A Conversation with Rayvon Owen

Singer-songwriter Rayvon Owen reflected on his "American Idol" run and moving single: "Can't Fight It" in this edition of "A Conversation." (Photo courtesy of Effective Immediately PR)

Singer-songwriter Rayvon Owen reflected on his “American Idol” run and moving single: “Can’t Fight It” in this edition of “A Conversation.” (Photo courtesy of Effective Immediately PR)

 

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

As American Idol, the long-running FOX singing competition heads into the sunset; many artists have returned to the show that helped launch their careers to participate in its final season. Between Clay Aiken, Taylor Hicks and Kris Allen assisting the producers during the final Idol auditions and Caleb Johnson, Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Fantasia, Haley Reinhart, Jordin Sparks and Ruben Studdard performing duets with hopefuls to Allison Iraheta assisting longtime band leader Rickey Minor and Kelly Clarkson joining the judges’ panel on Top 10 night, it has been incredible to see so many Idol alumni return home to celebrate the show’s history.

If viewers looked very carefully during the Top 10 show, they would have seen American Idol XIV alum Rayvon Owen in the audience.  Rayvon first charmed the judges (Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban) and America with his superb cover of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” at the San Francisco auditions. His life changed when the trio handed him a Golden Ticket to Hollywood. At each level of the Season 14 competition, he upped his game as he delivered outstanding performances such as “My Girl,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Since U Been Gone.” While he was eliminated during the Final Four round, Rayvon had the opportunity to perform with two international superstars during the American Idol XIV finale: Ricky Martin and Oscar-winning actor-singer Jamie Foxx!

After finishing the Idol: Season 14 Tour, Rayvon began working on his first post-American Idol EP. His first single, “Can’t Fight It,” was extremely personal because Rayvon revealed that he is a proud gay man, as he kissed his co-lead and boyfriend, Shane Bitney Crone, at the music video’s climax.

In this edition of A Conversation, Rayvon talked about his time on American Idol, the lessons he learned from both Jamie Foxx and Ricky Martin and why it was important for him to share his sexuality with his fans.

Jacob Elyachar: How have you grown as an artist since your time on “American Idol”?

Rayvon Owen: I think I’ve grown a lot since my time on Idol. It was such a huge learning experience for me – it’s like years of industry experience jammed into months. You learn fast – whether you want to or not. (Laughs) Specifically in regards to my artistry, I’ve learned the importance of being vulnerable. People relate to you a lot more when you’re honest and authentic – and that’s hard to do in front of millions of people every week. My songwriting and overall approach to music go beyond just good singing and high musicality – I want people, now more so than ever, to feel something and be moved somehow by the content I create.

JE: What were some of your favorite “Idol”  memories?
RO: 
Some of my favorite memories on Idol happened more so behind-the-scenes. Of course, I loved performing every week, but all of the activities and amazing people we met when we were not filming stick out to me the most. Ordering pizza and jamming out with the contestants in our hotels and traveling the country together brought me so much joy.

JE: One of the greatest challenges that you faced during your time on “Idol” was that you were constantly in the Bottom Two almost every week. How did you overcome this particular challenge?

RO: – Ah – the infamous Bottom Two. I am pretty sure I broke the record for being in the bottom consecutively. The first couple of times were tough, but after that, I just chose to treat every performance like it was my last and be grateful to have the experience. I focused more on sharing my gift and performing than worrying about it being a competition. I just pretended like it was a Rayvon Owen concert and enjoyed myself.

 

Jamie Foxx and Rayvon Owen performs on the "American Idol XV" finale

Rayvon’s duet with Jamie Foxx was a highlight during the “American Idol XIV” finale. (Photo property of Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America)

JE: You collaborated with both Jamie Foxx & Ricky Martin during the “American Idol XIV” finale. What were some of the lessons that you learned from them that you implemented in your career?

RO: I was so fortunate to sing and work with so many amazing performers and artists. One thing I always noticed, specifically with Ricky and Jamie, that they were such hard workers. They were not good and deserving to be there because of their fame; they are famous because of their craftsmanship and hard work. They took their art very seriously and knew the importance of their position, and they were so gracious. I took note.

JE: A lot of “Idol” fans were shocked to find out about your participation in Jax’s diss music video: “La La Land.” Why did you participate in a project that put the show in a negative light?

RO: I am extremely grateful for my American Idol experience, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Jax, who has also shown much gratitude, is one of my closest friends, and I always love to support my friends and how they choose to express themselves creatively. Even Idol supported her. I cannot speak for Jax, but I know that Idol is one of the best things that has happened to us and our careers.

JE: Let’s move away from “Idol” and talk about your music. Could your describe your songwriting process to my readers?

RO: I think my songwriting has developed over the years. As I get older, I have become less afraid to share real experiences. My songs always tend to have a good element to the story. That is who I am – an optimistic person. Even in the sad songs, I want people to know that it won’t always be like that. Musically, I love smooth, swooping legato melodies. I think my entire songwriting catalog reflects where I was in my life at the time. I capture whatever moment I am experiencing in life.

JE: Recently, you announced your sexuality in your latest music video: “Can’t Fight It.” How important was it for you to share this intimate moment with your fans?

RO: I wanted to share my story with my fans and give them more insight into what I have and what I’m experiencing in life. Coming to terms with my sexuality has been a big challenge for me and is a challenge for a lot of other people out there. If I can help encourage or inspire someone out there who is struggling with some of the same or similar issues as myself, then I think it’s worth talking about. As long as children are still getting kicked out of their homes by parents, getting bullied, commuting suicide, et cetera. then it’s still worth talking about.

JE: Currently, you are working on your first post-“American Idol” EP. Could you tease my readers what they can expect from your album?

RO: You can expect a slightly different sound for my upcoming EP. It’s still the same pop/soul sound, but with a little more synth/electronic influence. And as I said earlier, lyrically it will be the most honest I’ve been. If you want to know how I’ve been feeling the past year or so, listen to my new EP when it comes out. (Laughs)

JE: If you had the opportunity to meet with aspiring singers who want to enter the music industry, what advice would you share with them?

RO: My advice to anyone wanting to get into the music business, is always be ready to learn and remain humble. You can’t ever learn enough about this business. Use every “no” you get as a learning experience. As Idol Season Six finalist, Melinda Doolittle, always says: “Chew the sticks and spit out the hay” – meaning take what you can use to better yourself and toss out the rest. You will get so many more “no’s” in this industry – prepare yourself for that and stay focused on why you want to sing in the first place. There’s so much good you can do with your voice – always remember that.

To learn more about Rayvon’s music, visit his website!

You can also connect with Rayvon on social media. Check out his Facebook,  Instagram, SoundCloud, Twitter & YouTube channels.

I do not own any of the clips that are featured in the article. Rayvon’s “Idol” performances belong to FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment.

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar