Ranika Reflects On The Beautiful Imperfection Of Chicago
Written by Vocalo Radio on September 14, 2020
Ranika is a multi-hyphenate creative based in Chicago. Her latest song “When We Fight,” written and produced during the pandemic was featured on our “In Rotation” playlist this month.
The multitalented creative breaks down how supporting creatives is a radical act of love …
You’re a renaissance woman, how does music play into your identity as an artistic being?
Music plays a huge role in my identity. I started writing my own songs when I was nine years old as a way of expressing my feelings. I used lyrics as a way to create worlds that I could escape into. I learned how to record, produce, mix, and master because overtime I couldn’t focus on anything other than creating music. Nothing fulfills me more than being able to create different worlds through music.
What other artistic mediums do you use to exercise your creativity?
Besides creating music, I really love videography. I like to play around with graphics and effects. When I put out the EP that I’ve been working on, I’m really looking forward to directing and editing visuals. I paint portraits as well. Painting really helps me relax and focus.
You’re involved in a project called Cash Flow Unity, can you tell us about the organization and your role in it?
Cash Flow Unity is a Chicago-based label that was founded by two Chicago artists to help other artists with promotion and other artist needs. I write blog content for their website and help with other various fun projects. I was really excited to explore my writing in a new way and to be a part of something that connects Chicago artists.
You’re a Chicago native, what neighborhood are you from and how has the city influenced you as a creative person?
I grew up predominately in Humboldt Park. I love Chicago for its strong sense of creativity. There’s art everywhere. There’s creative people everywhere. There was a period of time where I was going to open mics every week and soaking up that creative energy. I know so many talented artists.
The beauty of Chicago is that it’s not all beautiful, but the people here will create something beautiful because of it.
How has the pandemic impacted your life, and how are you staying creative during this challenging time?
The pandemic was really hard on me at first. Mentally, I got in my head because I had all the time in the world to create, but it was hard to do so with everything going on. What got me out of my creative funk was watching classic movies like Brown Sugar, Love Jones, Boomerang. The theme and feeling of those movies inspired me to record my new single “When We Fight” in quarantine. I look at that song like a soundtrack song to those movies. Generally when I’m low on creativity, I like to listen to music and immerse myself into the feeling that it gives me. Then I like to try to recreate that feeling when I’m ready to record something.
We here at Vocalo see supporting artists of color as paramount to the struggle for liberation and equality. What support do artists need today to help make the world a more just place?
I believe one of the greatest gifts you can give to an artist is support. Showing an artist that their art matters is truly one of the greatest gestures you could do. As a community, art is crucial in helping us express and share our joy and pain. When you support an artist by sharing their work or telling them how it makes you feel, you are letting them know that what they create helps others. I believe the more support an artist feels like they have, the more inclined they will be to continue creating and continue sharing. And if you’re an artist, take the opportunity to help others express themselves artistically. It seems like people of color are unheard in today’s climate, so try to help someone find their voice.
Ranika also provided a playlist of meaningful and influential songs in her life.
Interview edited for length and clarity by Luis Mejía Ahrens