Ravyn Lenae Credit: courtesy the artist

In 2013 LA collective cum indie label Soulection launched a digital white-label series, dropping an EP by local beat maker Monte Booker in October 2015. For that EP’s closer “Baby” Booker recruited Chicago R&B singer Ravyn Lenae—a fellow member of local collective Zero Fatigue, along with ascending rapper Smino—whose luminescent vocals playfully swerve around fluttering Spanish guitars. Roughly a year later Soulection, which also produces events and runs a clothing company, interviewed Lenae for its radio show, and during the program she talked about finding the right balance between her budding career and her education at Chicago High School for the Arts: “It’s superhard juggling that with lack of sleep and regular personal issues—and then music issues.” Those struggles, fortunately, don’t bleed into her work—she gracefully handles the complex, loose-limbed instrumentals on her debut, Moon Shoes, suggesting that she’s been navigating these odd, burbling pulses since birth. Moon Shoes originally came out as free download in 2015, but last summer Lenae rereleased it through Flossmoor-based label Three Twenty Three Music Group with a couple brief bonus tracks. From the start the EP is a knockout, with Lenae layering her yearning vocals into a palpitating pattern on opener “Venezuela Trains.”   v