Born and bred in Los Angeles, California, the R&B newcomer isn’t new to the entertainment industry. Before signing, she appeared on several TV shows and made a name for herself as a voice over artist at only 16-years-old. Stepping away from the cameras, towards the stage and studio, Brown began to establish herself as a “demo” artist and backup singer. She’s worked with the likes of industry heavyweights Rico Love and Kara DioGuardi and lent background vocals for her idol Brandy (going on tour with her as well), Jennifer Hudson, Keri Hilson, Celine Dion, and Keyshia Cole, to name a few. With dreams of one day singing at the forefront, RaVaughn kept her eyes on the prize, stayed focus, and kept on singing until her big break came at the hands of her mentor Ne-Yo.
After working with Brown in the studio recording demos, Ne-Yo quickly saw a star in the young demo artist and was ready to ink a deal with her a few demo sessions later. With her laid-back style, vocal talent, and women empowerment ambitions, RaVaughn Brown is an artist to look out for.
Learn more about the artist, signing with Ne-Yo, her new single “Better be Good” featuring Wale, future collaborations, her shopping habits and more.
Her inspiration to sing professionally...I decided I wanted to sing or be a singer when I heard the “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”. I was like 'up this is it, this is what I want to do.'
Musical Influences...I used to listen to Anita Baker, I played the piano too so my parents were always like, ‘this is what you could do,’ so I listened to Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, and Brandy. Brandy was like a huge influence, just because I know in my later years she helped when I was trying to find my own vibe; she’s from Carson, I’m from Carson too.
Her Idol Brandy’s new album “Two Eleven”...I was actually on tour with her when she did the Human tour and I love this album… my favorite, favorite Brandy album is “Full Moon.” I think that she, when we were on tour with her, came in and said that “Full Moon” is one of her absolute favorite. I really like this, I was super excited when this one came out and I was like ‘this is the Brandy that I know.’
Meeting Ne-Yo for the first time...Meeting Ne-Yo for the first time was really crazy actually because I didn’t know I was going to meet him. I got called in to do a demo for a producer I had worked with before and he asked me if I could do a demo for him. I was just leaving another session so it was pretty late and he was like, ‘the writer won’t be here tomorrow can you please come tonight,’ and it was like 11 o’clock and I was like ‘okay I’ll come in.’ He didn’t tell me who the writer was and I walk in the kitchen of the studio and Ne-Yo’s sitting at the table and I was like ‘wow’ and he was like ‘hey mama,’ and I was like ‘wow’ so it was just so unexpected, so dope, and I love him as a writer and an artist so it was just crazy to actually be in a studio singing the songs that he actually wrote.
Signing to Compound University...It was actually not like a set day, he called me in to do a couple more demos after the first time I worked with him. The third demo that I did for him my mom actually went to the studio with me and I remember being in Westlake in L.A., and he told my mom ‘I’m getting ready to congratulate your daughter on being the newest signee on Compound off the record’, because it wasn’t done yet, but he was like ‘we’re going to make it happen.’
Advice from Ne-Yo...I don’t know if he’s given me actual verbal advice, I mean he’s definitely given me tons of advice, but what speaks to me the most is just in his actions. Just like what he does and his work ethic is so incredible and he’s so humble and so dedicated and he just loves to do what he does. It doesn’t matter if he can’t sleep for days, you know, he’ll go to the studio, do something with me, and do something for himself and then get on a flight and go somewhere else and get ready for a show. It’s just incredible to me that he can do that. You know, be away from your family and still be dedicated, have a good time, and actually enjoy what it is that you’re doing. I think his work ethic is what keeps me going and to be able to just watch him and know that I’m his protégé is like incredible so that does it for me.
RaVaughn the artist...I am fun, I’m relatable, I think I tell every woman’s story in every one of my songs. I think that everyone can kind of tap into a place and time in their life that I’m actually singing a song about. I feel like when I listen to music, if I hear a song that I can relate to I fall in love with the song because it’s like, ‘this song is talking about me, this is my song.’ I think that for me as an artist, I want to have fun and be an advocate for women and just women empowerment. I want to start a women’s movement so all the women can come together and be friends instead of hating on each other all the time.
What she brings to the table...I feel like history always repeats itself and I feel like anytime someone comes into the game it’s just a revamp of something else. I just feel like I’m giving something fresh and I’m taking from Brandy and Mary J., and Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Alicia Keys; I’m taking something that I’ve learned from all of them and kind of bringing it together and making it my own.
Her latest single “Better Be Good.”...I think that people will love it for one because Wale is on it, which is so dope, it’s one of the reasons I love it, but just the story that it’s telling. It’s telling a guy you know, if I’m going to give you me and if I’m going to give energy and everything I have to offer then great you better treat me right because so many times guys want us to give them the world and they don’t want to give anything back to us, so it’s like no ‘you better be good to me too. You not getting anything if your not good to me.’
Listen to "Better Be Good" featuring Wale
Putting Wale on the track...Actually, we went down a line of people we were considering and I have two managers, my mom co-manages and then Lenny F. also manages me and he has a really good relationship with Wale and Wale has done a feature on another song that I have and he has always come through and Lenny was like ‘Wale for this record.’ We sent it to him and it was during hurricane Sandy and he was traveling and touring and stuff so for him to find the time to actually get on the record through all the drama that was going on and with his busy schedule and he sent it back to us in like two days so it was like super dope.
Working on her debut album...It’s been amazing, it’s like surreal. I’ve done backgrounds for Kerri Hilson, Keyshia Cole, and Brandy, and demos for a whole bunch of people so I’m used to going in and doing stuff for other people, so now that it’s actually for me, I have to remind myself like, ‘wait a minute this is my record, like I’m keeping this.’ So it’s just a wonderful experience after singing for so long, it’s just the dream that has come true, what I’ve worked so hard for and now it’s here so sometimes I have to remind myself this is really happening.
Working in the studio with J.Cole...He is the coolest guy ever. So laid back, really down to earth. We vibed out and hung out and my team was there, his team was there and we just worked. Marsha Ambrosius came and Elijah, he used to go by Redd Stylez, Elijah Blake, he came in and we got four songs done, but now the hard part is choosing which one of those songs is going to be on the record.
Dream collaborators...J.Cole was definitely one, when I signed with Columbia they asked me who I wanted to work with on this album, if I wanted to get any features and one of the people I actually requested specifically, outside of Ne-Yo, was J.Cole so to actually get in with him was …and weird because it was so close to the end of recording so I was super excited about it. But who would I like to work with outside of that? Alicia Keys, I think she’s just extremely talented and I feel like all her songs tell stories, Brandy because I’ve looked up to her and actually got to work with her so to actually sing a song with her would be dope to.
Acting in her future...Yeah, actually before I started singing, I danced and I acted so I definitely want to tap back into that, but I want to focus on music because I don’t want to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. I’m going to focus on one thing and as this develops and it gets better and I get a good fan base and people are loving the music then I can take it into the next realm of acting. I feel like when I do shows on the road, I use what I’ve learned from the acting and dancing. I want people to leave my show feeling like they've experienced something, I want to give people an experience. I want people to leave like ‘wow’. I feel like Beyonce does that in every element.
RaVaughn Brown’s latest single “Better Be Good” featuring Wale is out on iTunes now.