Interview with Indie-Folk Solo Artist Raven Shelley

By Mick Michaels


The Cosmick View: Hello, and welcome to The Cosmick View/MBM Ten Pounder! Thanks for taking some time to chat with us! 
Raven Shelley: Hey, thanks for having me!

CV: Describe your definition of your sound and style and how does that definition uniquely describe the music?
RS: I’d say I write ethereal and poetic alt//indie-folk songs. I have a really broad range of influences, but the thing that links them all is good quality lyrics – that’s something I try and achieve too.

CV: Today, everyone talks about artist and audience connection. Is such a level of connection actually achievable for an artist and if so, how have you made the connection to your fans?
RS: I think it is, though it’s probably harder the more well known you become, since you’ll have more and more fans across the globe and one to one interaction will become harder. I tend to talk to people at my gigs quite a bit, so I think that’s a really good way of connecting. Social media has also made things a lot easier, because you can just chat to people who are on the other side of the world but who like your music.

CV: Is fan interaction an important part of your inner culture?
RS: It’s important to me, because I love it when people like my music. It makes me feel good that it has meant something to someone; someone told me that ‘Sink in Solitude’, my debut release, made them feel at peace with the world when they listened to it, and that was great, because it means that someone actually felt something.

CV: Can an artist truly interact with its fans and still maintain a level of personal privacy without crossing the line and giving up their “personal space” in your opinion?
RS: You could probably write a thesis about that! I mean I think it depends how much of a private person you are anyway. To some extent you inhabit different roles and personas in different situations, and with different people. So if your musical/stage persona is different to who you are in your personal life, then I don’t think you have to give up much personal space and privacy to interact authentically with your fans.

CV: Is music, and its value, viewed differently around the world in your opinion?  If so, what do you see as the biggest difference in such multiple views among various cultures?
RS: I think music is a kind of universal language, which transcends everything, so even if you don’t understand each other’s words, you can still understand something through music. And the variation of musical traditions within cultures is staggering. It’s a whole area of study in itself.

CV: Do you feel that an artist who has an international appeal, will tend to connect more so to American audiences? Would they be more enticed or intrigued to see that artist over indigenous acts because of the foreign flavor?
RS: I’m not American, so I honestly don’t know…haha. If a band has international appeal, often that includes America anyway…since it’s so important in the musical market.

CV: Has modern-day digital technology made everyone an artist on some level in your opinion? Have the actual lines of what really is an artist been blurred?
RS: It’s certainly made it possible for many people to create something – whether that’s art and whether they’re an artist is an entirely different question. It makes me think of Christopher Hitchens, who purportedly said something like “Everyone has a book in them, and it most cases that’s where it should stay” – I do think there’s something in that…haha.

I mean, in some ways, it’s great that you can record a whole album in your bedroom, and it means that there’s far fewer “mute, inglorious Miltons”. On the other hand, I think there’s now been a shift in what we consider to be ‘Art’, so you have people claiming that an unmade bed with a load of crap strewn over it (not that I’m thinking of anyone in particular here, of course…) is equal to – or even better than – a technically very good painting like
Hylas and the Nymphs, or The Raft of the Medusa. And it’s just not. That applies to music and literature too, of course. 

CV: How would you describe the difference between an artist who follows trends and one who sets them?
RS: I’d say if someone is setting a trend then it suggests they don’t want to follow one which is already there, and so they may have a more unique and creative outlook on life, with more independent ideas…less willing to follow the herd.

CV: Has music overall been splintered into too many sub-genres in an effort to appease fan tastes in your opinion? And has such fan appeasements, in actuality, weakened music’s impact as a whole by dividing audiences?
RS: I don’t think it’s in an effort to appease tastes; personally I find it quite hard to categorize music, and I’m not really bothered about what category it is anyway, so long as I like it. I think categorization has grown more important because of the algorithms on streaming services, which need to know what genre stuff fits into so they can recommend it to listeners who like similar stuff. But if the music has any substance, then I doubt that categorizing it will weaken its impact…it shouldn’t do, anyway.

CV: What can fans expect to see coming next from you?
RS: I’ve got 4 more singles coming out in the next few months. The next one is called ‘Do You Miss Me Yet?’ and it’s out in September. I wrote it when I was really angry with someone, and I thought ‘What would I really like to say to them? I mean really, if no one was ever going to read it, if no one could judge me for how I felt, what would I want to say?’ I had no intention of turning it into a song initially, but once I started I just couldn’t stop, and it kind of wrote itself. It was like word vomit! I’m very excited for it to be released because it tends to make people laugh whenever I play it. I was listening to a lot of Dylan at the time, songs like ‘Positively 4th Street’ and ‘She’s Your Lover Now’, and I hope that very Dylanesque mixture of humor and savagery comes across when I sing lines like:

“I mean how are you not bored of yourself
It’s bad enough dealing with you as someone else
But you have to put up with you every day of your life”

CV: Thanks again for taking some time and talking. It is greatly appreciated.
RS: Thanks for talking to me!

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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