Rayvon Owen
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Rayvon Owen

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Pop Soul

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jul
11
Rayvon Owen @ Hard Rock Live

Orlando, Florida, United States

Orlando, Florida, United States

Jul
09
Rayvon Owen @ Maxwell C. King Center

Melbourne, Florida, United States

Melbourne, Florida, United States

Jul
08
Rayvon Owen @ Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Sarasota, Florida, United States

Sarasota, Florida, United States

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

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​When American Idol alum Rayvon Owen received the first draft of a treatment for the music video of his first post-Idol single, “Can’t Fight It,” Owen read the director’s idea for the last scene, in which Owen would leave a nightclub with a beautiful girl.

“When I read that treatment, I knew I couldn’t be dishonest," Owen tells Billboard, "not that I ever lied to people in the past, but the truth had been omitted. I felt like I was doing a disservice because I’ve always been an honest, loving person.” The ending was changed -- now, in the video’s closing scene, Owen kisses a man.



The season 14 finalist, who placed fourth in the competition, spoke with Billboard about his decision to let the world know he’s gay, a fact he kept to himself for most of his life, including his time on Idol.

“First I had to become comfortable with myself and who I am as a person. For the longest time I kept that part of my life separate, away from music, away from a lot of things. As I was growing as an artist, I realized I was missing out on so much of my artistry by not connecting the two. It’s easy to ignore when there are only a few thousand people who are fans and know who you are, but after Idol millions of people know me and I’m much more public.”

A series of events in the 24-year-old musician’s life led him closer to being open about his sexuality. “Someone I knew passed away. He never got to live his truth, and there are many people who die young and never get to leave their mark or make a difference. I’ve been given such an awesome platform so why not use it to help, when there are so many people out there like me who haven’t come to terms with who they are or even worse, have been kicked out of their home or who have been bullied or who have committed suicide. As long as this is happening, it’s worth bringing this to people’s attention. Since Idol and music in general have given me an opportunity to reach people’s lives, why not get the conversation started?”

Owen’s decision to come out was also accelerated by meeting LGBT activist Shane Bitney Crone at an event in Detroit last year. “His story really inspired me,” says Owen. Crone starred in the 2013 film Bridegroom, which documents the death of his partner, Tom Bridegroom. Crone was denied the right to visit Bridegroom in the hospital before he died and was warned by his partner’s family not to attend the funeral. Crone is the stranger seen kissing Owen in the final seconds of the video for “Can’t Fight It,” which is appropriately being released today, Valentine’s Day.

Billboard asked Owen why he didn’t come out before he competed on American Idol. “I was afraid,” he candidly admits. “Here’s a show that reaches so many people, including a lot of small town, conservative people, who grew up in the same environment I grew up in. I was afraid that if I shared this part of my life, would people vote for me? It’s sad that I had to think that. I never said I dated a girl or I’m straight, but I never said I was gay, either. I just let people think what they think. Not just publicly but with the contestants, with the producers, with everybody. I decided to keep that to myself. Do I regret that decision? You can’t go back and change it. You just learn from it.”

There was another reason Owen wasn’t public about being gay before Idol. “I hadn’t come out to my mom. That was something I wanted to take care of before I went on the show, even though for all these years, I was afraid to tell her. I wanted to be the first to let her know.”

Owen explained the difficulty of coming out to his mother. “I grew up in a Christian home in the South. In those communities it’s still, to this day, very taboo. People are still getting kicked out of their homes and parents are still disowning their kids. My mother still loves me but it wasn’t easy at first. And she said some things that she apologized for. She only knows what she knows from the community she grew up in, which is very similar to how I grew up. That’s another reason why I’m doing this. I think it’s a conversation that needs to be had in the church, especially as an African-American. There are so many LGBT people in the black church who are either leaving because they don’t feel welcome or they’re afraid to be who they really are. These are the people who are running the church, the worship leaders, the piano players, the singers, the choir members -- a lot of them are gay but don’t say anything. They can’t talk about it because they’re afraid they’re going to lose their jobs. Or get kicked out of the church or be seen differently. Kirk Franklin, who is a huge gospel star, apologized to the LGBT community because of how a lot of us have been treated. He said there is room at the cross for everybody, which is true, and God loves everybody and makes no exception. You’d be surprised at the amount of times I tried to pray the gay away from me or tried to tell God to take this away from me. No kid should have to do what I did and pray to not be who they are. That’s why I think it’s important even in 2016 to say this.

"It took a lot for me to come to this point to want to talk about this. I think this issue is bigger than me. If I can contribute to that and help get the conversation started, it’s really important.”

Owen co-wrote “Can’t Fight It” with Mylen, Nate Merchant and Isaiah Tejada.

“For a long time I fought wanting to be with a guy, even though I was attracted to and connected with men,” Owen concludes. “This is the perfect song to say there’s nothing you can do about that, accept who you are, and when you love someone, that’s OK. It took me a minute to come to the point of knowing there’s no sense in fighting anymore, so I hope that resonates with people when they hear the song. I get that it’s so easy to be afraid in this society, but why let it stop you from loving someone that you feel naturally led to love.” - Billboard


American Idol singer Rayvon Owen is celebrating this Valentine’s Day by coming out and living his truth. He chose to come out today in a music video released exclusively on Billboard. HRC had the opportunity to sit down with Owen and ask him a few questions about this incredible step.

How did the idea of coming out in your music video come about?

I was given an incredible platform with American Idol and I felt I had a responsibility to do something positive with it, especially if there was a chance that it would help others. When it came time to storyboard my new music video, the director, not knowing I was gay, presented the idea of a female love interest. At that moment, I knew in my heart that it needed to be a man. Authenticity suddenly became more important to me than hiding who I am.

What does coming out mean to you? To your family?

I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, which is a very conservative place. Church and spirituality was, and still is, an important part of me and my family's life and it was hard to feel safe about coming out because of how often the Bible is misinterpreted to make LGBT people feel less than—and not worthy of—God's love. It wasn't until I went to school in Nashville, Tennessee when I started to accept this part of myself and come to peace with my religious beliefs and relationship with God. Coming out means not hiding certain parts of myself and loving myself for who I am, completely, as God made me.

Coming out has not been easy for some of my friends and family, who still live in Virginia and are very conservative, but I've been lucky enough to have a solid support system. I know that with time, the others will come around.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing LGBT people in 2016?

I am by no means an expert on LGBT issues and I've only just recently gotten more involved with certain causes, like World AIDS Day. It's refreshing to see how much the public perception of the LGBT community has evolved in the past few years but I know that there is still a lot of hate in the world: I was sickened last year when I saw the footage of ISIS members throwing gay men from roofs; I can't believe that there are still many states in which LGBT people can be legally fired or denied housing just for being LGBT; and it breaks my heart to hear about how many young people are kicked out of their homes for being LGBT. A major specific issue that we face is the discrimination against LGBT people of color, who are almost twice as likely to experience physical violence and homelessness. Even in 2016, we still have a long way to go to reach justice for all LGBT people.

Who inspires you?

I'm grateful to artists like Sam Smith, Troye Sivan, and Frank Ocean who have shown the world that their sexual orientation doesn't change the fact that they're insanely talented. Through their music, they help people (especially LGBT people) feel less alone and show them that they can reach for the stars and make their dreams come true. I'm also inspired by Shane Bitney Crone, who turned a terrible tragedy into an inspiring story that has helped thousands of people understand how important marriage equality is.

What advice do you have for LGBTQ youth?

To LGBTQ young people: surround yourself with people who love you unconditionally and who lift you up. Find your tribe. I promise there are people out there who will understand and love you. Life is short and tomorrow is never promised, so be proud of who you are and spend time with people who make you happy. You are no less a child of God than anyone else. You are worthy of love and happiness and shouldn't settle for anything less.

HRC congratulates Owen on taking this bold step. Coming out - whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or allied – matters. When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other.

Whether it's for the first time ever or the first time today, the experience of coming out and living openly covers the full spectrum of human emotion -- from fear to euphoria. Coming out -- whether it is as LGBT or allied -- is a deeply personal journey for each individual. - Human Rights Campaign


Five straight weeks on American Idol, Rayvon Owen found himself in the Bottom Two. Five straight weeks, another singer went home.

The Richmond, Va., native's improbable streak finally ended Wednesday, with Owen leaving the Idol competition in fourth place. But he'll barely have time to catch his breath before starting to prepare for the Fox show's two-night finale next week.

"I don't miss a beat," Owen said Thursday morning. "I know I'm eliminated, but I go straight into rehearsals today. No rest, no rest."

Having to sing on the edge of elimination for so long may have given Owen an experience unlike any of the other singers'.

"It's been like a blessing in disguise," says the graduate of the music program at Nashville's Belmont University. "I've gone from coming in as a singer and musician with good musical instincts. Now I'm leaving as an artist, as someone who had to fight for his spot and persevere. You grow in those types of situations.

"Even though I'm not walking away with the title, I still feel like a winner."

At the very least, Owen learned how to use Twitter to his advantage, with his followers rescuing him from elimination each time they had the chance. He also developed a reputation for a singer willing to sacrifice technical perfection for a moment of authentic emotion.

"I've had some great technical performances, but that only goes so far. People want to see your heart, your emotion. Sometimes, you sacrifice a little on the technical side of things, but that doesn't matter. Those are the winning moments, when you connect with people and you're just straight-up who you are in your rawest form."

Owen performed three songs on Wednesday, covering Jason DeRulo's Want to Want Me,the Joe Cocker hit You Are So Beautiful and Stevie Wonder's As.

The music Owen makes after Idol may have some of the R&B flair he showed Wednesday, he says, but "mostly, who I am is a pop artist with some R&B influence and that kind of raw emotion. I pull from the rawness of someone like Sam Smith or John Legend with the pop edge of Betty Who or Katy Perry. That's the kind of music you're going to be hearing from me." - USA Today


As judge Jennifer Lopez put it, American Idol's Rayvon Owen is "a cat with nine lives."

For the past four episodes, Owen has been one of two contestants in danger of going home. But week by week he skated by – and on Wednesday's episode, he did it again.

"I've had a hard road through this competition and have just been scraping by," Owen told PEOPLE after the show of being voted into the Top 4 over Tyanna Jones. "It's bittersweet because I love Tyanna, but I am just so excited and so relieved that I get to perform again next week."

And Owen, 23, went on to prove why he was worth saving when he took to the stage to perform his rendition of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now."

"I love when anybody takes a song and makes it their own. I give you props for that," judge Keith Urban told Owen after the soulful rendition of the country song.

Even harsher judge Harry Connick Jr. – who was recently at the center of Idol drama – was feeling Owen's performance.

"I thought it was really strong. There is a lot of great music in the world ... but nothing substitutes for an earnest young man, like yourself, looking out to whatever you are thinking about and singing a beautiful ballad," Connick Jr. told the Richmond, Virginia native. "Rayvon, I thought you sang your pants off."

"I've been through that relationship. I've made the phone call that I shouldn't of made so I was able to really connect with the song and I'm glad that that allowed me to be more vulnerable," Owen told PEOPLE of his performance. "I'm not the craziest person out here, but there is some depth to who I am."

Owen continued his stellar night later with a rendition of Justin Bieber's "Believe," that had both his mother and Lopez in tears.

"I'm so glad I got to share that moment with my mom," Owen said. "She's sacrificed so much for me and I wanted to honor her on such a huge platform." - People


"American Idol" finalist Rayvon Owen used his new music video, "Can't Fight It," to open up about his sexuality for the very first time.

The Virginia-born singer-songwriter, 24, wanders through a smoky club in the video, which was appropriately released on Valentine's Day and can be viewed above. At the conclusion of the clip, he locks eyes, hands and, eventually, lips with another man, played by LGBT rights advocate, Shane Bitney Crone.

Owen, who placed fourth on the 14th season of "Idol," told Billboard that the video's original treatment had him ending up with a woman in its conclusion. Inspired by the death of a close friend, who "never got to live his truth," he opted to give "Can't Fight It" an ending that was more authentic to him as a performer.

"At that moment, I knew in my heart that it needed to be a man," he said in an interview with the Human Rights Campaign. Praising out stars like Sam Smith and Frank Ocean, he added, "Authenticity suddenly became more important to me than hiding who I am."

The mid-tempo ballad, which Owen co-wrote with Mylen, Nate Merchant and Isaiah Tejada and premiered on The Huffington Post, contains the lyrics: "I've never been good pretending like this, like this/I was done from the moment you hit me with your kiss, your kiss."

Owen said some family members and friends have had a difficult time coming to terms with his sexuality, which is one of the reasons that he didn't come out during his stint on "Idol." Nonetheless, he has been "lucky enough to have a solid support system," and is confident that "the others will come around."

"You’d be surprised at the amount of times I tried to pray the gay away from me or tried to tell God to take this away from me," he said. "It took a lot for me to come to this point to want to talk about this."

He went on to note, "I think this issue is bigger than me. If I can contribute to that and help get the conversation started, it’s really important.”

We're proud to see you living your truth, Rayvon, and can't wait to see where your music takes us next! - Huffington Post


There are a number of talented contestants on American Idol this year, but if you ask me, there's one who shines brighter than all the rest: Rayvon Owen. The 23-year-old vocal coach from Richmond, Virginia absolutely blew me away with his gorgeous rendition of Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" during his audition, and I've been a huge fan ever since. I realize it might be kind of controversial to say this so early on in the competition, but I actually think Rayvon Owen should win American Idol. Yup, I do. Let me explain...

As I said, Season 14 has introduced us to a bunch of great performers (Jax, Tyanna Jones, Adanna Duru, and Clark Beckham immediately come to mind), but for me, Owen is in a class of his own. Not only is he the best singer, he's also the contestant with the most commercial appeal — and that could be really important for the future of the show. Let's face it: American Idol hasn't produced a mega-star like Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood in a long time, and recently, ratings have been on the decline. A talented, and most importantly, marketable winner like Owen could generate renewed interest in the aging series and help it to avoid cancellation. Additionally, he's awesome. He deserves to take home the title.

Here are 7 reasons why Rayvon Owen should be the next American Idol:

His Voice.. Duh

That note at the 1:30 mark! None of us are worthy.

His Style


Image is important — especially for pop stars. Owen has a unique (but approachable) style that fits him perfectly.

His Presence

He kills it every single time he gets up on that stage. Every single time!

Oh Yeah, His Voice

Swoon.

His Smile


That's a winning smile right there.

Did I Already Mention His Voice?

At this point, it really does seem like he can sing anything.

Specifically, His Falsetto


What is this heavenly sound?


Owen is the total package, y'all. Here's to hoping he goes all the way. - Bustle


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

For as long as he can remember, pop/soul singer, Rayvon Owen has dreamed of a life dedicated to music.  Born to be on stage, the Richmond, VA., native began his music career at a very young age – singing in choirs, touring with gospel musicians and performing in local musicals. Influenced by legendary artists such as Lionel Richie, John Legend, Troye Sivan and Stevie Wonder, Rayvon has developed his own voice as a powerful performer and reflective songwriter.

By the age of 18, he relocated to Nashville, TN., to study Commercial Music at Belmont University. While in Music City, he pursued a performance career by writing with local musicians and performing at local events, venues, clubs and showcases. Shortly after graduation, Rayvon made his way from Nashville to Los Angeles, CA., where he continued to write and craft his sound. In 2014, he released his debut EP, “Cycles,” which includes the hit single “Sweatshirt.” In the past year, Rayvon took his talent on the road – performing at over 60 colleges across the United States. 

Already having a fan base across the U.S., he became a household name and “Twitter Save” champion as a Top 4 finalist on season 14 of “American Idol.”  While on “Idol,” Rayvon performed with the likes of Jamie Foxx, Rickey Martin, Boy George and many others. Receiving rave reviews from major outlets, including People MagazineUSA Today and Billboard, he is noted, not only for his star quality and beautiful vocal tone, but for his ability to bring authenticity and emotion to his performances. 

 Following his journey on “American Idol” and performing on the 38-city "American Idols LIVE!" tour this past summer, Rayvon shared his new creative direction and collaborative spirit with the September 2015 release of his “Air EP.” The 2015 L.A. Music Award’s “Rising Star” recipient recently wrapped recording on his new EP — set to release late 2016. His lead single, “Can’t Fight It,” premiered exclusively on Huffington Post Feb. 12. The music video was released on Valentine’s Day through Billboard, along with an exclusive interview that shared a part of Rayvon’s story publicly for the first time. Rayvon continues to strive to entertain his listeners and create an immersive and inspirational experience.

 

Band Members