“Tomboy” by Princess Nokia blared through the speakers as a disco ball turned, beckoning Lenae to appear on stage. She played all of the songs off her recent EP, Crush, created with super-producer and musician Steve Lacy. Her voice was simply illustrious in the intimate confines of Lincoln Hall, where a screen above our heads showcased a cosmic backdrop, adding to the ambiance and the vibe.
It was clear that she was happy to be reunited with her hometown, as she called out to her day ones, mused about Chicago memories, and realized how much things had changed for her since she released her first EP, Moon Shoes, back in 2016. Two years can change a lot and also add to what you’ve already created. Lenae had a solid fan base from the start, and two years later, has emerged even more confident and content, as described when she talked about catching feelings and falling in love with her current boyfriend, the drummer in her band.
“Don’t ever settle for less than what you deserve. You are special and deserve to be treated as such,” she mused, grinning all the while.
The set went for 50 minutes (my sole complaint—more Ravyn Lenae, please!), where she wove through her discography and played favorites like “Sticky,” “Thirst,” and a finale of “Free Room,” her danceable song that she collaborated on with Appleby.
She returned for an encore to sing a brief, yet powerful classical operatic song, which in her words reminded her of moonlight glistening on the water. While it was a departure from her typical sound, it showed just what a talent Lenae is: versatile, with a voice that can stop you in your tracks. Welcome home, Ravyn.