Ravyn Lenae
Photo: Jimmy Fontaine

When Ravyn Lenae graduates from the Chicago High School for the Arts on May 30, she’ll do so with an Atlantic Records deal. The 18-year-old South Sider has built a rabid following with her breezy R&B sound, which recently earned her a spot touring with rapper Noname. Ahead of her set at the Bronzeville festival Mamby on the Beach on June 24, Lenae talks about life as a teenage musician.

On balancing school and music

The older I get, the harder it becomes. When I do have spare time to write, I’m tempted to spend it napping. On top of senioritis, I’ve had a hard time focusing while on tour this year. Luckily, my teachers at ChiArts are artists themselves. They’ve been lenient on late work.

On her first major tour

The lack of sleep overwhelmed me. In one city, I almost boarded the wrong plane. The lady scanned my boarding pass, and I was two feet down the jet bridge before she yelled, “Ma’am, unless you want to go to Arizona, this is not your flight!”

On her post–high school plans

I’d love to dive into a full-length project, but it could take a while. My creative juices flow seasonally.