Von LaRae is a United States, Indianapolis based musician, composer and producer who is well versed in the arts of alternate r&b music. Von LaRae has just released an original album titled “The Art Of Sex”. We had a few questions and answers where LaRae greatly expressed a fascinating glimpse into their life, music, aspirations, and current song. Below are exclusive details on Von LaRae and their new release.
What is the story behind the name Von LaRae?
Well, my name is DaVon and my middle name is LaRae. This was around the time where I actually started to fall in love with how unique my name was. I tried for a couple weeks to come up with a different stage name, but I felt that using my own name gave a little bit more transparency for me as an artist. I didn’t want a persona. Thinking about a different name that wasn’t mine made me feel like I would have to sort of turn into a caricature of myself to uphold the image people get in their minds when they would see a name that was not my own. Funny story, the day I settled on Von LaRae, my friend and I were just on the phone testing it out saying, “Do you listen to Von LaRae? Have you heard Von LaRae’s new song?”. Clearly, we thought it had a nice ring to it.
When did you decide to pursue music as a career?
My entire life has been music. When my brother and I were little, we would just sit in my room and I would write random melodies while he wrote raps. I think at the time it gave my adolescent brain the freedom to just explore music and interpret it how I wanted to. I remember performing songs in my kitchen with the remote in my hand, pretending I was in front of thousands. I used to practice writing my signature over and over as if I was at a meet and greet. Hilarious, right? Music has always been me. At the end of my freshman year of college, I finally made the decision to actually tackle music as an official recording artist.
How would you describe the music you typically create?
This has always been a hard question to answer. If I had to classify my music, I would say Alt RnB. I started my career with more of a Lo-fi vibe to it. I think my music as a whole is more than just one defined sound. I like to experiment and push my artistry. I love RnB, but I also really love Pop, Afro-beats, Pop Trap, House, and electronic music to name a few.
Who (living or dead) inspires and motivates you as an artist and why?
If we are talking about other musicians, I would say artists such as Banks, Ariana Grande, Halsey, and The 1975 have been really influential to my music. Banks has been my biggest songwriting inspiration. The way she tells stories and the dark ambience behind the lyrics and melodies have always been something that made me go, “That’s what I wanna say! I wanna write like that!”. Ariana Grande made me fall in love with vocal producing. In my songs, I love to build layers and different countermelodies and she was a major inspiration in beginning to find and create my own unique sound. As a choir kid growing up, this felt so comfortable and natural for me when finding what I wanted to do with my voice.
How would you describe your creative process?
Normally, I start with some type of instrument melody. It can take me forever to find or come up with a melody that makes me go, “Ah, I like that!” I can never start a song unless I can hear something and immediately start imagining a thousand different voices and melodies in my head. Whenever I get that feeling, I ride that wave and buckle down. I’ll come up with a topic and then build the song around the hook. Depending on the type of song, sometimes the entire song could just flow out in like 30 minutes. I really just bank on that initial feeling I have when I am automatically connected with a track.
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who listen to your music?
Music is subjective, ya know? I don’t know what my listeners will feel or think when they hear it. I try not to have really high expectations because I don’t want how I make music, the type of music I make, or how I feel about my music to be based on other people’s opinions. I just really hope that people can relate to the album and find a song or two that makes them feel like it was written for them, or that they are going through the same thing. I really hope that when people listen to my music, more than anything, they will feel the love and vulnerability poured into each track.
How best can you describe the music atmosphere in Indianapolis, Indiana?
Honestly, I can’t really say too much about the music scene of Indianapolis as there isn’t a huge one that I have seen. Also, I really got my musical start in New Orleans, Louisiana when I moved to college. If you know anything about New Orleans, music is the heartbeat. The circuit there is amazing and there is always something new and different happening everywhere around the city. It’s such a safe space and there is room for all different types of artists to thrive. The NOLA circuit is also really great for networking, especially at my school, Loyola University of New Orleans, where music students come from all over the world, not just in the states.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
I love spending time outside in nature. I’m always on an adventure going somewhere. I have always loved to dance and that is one of my favorite things to do daily. It’s like a form of meditation for me. I’m always writing poetry, even if it’s not for a song. I’m also such a horror movie fan, so I love to just sit around with a big bowl of popcorn and scream at the screen for an hour and a half.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
This moment happened towards the beginning of my career. After I released my single ‘Willow’, I woke up to a message in my DM. One of my favorite YouTubers growing up, who really helped me as a child in beginning to find myself, told me that they loved my music. They told me that I was gonna do something really great one day and that they will be watching from the sidelines. It’s crazy to think that now they follow me and interact with me from time to time. It was truly a full circle moment.
Which musician would you like to collaborate with?
I don’t have any particular artists in mind, but I would love to continue meeting local artists and collaborating with them because as an independent artist, I feel like we should be pushing each other and trying to help each other get to that next level together in this dog-eat-dog world of a music industry.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
I would love to change the focus back to the source, the music. Nowadays, the industry isn’t built on whether or not your music is good or has meaning, it is built on data. I don’t like having to base when or how I put out my music on having the most likes on TikTok. To actually make it in the music industry, it’s more about an online presence and personality rather than talent or musicianship. I really think this has shifted the type of music that comes out nowadays. I think we are straying away from music that tells a story, music that makes listeners come back to it years later and see it as an artistic staple in someone’s discography.
What is your release “The Art Of Sex” about?
This album is about how addiction and intimacy intertwine. I really put emphasis on the storytelling aspect of the album and making sure I could really make my vision as accurate as I imagined. Over the course of the album, you see someone who is addicted and not recognizing or understanding the different layers of intimacy. You see then, how one addiction can manifest itself in another, in this case, another person. In the end, it seems that this character has grown, however they are kinda left with the same feelings that they had at the beginning of the record. The theme feeds back into itself and creates this cyclical narrative, like an addiction. It’s more than songs in sexual nature, it is a labyrinth of emotions that seem to have no end.
Who and how many people worked on it?
This was a completely solo project. Aside from the outro of ‘SPEED RACER’ which came to be with the help from one of my best friends, Tre’Vaughn Webster, there was no other outside input on the record. I made almost the entire project in my dorm room and some of it in the backseat of my aunt’s car, “Hi Auntie!”. The project was made over the course of 9 months and, because of my perfectionist nature, was not completely finished until just days before its release. I really just wanted people to hear me as an engineer, producer, and vocal producer… as I am now.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I could never take a break even if I wanted to because my creative spirit is always taking in new information and transforming it into a melody or a mood for something. Right now though, I am working on a new EP and some singles. Also, I have been starting to collaborate with other artists, making some really dope records. I don’t plan to stay gone for too long, so people should definitely expect some new music at the end of the summer, fingers crossed.
If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
Be kind. Be loving. Be vulnerable. Don’t let fear stop you from reaching your dreams. You never know, a leap of faith can be the one thing that changes your life forever, no matter what it is you want to do.