There was a collective gasp as Winnipeggers saw Rayannah’s breath expelled on-screen for the first time in the music video for her single, “Boxcar Lullabies.”
At once stunning, raw, and quintessentially Winnipeg, the beautifully produced “Boxcar Lullabies” video launched Rayannah into a new league right in time for her debut EP release.
Her breath is an appropriate focal point; Rayannah’s voice has carved her career to this point and lent itself to commanding her first instrument: loop pedals.
“I’ve always been a vocalist – that’s my first love,” says Rayannah, who studied jazz voice. “But I kind of had a yearning to be a part of a band.
“Since I’ve started playing the pedals, I feel more like part of the band.”
Rayannah often is her own band: she imaginatively layers beat boxing, synths, percussion, and melodic harmonies to form complete songs that can be carried on their own, or incorporate new instruments. Her Boxcar Lullabies EP features strings, piano, train sounds and double basses accompanying her vocal creations.
Beginning to experiment with loop pedals just three years ago, “Boxcar Lullabies” is a tight display of her craft, grown in force and impact by the supporting sounds.
At her EP release party in May, at its peak, she had eight string players onstage with her. “I just wanted to go with the most exciting possible version – the biggest, most extravagant,” she says.
As with her EP, certain songs are stripped down, but she didn’t shy away from spectacle and grandeur. “There’s one song where there must be my voice coming through 30 times,” she says.
Rayannah started her career a little backward, touring before having recorded material to promote – but her commanding stage presence is ready to support a record she’s proud of, that matches her enthusiasm for live performance.
“For me, recording and performing is so, so different… (The EP) felt like I was making art there as much as I am when I’m performing or playing a show.
“When really everyone in the room is feeling the same thing – that’s the moment that I’m living for.”
Based on the reaction to her video premiere, everyone is really feelin’ Rayannah.
In true Winnipeg fashion, the crisp and neatly produced look came across with the help of just her longtime friend and videographer, Jonathan Stanners, and her sister, visual artist Caro LaFlamme. “We had just a giant list of ideas and kind of went at it,” she says. The scenes are dynamic, with authentic Winnipeg landmarks locals can pick out.
“It’s about our city in a lot of ways,” says Rayannah, of the single. “I just wanted to be really honest with my video. It’s actually shot in my living room for a lot of cases… and the rest is places that I go, that I cross super frequently.”
Though other cities’ residents can relate to the dirt- and snow-filled beginnings of spring, the awkward in-between dress of sopping weather, and a morning coffee steaming in a ceramic mug, the song and video is an ode to the city Rayannah loves to call home.
“Without making it this utopia, for me, it feeds everything that I need it to feed, and it is everything that I need it to be.
“I have no plans to uproot home in the near future.”
Though her two feet are firmly planted in the city, Rayannah’s taste for travel gave her momentum as a performer.
“I was going travelling and I was like, ‘Maybe I can do some shows.’
“It kind of happened organically… the tours have gotten more and more extensive.”
With the EP release, her goals are similarly humble, with unlimited potential to pick up steam. “I think the EP is going to open up doors for me in the (touring) department.
“I want to get it into as many ears as possible,” she says.
Visit http://www.rayannah.ca for more on Rayannah’s music.