Shelly Ravid – Let Them Know EP
1. Let Them Know
2. Don’t You Wanna Be Loved?
4. Bullet In My Chest
With reggae being the ideal backdrop to songs of protest and social change, I find strong female vocalists add a real edge to the music. Perhaps it is because women seem to have more to prove in society and more to prove in the male dominated world of reggae. One such singer / songwriter is London based Shelly Ravid. Her intelligent, socially aware music contributes something different to the reggae catalogue. Working with a talented group of producers and musicians such as Karl Morey, Sean Kennedy, Michael Todd and Burn it Produccions, Shelly has just released her debut EP ‘Let Them Know’, which comprises of four tracks of confrontational, spikey reggae.
Shelly started in the music industry at the tender age of 13, singing in ska influenced bands. Wanting to understand a little more about what motivated her to get into the reggae scene, I asked her who were her influences at that time. ‘When I first heard Tanya Stephens and Queen Ifrica as a 13 year old, I was amazed by their unapologetic honesty and rawness. Queen Ifrica singing openly about being molested by her father is one of the bravest things I had ever heard.’
Don’t You Wanna Be Loved
Having strong female artists as role models comes across in her mature, honest and confident vocals. Like those two artists, she is not afraid to bare all in her expressive lyrics. ‘Don’t You Wanna Be Loved’, the most obvious reggae track, seems to tell a story of a close relationship and the difficulty of breaking down emotional barriers. Third track ‘Bullshit’, has a stripped back sound, it’s a hard but catchy track that talks about male misogyny and how that bullshit doesn’t wash with Shelly. Two tracks worthy of a modern independent women.
It sounds like breaking down the barriers for women to succeed in music is important to Shelly. She explained ‘Women are always put in the back seat in of our society and music is no exception. It took me a lot more research to find female reggae artists than male when I first started listening to reggae. But it’s the power and determination, the hard work and attention to lyrics by Jamaican female reggae artists that inspired me to start writing.’
She continued, ‘I went to a reggae night in Sweden when I was around 18 years old and was very excited to hear some great music. After about 2 hours of the DJ playing only male artists I asked him if he had any female reggae artists to play and he responded ‘I don’t see gender’. I think it’s the ignorance men can afford to have that keeps women in the background. Just like when white people say ’I don’t see race’, well maybe you should start looking and make a change.’ Strong words, but perhaps you do have to acknowledge a problem before you can properly change things for the better.
From the Heart
Shelly sums up the feeling behind her new Let Them Know EP, ‘These four songs all showcase a period in time over the last couple of years, drawing inspiration from political changes, thought-provoking ideas and social injustice. Written from the heart, collaborating with truly talented musicians and inspired by personal experiences, for the love and tremendous respect for Reggae, this is my take on it.’ Shelly’s fire certainly comes across in this EP and it is the personal aspect of the songs that mark them out and make them extremely listenable.
This EP is part of a lineage of female musicians who have followed their own path, and had success doing their own thing. I hope this EP has wide exposure and helps Shelly’s music get the appreciation it deserves. Shelly has something to say and we should listen.
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