Raequan Scott Finds Joy In Not Fitting In
Written by Vocalo Radio on September 27, 2023
Photo courtesy of the artist.
Chicago artist Raequan Scott shares the inspiration behind his artistry as he pushes to promote queer representation through his vision of progressive R&B.
In the diverse landscape of Chicago’s music scene, artists who dare to break barriers and showcase their identity are the ones who truly stand out. Raequan Scott, a multi-talented artist and recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago, is a prime example. His music blends notes of R&B, hip-hop, rap and rock, all while addressing themes of love and self-discovery.
Scott’s song “Summer Days,” featured in Vocalo’s September “In Rotation” playlist, captures the essence of summer while telling a queer love story that he feels often goes underrepresented in R&B. By sharing music rooted in personal truth, Scott hopes others will resonate as well.
“I think there’s just a lot of taboo behind queer representation because of concerns around marketability, so you don’t see it in the mainstream,” he shared. “I think those are the most powerful songs, when your personal story resonates with others.”
Chicago’s vibrant music scene has deeply influenced Scott’s music. As a proud Chicagoan, he draws inspiration from the city’s queer creative community and finds confidence in the energetic nightlife, bustling with house, techno and old-school tunes.
Scott’s artistic capabilities span beyond music, as his love of fashion has allowed him to creatively express himself with no bounds. He is a master at repurposing clothes and bringing new life to old pieces, and his signature style has offered him opportunities to model for various designers.
With a dedication to pushing artistic boundaries, Raequan Scott shares his insights into the inspiration behind his single, his growth as an artist and more, as he is working toward finishing his next project.
Your song “Summer Days” was featured in Vocalo’s “In Rotation” playlist for September. What was the inspiration behind the single?
I wanted to create something that not only captures my memories of summer, but also tells a queer love story that I feel I rarely see represented in R&B, especially from Black artists. I think there’s just a lot of taboo behind queer representation because of concerns around marketability, so you don’t see it in the mainstream. So there’s tones of that, but I also wanted the song to remind you of someone you care about — your best friend, your mom, your dog. I think those are the most powerful songs, when your personal story resonates with others.
You released your first album Intrusive Thoughts last year. In what ways do you feel you’ve grown as an artist since then?
It’s so wild to think that a year has gone by. Like, seeing growth in myself and in my artistry, and how much I’ve now embodied the character from that album. That character was me trying to create structure within the world of my own “intrusive thoughts,” as I was moving to a new place, seeking new relationships, exploring my sexuality and who I am as a person. Now I’ve gotten to own my confidence through working on myself and growing with help from therapy. It’s all about being in the now and not bottling up emotions.
Your music features a blend of R&B, hip-hop, rap and rock. What does your process look like navigating these various influences to craft your sound?
For me, genre has always been so fluid. My sound is just as wide in variety as the music I listen to. My approach to songwriting is to take the emotions I’m wanting to capture in the moment, and then generally the rest will flow. If I’m feeling angry and I wanna scream, I’m gonna lean into that. That’s how it was when I worked on my song “Ufknsuck.”
You recently studied at Columbia College in Chicago. What was it like balancing school and working on your music?
Thankfully, for me the balance was not super complicated. At Columbia, I learned how important and fundamental collaborating was. There were so many inspiring creative talents that I saw working hard and juggling multiple things, so that motivated me to push forward with music while I was studying.
How has Chicago inspired and shaped your music?
There are so many phenomenal DJs in Chicago nightlife spaces that spin. House, techno, old school funk, jazz… and that’s all in one night. The scene here is unmatched and you can’t help but take in the energy and feel more comfortable to express yourself, especially when you see the looks people pull in queer spaces. Like, I’ve seen people wearing John Deere camo hats with G-strings. They’re avatars of queer Midwestern fashion. It’s given me the confidence to embody my own persona.
You have performed live a few times this year. What was that experience like for you? What’s your favorite thing about performing in front of an audience?
This has been my first year performing music that I wrote myself. So that’s wild to think of. Before this year, I’ve only done open mic nights, karaoke, things like that. Not to say those aren’t performances, but now I’m defining my stage presence with my looks and setlists. Now, people know the lyrics of my songs and will sing along. It’s hard to express how amazing that feels.
In addition to music, what other ways do you express yourself artistically?
Fashion is so important to me. I’m not a seamstress, but I can use a pair of scissors and am always repurposing. I’ve also modeled looks for some designers and am grateful for those opportunities.
What advice do you have for other artists wanting to blaze their path?
Be yourself. My best work has always come when I’m less in my head or thinking of how to fit in. It’s a joy to find your audience by being yourself, so don’t get scared if you don’t see yourself represented in the industry. Be the change! And always seek fresh perspectives and keep yourself guessing.
What have you been working on lately that listeners can expect to hear soon?
I’m at the halfway point of finishing my next project. This new era of music is coming after taking in the energy I let out with Intrusive Thoughts. Everything’s more exploratory, and I’ve been working in a studio space that’s allowed me to up my production quality and showcase more of what I’m capable of. The project features other artists who I respect so much and share the same drive as me. We’re always evolving, and I’m excited for that evolution in my craft.
Keep up with Raequan Scott on Instagram and listen to his featured song on the September “In Rotation” playlist below.
Written introduction by Blake Hall
Interview by Blake Hall and Morgan Ciocca, answers edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca
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