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Artist of the Week: Ryan Caraveo

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at hello@seattlerefined.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been writing/performing?
Ryan Caraveo: I started releasing music in middle school. During 8th grade, I was selling CDs to my classmates and teachers. I started opening for local rappers in Seattle around that same time.

Tell us about your artistic process and the different stages that work into it.
Throughout any given day, I'm always writing down thoughts that stand out to me, whether they are lyrics or not. I talk to myself while recording on a voice memo on my phone. Sometimes it's a melody, sometimes it is a lyric idea, sometimes it's a word or two. At a later date, when I'm in the mood to "write," I pull up a folder full of loops or chops or guitar samples or any other track idea that my producer Teal has sent me and pick something that inspires me and keep it on loop. Then I then pace around in circles and begin saying things until something feels special. At this point, I just know when an idea deserves to stick around. Sometimes I'll pull thoughts from my notes or voice memos if they feel special. Once I have a full idea written down after pacing for a couple of hours, I forget about it and return days later, just like I do with the voice memos and notes. If it feels special, I begin revising and making tweaks, and if it doesn't, I just forget about it. I don't get stuck on any idea, even if I like it. If I think it's great, I'm just like, "Cool, I will probably work on that some more down the road," and turn another loop on and get to pacing.

Where does your inspiration come from? What musical artists do you take inspo from?
Ok, so every time I start writing, I mean EVERY time, I mentally go back to my neighborhood in North Seattle. It's 40 degrees and dark overcast sky and rain. I'm driving through Lake City in my old school car. The defrost doesn't work, so my windows are down, and I'm driving over to my friend Josh's house to smoke and write raps on the back porch or think of a way to make a little bit of money. It's gloomy. Our families aren't exactly whole, we battle with depression and addiction, but we have our little friend group that makes each other laugh.

Before I write anything, I almost always first write a piece about what this place and state of mind feels like. Like an overwhelming state of desolation but also this certainty of "Watch, I'm gonna be lightyears away from here. I'm gonna do some great things, just watch." It's strange that my life is so different than it was back then, and I'm generally much happier now, but nothing brings me more comfort than closing my eyes and going back to that place. Even if it's a couple of lines, a poem or a whole verse, I almost always get the juices flowing by writing something about what that place feels like. Even if the song ends up having no trace of these feelings, it's what inspires me most to write. It's home.

What kind of genre would you consider your music? What do you write about?
I'm mostly inspired by hip-hop, electronic and alternative music. I'd say it's a mix of all of them if I had to squeeze into a box — but I don't aspire to execute a genre well. Really, I just want to write it my perfect way, and for the music to sound like something, I want to keep it on loop.

Do you have one song that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
I have a lot of songs that are special to me. On my new album that comes out very soon, I'd have to say "Ricochet" and ''Daisies" are extremely special to me. I feel like I finally know how to say "I love you" the way I want to say it to her but also to me.

What experiences in your life have shaped your music?
Depression, addiction, freedom, wanting to be loved, wanting to be alone, being certain and unsure at the same time. Being in love and not knowing what love is, euphoria and disappointment. It really depends on when you ask me.

If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it? Any upcoming projects/virtual performances?
I have a brand new song called "Ricochet" that just came out, and I have a new album coming out soon. Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and YouTube are all good places to listen to my music.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I've never been more proud or excited as I am for this new album. I know it's coming soon, but I don't have an exact date. All I know is that I can't wait for it to exist forever. This one is special.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Straight up! No extra nonsense.

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