Raven-Symoné Bares It All: Growing Up In The Industry & Sometimes Feeling Like Jigga

It’s been 30 years since Raven-Symoné graced the small screen as the adorably sassy Olivia Huxtable. Whether you know her as a child star, a teen icon, a Disney Channel psychic, a Cheetah Girl, or a talk show host, Raven-Symoné has maintained a lasting career that many hopefuls will only dream about.

While she’s dabbled in the music industry throughout the years and has sung in many of her shows or films, Raven isn’t commonly recognized as a music artist. Don’t get us wrong, Raven has four studio albums and a slew of soundtrack and compilation features under her belt. Yet, her talents on-screen have consistently overshadowed her work in the booth.

She recently released her nine-track EP Infrasounds, a project where she shows off her rapping skills and, for the first time, intimate details about her life. We were able to chat with Raven about her new album and she spoke with us about why, after all of these years of keeping her personal life private, she’s chosen to share parts of herself that she’s hidden from the world.

“I’m connecting with myself in a different stage of my life. I don’t know if anybody else goes through this, but I have to come to terms with who I am. I fight it sometimes like, ‘Am I really like this? This is not what people know me as. They know me as this,'” she said, adding a bit of emotion to her voice at the end, similar to those overly-excited Disney Channel commercials.

raven symone new interview

Raven-Symone recording. Photo by Brennen McMurray, provided by the artist

“They don’t know [that] when I close my door, it’s a totally different world and it’s really hard for me to…it was hard for me to communicate that in a melodic music type of genre or even acting or in interviews,” added Raven. “It was really hard for me to translate that and I think maybe that’s why, again, I keep my life private.”

Then, she connected with a team of creatives and began producing art for art’s sake. There weren’t well-laid plans for an album on the horizon; just jam sessions that turned into something much more than anyone expected. “I’ve been writing since I was young. My first album was with Missy Elliott on MCA Records and it was rap, there was singing. My second album had some rap [elements],” Raven shared.

When her team encouraged her to rap, she admitted to being a tad hesitant. “I listen to Left Eye, I listen to Lil Wayne back in the day and Eminem and Queen Latifah and MC Lyte. This is a different kind of rhythm.” Her collaborators weren’t concerned with mirroring what we hear in music’s mainstream circles. They just wanted to craft an organic project where Raven-Symoné had an outlet to share her truth.

“There’s all different kinds of music for every type of vibrational healing,” said Raven. “I want you to play my stuff when you’re mad, when you’re happy, when you’re in love, when you’re just in a good mood or in a bad mood. There’s moments in the songs for both.” And Infrasounds is just the beginning. “This is apart of a bigger roll-out, for sure,” she said. “There’s so much more to come. I already have five or six records ready now… Infrasounds means the soundwaves right before radio waves. You haven’t heard this before. I have so many more sections of radio waves to go through with everybody.”

On Friday (May 1), Raven shared the visual to one of her Infrasounds tracks, “Bu.” In the jazzy, funky-laden song, you’ll find Raven spitting bossy bars as she raps about her career longevity and how she was living like a rockstar before hitting her Sweet Sixteen. “’Bu’ was the first track I wrote with the fellas and I was like, ‘So, I can say anything?’ They were like, ‘Say anything.’” Initially, Raven was apprehensive, but it didn’t take long for her to let it all out on wax. “I got set free. The first verse I talk about my sexuality and then I go into The Cosby Show and what it took and what it was like and what actually happened and as the track continues, I get more confident.”

raven symone new interview

Raven-Symone recording. Photo by Brennen McMurray, provided by the artist

There have been plenty of people in Raven-Symoné’s life that have helped her build that confidence that she expressed in “Bu,” and we wanted to know what names in the hip hop arena were apart of that circle. So, she gave us three. “Queen,” Raven said of Queen Latifah. “She is a freaking masterpiece from top to bottom. Her lineage, her career, and who she is with her mindframe.” Raven also added Kendrick Lamar “because of his pen.” She shared the story of first hearing K-Dot’s music while driving with her brother. She told him, “Don’t ever stop playing this.”

Raven’s third choice is one that won’t surprise most. “Jay,” she said. “Jay-Z was probably the one, when I was around 15 or 16, when I was definitely struggling with my sexuality, I was like, ‘I’mma be Jay tonight. This is my life!'” She also gives nods to Jay on her track “Bu,” mentioning Jigga in the…

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