Courtesy of The Oriel

RAEGAN Is the Center of Her Own Universe

She’s a natural performer, a buzzing producer, a former theater kid, a queer icon in the making, and the most creative of all young creative directors. She is RAEGAN.

Last week, RAEGAN dropped a swirling, beat-driven tale of self confidence in the form of a song titled “COINS.” She has well over one million streams online without an official EP release or an LP to her name. Impressed? Just wait – RAEGAN is a Miami transplant studying at New York University and is her own producer. The confident narratives she writes about are personal, stylized with her own original interests in mind. She’s just RAEGAN at the end of the day; a captivating, theatrical, earnest performer worthy of the buzz surrounding her.

We have to talk about “COINS.” This is maybe my favorite single release of yours thus far. I love “Waltz,” too, but there’s something about this song that is both eye-catching and ear-catching all at once. The video and the visuals are amazing. How do you go about deciding what songs are going to get their own single release and fully-fleshed-out little world? 

I just go with what resonates with me the most. I also like getting feedback from my friends and my team. Anytime someone has heard “COINS” in its lifetime, they always say something about it. They’re like, “Oh, this song is really cool,” or “‘COINS’ is really your song.” It has just always been something that grabs attention from people and the listeners. I just knew that this single would be a good one to be out on its own. I had originally seen myself dropping this song at a way higher point in my career actually, because I made this song in high school when I hadn’t even dropped music yet. It was literally just a manifestation of like, “I know who I am. I know what I’m gonna be like. Let me just talk through this perspective.” I had always pictured me dropping it when I was really established and stuff like that, but I’m realizing how much my music changes. I go through eras, and the music I’m making now is just so elevated from the music that I’m dropping now. It’s just like, “Why am I holding onto this? For what? Let the world hear it, let the world have it, because it’ll always be the same. It’ll age really well.” That’s kind of how I made this decision to drop it. Sometimes I regret things [Laughs] and sometimes I regret dropping certain songs, but I know it tells my story of who I was at the time. I just have got to let the world see my growth and my evolution.

Absolutely. Although, I can’t believe this was sort of like a high school project for you, because now it’s kind of setting the stage for what’s to come in a much bigger way. You yourself just said that you’re already making more elevated music, but I know this song is being enjoyed through-and-through. The bridge alone is great.

Thank you. I really appreciate that. My thing is I have so much ADD that I get so bored so easily. That’s why I love making beats: I’m always engaged and I’m always trying to make something that just comes outta nowhere and something that is entertaining because if I hear the same thing for three minutes, I’m over it. I can’t do that. I feel like that’s my inspiration for that little beat change in the bridge. I was just like, “I’m bored – now what?”

On the topic of the visuals here, I know your aesthetic is a big part of who you are. I think that is something that really sucked me in when starting to listen to explore your music. Even with just the cover art for “Tim Burton,” which was so cool, it felt specific and intimate to the song itself. Explain how important those aspects are to you.

I have all the say. I love it. I am a perfectionist. I’m everything [Laughs]. I literally have trouble collaborating, like that’s my thing that I need to practice. I like to have such a specific vision when going into something. With “Tim Burton” and those animators, I literally just told them the story that I was seeing in my head and they visually brought it to life, which was so satisfying and fun to see. For “COINS,” though, that was more of a collaborative effort. I had reached out to a director that goes to NYU just like I do. I wanted to create something with a student because I felt like it would be really intimate and I felt like they would be just as passionate about it as me versus professional directors who… well, that’s their job. They’ll do it for pay and stuff like that, of course, but I really appreciated someone being as equally passionate about the project as I was. The director actually came up with the idea of the coin fountain – the wishing fountain – because I wanted to do something with actual coins, but not so on the nose. She came up with that idea and I was like, “Oh my God, what if I jump into it? What if I jump into the water?” Then we just kept building off each other. This was the most collaborative effort that I’ve had bringing a music video or visual to life. It was really fun. 

The process was tedious, I can’t lie. Working with student directors, a student crew, and all of that, you can be like, “Ok, we’re all students. We’re all learning here.” That part was new to me, but I learned to really appreciate that at the end because everything worked out so amazingly. Like, “Wow, this was a good experience. I feel so satisfied. I feel like this is a little present with a bow on top, so here you go, world – here’s our creation.” [Laughs]

That’s awesome. A learning process for everybody involved? And it’s done so beautifully, so professionally? The color scheme, the outfits, the scenes? There are such intricate details here that I think really round out the lyrics and the beats and everything going on.

Yeah! Thank you.

Speaking of New York, we’re talking about NYU and we’re obviously a little biased, but you’re playing in places like Pianos and Brooklyn Music Kitchen. These are little venues that are really cultivating amazing artists and they celebrate the culture of the city. What does New York and the music scene/ art scene mean to you in terms of inspiration or influence?

It means everything to me, for real. I feel like when I came to New York, I really found who I was as an individual and as an adult, as a woman. The thing I love about New York is that you walk down the street and, nine times out of 10, everybody around you is an artist just in their own world, living their truth, and living their art. I compare it to when I went to California for a little bit and I was just like, “Everyone wants to be an artist here.” People there are trying to be something that they’re not. In New York, everyone is unapologetically themselves. Every single person here I found is an artist in their own unique way. I really, really appreciate that. I love being in New York. It makes me feel appreciated and it makes me feel like I have a community. It always makes me want to elevate, too, because I’ll think that I’m dressing so amazingly, but then I walk down the street with my dog and there are people treating the sidewalk like runways! I’m like, “Ok, let me elevate. I have to be better.” It’s really a great space for me to be in – especially at this age. 

Coming from Miami, it’s so different, but I love both so much for their uniqueness. I would like to stay in New York for a while, but I also miss nature and I miss just being in Miami where there’s nature everywhere. Here… it’s like buildings and more buildings. I will stay in New York for a while, but I think I will move a bit more out of the city – maybe to Brooklyn or something – just so I can have air and breathing time [Laughs].

New York looks and sounds good on you, too!

Thank you. I love performing in New York. I mean, I haven’t performed anywhere else, but I love being here, because I feel like everyone is always so supportive. Everyone is always so willing to hear new music and see artists that they’ve never seen before. I really do appreciate that.

I want to ask you about a post you made on social media about how ‘this is what it’s like when a theater kid creates music.’ What about doing musical theater and being in that community and having that sort of background has played a role in what you’re making today?Musical theater shaped who I am. I grew up doing musical theater since I could basically talk, and then up until I came to college. Up until I was like 18, I was doing musical theater. In high school I did acting; I was doing Shakespeare and stuff like that. It literally made me who I am as a person, so as an artist I am so attracted to the cinematic and theatrical sounds in production and all of my beats sound like they could be a soundtrack in like a movie or even a musical at some points. It just shaped my musical taste as a whole, honestly, and it gave me such a dynamic, non-mainstream way of thinking. Also, I just want to have fun. I just want to express my emotions and my feelings in an art form, so that’s just what I do. […] I don’t even know what type of music I would be making if I didn’t do musical theater, but it would probably be something that’s not great [Laughs].