wherein Aurora adopts a near-falsetto and experiments with her vocal phrasing. Sensual songs such as "Nectar" find her seductively cooing over soul/R&B grooves. On tracks such as "Stronger," a song that has her effectively singing without any accompaniment at its start, and the soulful "Salt Water," Aurora writes openly about sexual assault and abuse.

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HER: raveenaaurora.com.

WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER: Raveena performs with Jazz and M/\Z at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights.

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