Everlasting is the title of Rayana Speede’s upcoming EP and poetry book, but it’s also how she describes love, in all its forms.
The 23-year-old, an artist in every sense of the word, is preparing to release a unique project that demonstrates her wide range of talent.
While some choose to release music on Soundcloud, and others post poetry on blogs or websites, Speede decided she wanted to release a musical project and poetry book together as complementary works of art. The music will be available digitally, while the physical collection of poems will include QR codes, connecting the readers to corresponding songs.
Speede looks to redefine how love is discussed throughout art, using the creative passion she’s been developing since childhood. As a proud Jamaican-Canadian, her culture at home was a natural but driving force in growing her love for music, as well as art in general.
“My family’s really artistic,” said Speede. “We’re a typical Jamaican family who loves music. We’d just be chilling in the living room, singing together, just for fun. That’s something we love to do as a family.”
Speede’s family is no stranger to talent, as a majority of her immediate relatives practice some form of art, whether that be singing, painting or poetry. Her uncle, Mello G, has even gained popularity throughout the city as an established reggae singer. All that aside, expectations were always the last thing on Speede’s mind, throughout the process of creating Everlasting, performing at local underground shows, and singing in her church choir. Her and her family’s faith, on the other hand, have been one of Speede’s greatest inspirations.
“I was raised, and live in a Christian household. That’s my faith as well,” Speede said.
While the Books of Psalms and Proverbs of the Bible inspired Speede’s work, her beliefs also have a lasting impact on her mindset and how she views her career goals. “Faith really makes you redefine success, as well,” she said. “It’s not about buying houses and flexing. I care about sharing joy and love.”
Speede hopes to use her art as a medium to convey her beliefs concerning love, especially those often ignored in mainstream media.
“I wasn’t in a relationship for a while, but I had so much love in my life,” Speede said. “I really wondered to myself, ‘Why isn’t there a song I can listen to that’s catered to my mom, or to my dad, or to my sister?’”
For Speede, today’s media often fails to portray the true emotions that people feel on a daily basis. She believes that flings and romantic love are not the only forms of affection that should be highlighted in art.
“In this project, you really go through what my view of love is, and how to sustain all of its different kinds,” the artist said. “I can experience love for my mom, or for my nephews and nieces, all in different ways.”
Speede has been singing since she was five, and writing poetry since the age of 10. In 2016, she released her first EP, Love’s Aftertaste, after being selected to take part in a six-week artist residency program at Up Next studio in Montreal. The program spurred the creation of the four-track project, which features soul-caressing R&B vocals, paired with jazzy, laid-back instrumentals.
In fall of last year, Speede had the idea to begin Everlasting.
“In September, I started putting together different poems I had written and was working on,” Speede said. “I really wanted to make a book with all of the poems I had written. I also really wanted to release music. Then I thought, ‘Why not just do both?’”
Now, Speede hopes to expand her audience with the release of her poetry book alongside the EP, and believes in Everlasting’s potential to help create a different discourse around love.
“I think it will open the doors for people to be open with each other, and talk about their feelings,” Speede said. “It doesn’t always have to be romantic. I really hope this project opens those kinds of conversations.”
Keep an eye out for her single, “Love is,” dropping on all music streaming platforms on April 19, and Everlasting, set to be released mid-May.