HEY GIRL Radio: Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez
New single from New York Jazz, R&B artist Raina Sokolov–Gonzalez.
“The Bear” grapples with a need to be desired, while reflecting on an encounter with a shadowy figure who doesn’t have the best of intentions. With a playful musical arrangement, this song turns a hard feeling into a playground of imagination and possibility, turning shadowy characters into bears and crows, turning doubt upside down and finding its flirtatious, sexy edge.
Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez is a singer/composer based in Brooklyn, New York. Born into a family of musicians, music was Raina’s first language and it runs deep within her veins. Rooted in Jazz and R&B, the songwriter invites us into her unique sonic world with harmonic nuance and lyrical poetry.
Raina’s cross-genre style is built from the bottom up. With improvisation as a starting point for her songs, Raina draws on her emotionality and leans into her perception of the world around, uncovering hidden depths within daily life and articulating personal truth with vulnerability and bravery. Songwriting is her way of processing and understanding life in all its complexity.
If They’re Mine is a cross-section of Raina’s internal landscape, the questions and dynamics that inhabited her for a long period of time. The songwriter shares, “I have formative tensions around desire and deception, around dissociation and attachment. Written in 2017 and 2018, these songs are of a young woman grappling with internal and intimate conflict, searching for truth, embodiment, and resolution.”
Produced with her brother, Jake Sokolov-Gonzalez, the two built these arrangements together over the span of two years. The seven-track release was mixed by Grammy winning engineer Jon Rosenberg and mastered by Ryan Schwabe (Nick Hakim, REI AMI).
In the fairytale-esque story of “The Bear”, RSG reflects on an encounter with a shadowy figure who doesn’t have the best of intentions, and the intrigue and challenge of making a boundary in this context, as she sings, “It would be wise to tell him ‘no, my arms are closed.’ I can’t decide which way to go, can’t feel my toes.” The pre-chorus, which evolves through the song, shows the center of this conflict. In a similar thematic vein as the other songs on the album, “The Bear” grapples with a need to be desired, even for one night, even if all signs are pointing in the other direction. Contrasted with a playful musical arrangement, this song turns a hard feeling into a playground of imagination and possibility, turning shadowy characters into bears and crows, turning doubt upside down and finding its flirtatious, sexy edge. Sonically “The Bear” combines Jazz-infused, sultry sax lines by Leland Baker, storytelling folk lyricism and moments of grooving R&B rhythms, creating something entirely unique, yet comfortingly familiar.