Updated: Jun 23, 2021
I was hired by the Reckless Arts Collective when I was first aware of Sunraae. (Shoutout to LaMoi!)
She came on stage and belted songs all the while sharing in between tunes about herself, her life and her daughter who was in the audience.
And then, on social media, I saw her interacting with L.A. Wade and Mic Truth, people I am affiliated with. And also with Vicky Ro, another colleague and friend.
I reached out to her and our conversation was so organic, we were able to jump into topics like relationships, hardships and most importantly, mental health.
And then the love for her child... You see it, even as she brought her for her interview. And you'll see it as she speaks about her too.
Sunraae is a gem to this world and her contribution through music is a gift the world deserves to have.
And I can honestly say... She is definitely Crushing It!
Alrighty, all right. So Sunraae... How you doing?
I’m ok, a little nervous
Yeah. That's never been a thing for me.
But you got to get used to it.
Right. This is practice.
I mean, you're gonna be on your way soon time.
Yeah, yeah. It's hard to claim. That's what we want.
I find that when we talked over the phone, we had that conversation. You were pretty free with how you shared and everything. So I figured, maybe it'll be the same.
Probably. I'm just overthinking the interview process. I read up on your previous interviews and definitely want to ensure im cautious about grammar
Oh, not necessarily. You do not have to be grammatically correct.
I know. They're not, they shouldn't have to. This is just the wanting to be perfect thing that happens for me. Yeah, that I'm trying to come out of
Sometimes it's good to be perfectionist.
It is. Sometimes I mean, at the end of the day, it makes you very meticulous in terms of what you want, especially for your craft. I mean, let's say you're coming up with an EP, right? If you just go all willy nilly, you never know what's going to happen. Yeah, right. Sometimes it's just like, Hey, no. Work on that over again. Let's do that again. Just get the right thing.
So let's see. First question. When did you first come into the realization that you had a gift?
When I was starting to get feedback. After a show, I would get pulled to the side. They would tell me “you did something to me.. while you're up there like that did something you don't even know! I started hearing Oh my god, you're such a good singer all the time. People started saying things like “your voice made me cry or making comments about my tone and how healing it is, that's when it sunk in
I feel like that when you're a singer; one, you have to feel comfortable enough to actually sing in front of a crowd. What was your level of confidence when you were younger?
I grew up in church. They always encourage you at church to do what you're good at. So I think just naturally, I've always been okay with getting on stage. I remember being too young to sing on the choir but still on the choir anyhow. My mom's best friend was the choir director, she would always encourage RaeAnn to have the mic in her hand. i remember being called a “solo hog”
So you sort of have a similar startup to most of the popular singers that are out there.
Yeah. They started in the church. And the church, they hold you. And they encourage your gift... To a certain point (laughter). to a certain point for me, I guess I could say.
Alright, cool. Cool. Cool. So started off in church, but the level of confidence was still there at that point. Who do you look to as as inspiration?
I don't really study artists. I don't know a lot of musicians life stories.. Beyonce has always been my favorite as a child. I love Teyana Taylor, because she's also a mom. I love PJ Morton just for his style. And he gives that churchy vibe. Um, yeah, there's a lot. There's that Tobe I don't know how to say his last name.
Yeah, there you go. I love him because he’s very real and raw. It’s what we need to hear right now. Like, if I can picture myself working with someone, it would be them.
It's funny. Because you're saying this. And later on, I was gonna ask you who would be a dream collaboration...
Yeah, just people that are actually aligned with.. truth. They’re parents, they care about the upbringing of their children. The children are very much intertwined with everything they do. I see the same for myself.
Like a BadBoy video?
Yeah, like, it's cool to do that. I want to make sure that if I'm really going to be using this gift, it's to inspire, encourage, it's to heal. It's to teach. Yeah.
You’re answering my questions before I ask them (laughter)
(laughter) Good! Well, that's great (laughter). I know that there's something about my voice that is healing. I can see in my own personal life, how much healing is necessary. So if I'm going to give anything right now, it's going to be that. It's going to encourage you to heal. It's going to help you heal. It’s going to aid in breakthroughs, It's gonna be helpful.That's what I know for now.
Yeah. So, you’re name is RaeAnn.
Yeah, my name is Rae-Ann.
You go by Sunraae as a stage name.
I used to be BluRaae. I would get it all the time..”you're such a ray of sunshine”. A year and a half ago i changed it for me. As a person who lets their light shine wherever they go.. i started to need the light for myself.
I like that you’re speaking about healing. Because through our conversation, I feel like you seem to be going through a rebirth. Like with a new purpose. Right? What was your energy like before?
Before this rebirth. Before this new purpose.
Oh, I feel like I've been through a few rebirths. When my daughter turned 5, another rebirth came. Recurring rebirths and I'm grateful.
It’s basically evolution.
Yeah, it's just constant. And I'm grateful for it. I was sitting in a space for such a long time where I felt like it wasn't growing, or at least my internal growth wasn’t enough. I felt like the internal glow was happening but it wasn't enough to show for. Scrolling on social media, had me comparing my growth to what people were posting. I really wanted to rush my process. But now that I'm here.. i feel better.
You felt like you're like basically...
So tell me, with the new purpose, what triggered it?
I don't think there's a new purpose. I think the purpose just stayed the same. I think it just takes time. And before you can do anything, and anything for anyone.. you have to be everything for yourself. I had and still have a lot of work to do. The people I'm looking at on social media do not have kids. My workload is different. I found myself comparing myself to people that had no kids, people that could wake up and work on their craft all day. People that could have a 12 hour studio session. That's not my life. So it took a lot of reassuring myself that It looks different for everybody.
It's more than just coming out and just singing any song. With my stagnancy, it was a lot of self talk, and just assuring myself that everything in it’s time. I'm still not singing, I'm still not recording... There's a few features i have.. nothing for myself. I got to be okay first.Annora’s got to be okay. I gotta make sure I'm a great Mother before i can be anything else.
Um, well, you answered the next question. Cuz you described what your purpose was.
I did? What did I say?
You said that the purpose had not changed. And the purpose was to become a singer, right?
I want to sing..but with purpose and aligned intention. Right now, my focus is healing. As a mother its important that i dont blindly continue the cycles of what came before me. I know that my purpose is to sit in every stage of my healing, because in my family.. what i'm doing is foreign. .Having a child made me super analytical about all that we come from. Our parents were raised by people who were taught to survive. They had no time for healing. My daughter is here to change my life, as she chose me to guide her through hers. I’ve been heavily obsessed with being better and I know that I'm to encourage others to be more mindful and include healing in their success story. Mental health stands out for me right now. I was molested as a child, raped in my late teens. My heart hurts for the youth that is judged but not held. A lot of them have parents and people around them that aren't equipped to see or hold space for them. Mothers that do most or all of the parenting alone, keeping it together but dying inside. It was me. I know music is definitely going to be apart of my journey, i also feel the need to highlight the real pain that is happening that no one wants to talk about.
You're very detailed with your answers. I mean, you're pretty expressive. But, you know, I was gonna ask, how would you say motherhood changed you?
I think about my childhood and all the things my parents could've done better. ive been trying extra hard not to mess up my child since i know about the generational things we can pass on without knowing. I wont lie,. I'm much more anxious and much more worrisome. With time I'm learning to let go and allow this journey to teach me because i dont and wont have it all together. Nobody knows what they are doing and that’s actually okay. Motherhood has given me drive and purpose, it has matured me. My siblings think im cool. My brother was telling me how he told someone that he thinks im cool and I remember feeling so good about that. My sister speaks well of me as well she thinks i should write a book!
What is the best compliment you’ve gotten from a fan?
The best compliment?
Wow, none that I can remember right now. I'm trying to think of... I'm not gonna lie. My friends are very expressive. And they do love me, very loudly. So I am grateful for that.
So you have a core group that basically supports you.
I wouldnt say a core group.. yet! No matter where I go, I am supported and I'm grateful for that. Having a tribe is very important. Yesterday I had a party to celebrate my daughters birthday. I got two messages at the same time, “I really love you as a mom”. The other one said, girl look at you! You're such a super Mom! Balancing all the things. Planned your daughters party and took time to step aside to have your therapy session in the next room!” I had a gitl come in to do activities with the kids while i handled my online therapy session. Sometimes were so focused on the next thing, we forget to stop and celebrate all that weve done so far.
Now being a mom... Being an artist, how do you navigate romance?
(laughter) WHAT IS ROMANCE? It's nonexistent
Well, hold on. Because you say it’s nonexistent. I'm sure you are at times either by scrolling thorough or even walking around, you find yourself in the presence of individuals that you find attractive. Right? And you being also an attractive woman, I'm sure individuals approach you.
No, I don't get approached. That's not a thing.
Hold up. We met...
When did you meet me?
We met at Reckless Arts Collective. I was taking pictures there. And I saw you I mean, again like I said, attractive woman.
Okay. I don't get approached maybe. No. No, not really. No.
Im not sure how dating works anymore, I'm open.. but more focused on self. The online dating things a little scary
They suck. Yeah, they suck.
Yeah. I don't know how to maneuver. I’ve tried to pray and ask God and Amazon Prime to do some magic and have my person delivered to my door. I’m not desperate. It would be interesting to date. I feel all I am is a mom. I'm most focused on myself.
One day, eventually, it’s coming. You have your mom thing. You have your career thing. But what is it that you do to make RaeAnn happy. To put a smile on RaeAnn’s face?
My first answer is being out in nature!
Yeah. That's my thing.
From our phone conversation, I could tell.
Yeah. Yeah, I'm just always outside. And I don't know if that's what RaeAnn does to make her happy and smile. Or if that's just what RaeAnn needs to even be rejuvenated. I love all things outside and i enjoy trying new things. I want to go on a boat, I've been manifesting making friends that have boats (laughter) I wanted to go parasailing. Outside adventures make me smile, like real life blushing happens, i catch myself all the time! Nature is where God is.
All right. Of the things you've experienced, right? Everything you've experienced, what do you wish for her to experience? What would you like for her to avoid?
I want her to experience self love, from a young age. I want her to experience childhood with the least worries possible. I want her to travel and see different parts of the world. I want her to experience support and safety, with her parents. When she's growing through something, she knows that she doesn't need to hide anything from us. I want her to avoid feeling like her body doesn't belong to her, i want her to avoid being taken advantage of, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I cant think of much right now on the spot, but those are important.
What is an advice that you would give to someone who wants to go into... Basically that’s experienced what you've experienced, that has gone through what you've gone through?
Talk about it. Pretending it doesn't exist is only going to kill you. Make sure you have people to talk to while you heal. Healing.. It's a lot of work. But it's worth it. I don't know. I'm not a good advice giver (laughter).
I mean, you've experienced some shit. So you could let people know.
It was hard for me to own my story. I used to heavily depend on people's opinions to validate my experiences.. you see how crazy that sounds? My story couldn’t feel real until it was validated. I’ve been painted to be crazy, or that my perception of a situation is faulty, all because the truth was a harder pill to swallow. Therapy. Therapy helped me not be swayed by people as much as I was before. Therapy validates you, challenges you, holds you accountable, helps you see yourself and helps you make better decisions.