Temptation And Headaches: The Journey Of Raveena

In the year 2018, I began to listen to Raveena after a suggestion from Spotify, and I instantly fell in love with everything about her music– from the lyrics and quiet beats to her dreamy voice.

2018 was also the year Raveena came out as bisexual, with her song Temptation, and its music video. With its lyrics, ‘Wanna bloom but we’re a bit guarded, let’s grow a garden’, Raveena talked unabashedly about finally coming to terms with her sexuality, despite her fears and the time it took her.

Talking about it on her Instagram, Raveena said, “Growing up, South Asian and queer culture felt like oil and water. Something that just simply couldn’t mix.”

She further talked how she started liking girls before boys, but wasn’t able to come to terms with it until her late 20s, partly through the writing of Temptation.

Raveena, amongst other things, is known for her ethereal, experimental music that fits in somewhere between R&B and pop– the themes of which include spirituality, healing from trauma, and embracing herself.

Raveena’s album ‘Lucid’ was named one of the best albums of 2019 by NPR, and her single ‘Stronger’ one of the ‘100 Best Songs of 2019’ by Noisey.

There is no one that represents the Desi community like Raveena.

From an Indian immigrant family in the USA, while Raveena diverges from the usual expectations from Desi music, she still manages to present herself as a strong and unwavering part of the Desi community. From her phenomenal music to her magical music videos, which are mostly directed by her, everything she does is heavily influenced by her culture and her pride in it. The aesthetics of her videos are known for being transcendental, taking you to a world where everything is bright, beautiful and loved, and these aesthetics– from the designs and backgrounds to Raveena’s clothes and jewellery– are unmistakably Desi.

“I want to live in a Raveena music video,” most comments on her YouTube channel seem to say, and I too don’t see a single problem with being carried away to this world of omnipresent beauty and love.

The music video for Temptation, the song that helped her– and many other Desis, I imagine– come to term with her sexuality, is also similar to her other music videos, and now, almost two years later, Raveena has come out with a new single ‘Headaches’ that is unapologetically queer.

Much like Troye Sivan’s transition from a scared, lost boy in the 2015 Blue Neighborhood, to a happier, more confident man in his following album Bloom in 2018, Raveena is now more steady and comfortable with her sexuality, embracing it fully in ‘Headaches’, with a 5 minute music video that tells the sweet story of two girls deeply in love.

To be able to reach here, from not being able to come to terms with her sexuality, serves as a much-needed reminder for the queer Desi community that everything can and will be okay in the end. It is also queer representation that the Desi  community has needed for a while, and will always need more of.

Raveena, in her few years of being a musician, has proven herself to be not only an exceptional artist, but an empathetic, caring and good human being.

She talks often about wanting her music and concerts to be a safe space for everyone involved, and seems to make considerable efforts towards this.

With her stunning new EP, Moonstone, out now, Raveena was about to embark on an Asia tour for her album Lucid soon, and play her first Coachella soon after– projects that have now been pushed back indefinitely due to current circumstances.

And yet, it is safe to say that there are bigger and more beautiful things waiting for her.

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Saachi Gupta is an LGBTQ+ activist, animal lover and the author of 'With Love, or Something Like That.' She is a strong believer in equality amongst mankind.
Saachi Gupta

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