How a self-taught musician becomes a fulll-time artist
My name is RAVS and I’m a 26 year old musician based in Dallas, Texas. I classify my sound as a mix of Soul, Indie Rock and Hip-Hop.
HERE'S MY STORY:
I’ve always had a past with music: piano lessons, singing in church, mastering the art of Mix-CD making, and becoming a the ultimate snob of the un-discovered. But, it wasn’t until I decided to start playing guitar at the age of 15 that it actually seemed like a possible path for me. After conquering many many songs on expert level of Guitar Hero, I started messing around with a spare guitar in the back of my sister’s closet. I immediately fell in love. I started teaching myself my favorite songs from Norah Jones, The Beatles, Amy Winehouse, along with countless others.
Not too long after that, I was introduced to a side of hip-hop by my cousin that was never played on the radio: the lyrical underground and the elusive backpack/indie rap. What I discovered would change my perspective of music forever. My love for people like Kanye West, Kid Cudi, BIG K.R.I.T., and The Roots pushed me to learn what came before them.
From 2011-2015, I solely focused on understanding the cultural movement of Hip-Hop — where it came from, how it grew to world-wide status, who were the pioneers, and, of course, The Golden Era —all while diving into every sub-genre I could get my hands on. [hit me up for a list of documentary recs] I realized who I identified with the most were the poets and the artists. The ones who’s only option in life was to tell their story and express themselves. People like Nas, Rakim, Jay-Z, Biggie, 2Pac, MC Lyte, and A Tribe Called Quest were iconic in my eyes.
Off to College:
At the start of 2013 was when I got enough courage with my own story to start writing my own music. Strangely, though, I realized once I started putting my words to paper, my verses were SO long. The only way I felt I could deliver them without having 20 min songs was by rapping. With that revelation, I decided to stay true to myself and learn how to simultaneously rap while playing the guitar. It took A WHILE. But, I eventually got it down and doing something so different and unexpected was what gave me the confidence to pursue what I love.
Now, where does RAVS come from, you ask? Well, I’m kinda that type of person who has always had nicknames. My birth name never seemed to do my personality justice. So when I was in college, as an ode to my Italian heritage, my friends called me Ravioli — “Ravs” for short. It got to the point where everyone knew me as that and it just kinda stuck. So when I started playing shows it seemed weird to call myself anything other than RAVS. Seemed like the once deemed un-creative nickname could be something to grow into and eventually re-define for myself.
During my senior year, I was truly able to experiment and discover myself as an artist. I was living in a small college town at the time with a very quaint and encouraging music scene. I was able to learn how to play with a band of amazing musicians consisting of Jacob Somerscales, Zach Zito, and Isaac VanDyne. I wrote every day, practiced till my fingers couldn’t play the guitar any more, and got up in front of all different types of people and crowds. It was the best (and only) music school I ever attended.
Since the 2017 move back to Dallas, I had a whole year of hitting every possible open mic and having arguments with myself (and family) about what route I was going to take. I eventually found a job at a marketing firm. I only lasted 6 months — I knew that it wasn’t my purpose. Spring of 2018 is when I finally made the commitment to myself to follow my dreams.
It took about six more months of weekly open mics before I started getting offers to play my own shows around town. I was working at The Bomb Factory a large, locally-run music venue and I tried to meet as many promoters, musicians, singers, industry people I could. I truly immersed myself into the Dallas music scene.
Almost exactly one whole year later after quitting my full-time desk job, I released my first EP, “Tangled”, on April 26, 2019. I picked 5 of my strongest songs and worked with an amazing local producer by the name of Jemarcus Bridges to bring my vision to life. This put me on the map of local artists to watch in Dallas and I received a nomination for “Best EP” from The Dallas Observer.
The release of my first project was a huge stepping stone for me. I had been attempting to release recorded music consistently for 3 years leading up to Tangled. What I was able to do with this project was more than I could have imagined. Each song has its special place in my heart. The title ‘Tangled’ stemmed from the mentality that I was in while I was writing those songs. Which, they all came sporadically over the course of a few years. But, it was during a time that I wasn’t exactly sure if I could make a career out of music and I had a lot of other’s opinions blocking the belief I had in myself. I felt I was tangled up in everyone’s else’s idea of what I should do with my life. That’s why I wanted to start the project with the song “Picturesque”. I believe everyone gets a blank canvas in this life. And you, and only you, are able to paint the picture of who you are.
In the year 2020, while trying to stay afloat from this global pandemic and create as much as possible, I’m currently working to continue to establish myself and release my new single and music video called “Isolated” coming THIS FALL!