Rae Leviné on Tears Fall, Passion Swims

Rae Lev­iné, spo­ken word poet and writer, kicks off 2018 with the release her first EP, titled Tears Fall, Pas­sion Swims.

Lev­iné has tak­en on big social issues with her work in the last 18 months, includ­ing gun vio­lence and a trib­ute to those lost in the trag­ic fire at Gren­fell Tow­er. But on her debut EP, she’s stepped back to reflect on her own jour­ney and her men­tal health.

Not for the first time, Lev­iné has brave­ly fought through depres­sion and anx­i­ety in mak­ing this work, which is a pos­i­tive new rea­son for oth­ers fac­ing hard times to hold on. Lev­iné told Fringe Fre­quen­cy a bit about the process of mak­ing her first EP and what she hopes lis­ten­ers take away from it.

“This is for that someone out there who may be afraid to speak out, because they can relate to my story, but are worried they’re alone. I want to let them know they’re not alone at all.” – Rae Leviné

Where did this EP start its life?
It’s always been some­thing I’ve want­ed to do, but a lot of things got the bet­ter of me. Around ear­ly Feb­ru­ary 2017, the idea blos­somed, but, men­tal­ly, a lot things were hold­ing me back. So, it stayed an idea until ear­ly June. That’s when I start­ed writ­ing drafts of EP titles, cre­at­ing ideas for the poems and get­ting in touch with pro­duc­ers, engi­neers, graph­ic design­ers and stuff.

Who pro­duced the music for the EP?
Two of my very tal­ent­ed friends pro­duced the music: Won­da (who’s also known as ‘AyWondaYou’reAnAlien’). I was very hap­py to get him on this EP. The sounds he sent me rep­re­sent­ed exact­ly what I want my lis­ten­ers to feel. He has pre­vi­ous­ly worked with Cadet, Krept and Konan, Bonkaz and loads more artists.

And Mxl­low. He’s a friend from col­lege, I nev­er knew he pro­duced until we got into con­ver­sa­tions about the EP and he sent me some stuff. I was absolute­ly excit­ed about his sound – it fit­ted per­fect­ly and was the exact vibe I want­ed for it.

Poet­ry has a very dif­fer­ent pow­er when deliv­ery face-to-face. But you man­age to keep that emo­tion­al impact alive in your record­ed poet­ry. How do you keep the essence of your poet­ry alive in a process like this?
Every­thing was done remote­ly. Both pro­duc­ers I know per­son­al­ly, so it was eas­i­er to get the sounds I want­ed and for us to be on the same page quick­er. I described the type of sound I want­ed – the ambi­ence, the vibe – and from that, I record­ed to a selec­tion of dif­fer­ent beats and end­ed up pick­ing which one worked well for me, and the one I felt hap­pi­est with!

As for main­tain­ing focus on my poet­ry through­out, I make sure my tim­ing and pitch flow cor­rect­ly, accord­ing to the beat. For exam­ple, if the beat is fast-paced, I’ll flow with it and fol­low that lead. How­ev­er, if it’s slow, I’ll flow accord­ing to that. Over­time, I’ve learnt to let the beat just car­ry my words and not over pow­er it, so that the music is sim­ply a pawn to my words.

What was the tough­est chal­lenge in cre­at­ing the EP?
I think the tough­est chal­lenge was the mate­r­i­al itself and decid­ing how hon­est and vul­ner­a­ble I real­ly want­ed to be, and what I want­ed to show to the world, in a sense. I’ve rewrit­ten many drafts to all the poems, some more sug­ar-coat­ed than oth­ers and some more raw, writ­ten in my moments of tears, anger and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. I decid­ed to go with the vul­ner­a­ble drafts in the end, because I know there’s so much beau­ty in being hon­est with our feel­ings. And some­one out there will be able to relate and, hope­ful­ly, be thank­ful that they don’t feel alone in it.

What is the impor­tance of this EP for you?
Main­ly to get my mes­sage across about men­tal health – specif­i­cal­ly for me, it’s my depres­sion and anx­i­ety – self-love and every­thing else in between that we, as humans, face. I called it Tears Fall, Pas­sions Swims because that what it was: I was drown­ing in a lot of neg­a­tiv­i­ty, and, more so, self-doubt dur­ing the cre­ative process. It was only hav­ing the abil­i­ty to write and find­ing the strength to express it through poems that made me realise that my pas­sion will always win, and it helps me stay afloat when I feel like I’m drown­ing and struggling.

It’s almost like a let­ter to my sup­port­ers and fans, let­ting them know this is some­thing I went through dur­ing this peri­od of time, and I’m com­ing back big­ger and bet­ter. If there’s any­thing that you’re going through, under­stand you’re not alone and you will get through it, step by step.

In a sense, I think the beau­ty and impor­tance of it, is that. This is for me to under­stand that my art and gift, that I’ve been blessed with, has a pur­pose to change my own life and oth­ers around me. This is also for that some­one out there who may be afraid to speak out, because they can relate to my expe­ri­ence and sto­ry, but are wor­ried they’re alone. I want to let them know they’re not alone at all.

Tears Fall, Pas­sion Swims by Rae Lev­iné is released on Jan­u­ary 26, 2018. It can be pur­chased from iTunes.

Image: Ven­ture Promoter