Criminology Student Von LaRae releases debut album “The Art of Sex”

Loyola student Von LaRae released their debut album “The Art of Sex”


Maria Paula Mariño

Von LaRae performs at the Safe and Sound Collective show last semester. LaRae just put out their album “The Art of Sex.”

Sofia Luciano, Life and Times Editor

Criminology Senior Von LaRae debuted their first full length album “The Art of Sex” over the summer.

Since then, the album has been acclaimed for its experimental sound and unique harmonies ornamenting a story of love, turmoil, and belonging.

LaRae, who is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, first expressed their love for music when they were a child singing in their living room. LaRae participated in show choir all throughout high school but never thought about making music until their freshman year of college.

“I don’t know. After being down here (in New Orleans) it was just, I can’t even tell you what it was. It was just a feeling. I remember when the pandemic hit I would sit in my room and just sing and sing and I always used to write poems. Well, I wanna make music,” LaRae said of their journey to artistry.

The musician and dancer has released past projects like the hit singles “Speed Racer” and “10:01 a.m.”, as well as an EP titled “In the Wind” in 2022, but “The Art of Sex” is their first full length project.

LaRae began creating the album in early 2022.

“I was about to be 21 and about to be (a) senior, only had a few singles out, and I wanted to just focus in on that. Also, at the same time I was at the early stages of recovery, still getting over the loss of my other mom in the beginning of last year, getting out of a relationship, and almost lost one of my siblings due to some family issues,” LaRae said.

“The Art of Sex” speaks on an interconnected narrative about finding love, exploring intimacy, codependecy, and addiction all while finding yourself, and defining what love looks like between difficult circumstances.

“Understanding sex and what it meant to me, as well as the theme of recovery and finding your way through this weird maze of like emotions and not knowing what’s going on and living in the moment otherwise, it can end in delirium,” LaRae said.

“When I came up with the title “The Art of Sex,” I was like sex is more than just an intimate act. It is intimacy, vulnerability, getting down to the nitty-gritty, exploring this unknown territory of a person that nobody else gets to see but you in that moment.

“I grew a lot through making this album and kind of understanding what I like, what fits me, what do I see myself engaging in, and who I see myself with,” LaRae said.
LaRae is known for their distinctive and melodic R&B sound, but for this album, the artist took a more experimental approach with their music and delved deeper into genres they are most passionate about.
As a child, LaRae they used to listen to their mom’s CDs with the likes of icons such as Whitney Houston, The Temptations and Sam Cooke, who have played a significant role in the musical development of the artist.

“I feel like a lot of the genres I explored on this album are genres I listened to when I was growing up. For example “The Art of Sex” and “Reverse” give you late 90’s R&B vibes and early Y2K. “You” and Kitchen Lights” gives you the dream pop bedroom pop vibes. “D.O.A” is reggeatón, afro beats, and dancehall. And straight up R&B in “Tell Me How”,” LaRae said.

As the main producer of their discography, LaRae likes to explore various beats and cadences and fuse them together to create something unique, eclectic, and timeless to the mood they wish to convey in each track.

“I think that’s why there’s also so many harmonies in this album because I wanted to experiment with my voice and build different things,” LaRae said.

The first track they produced for the album was D.O.A, inspired by the song Dead On Arrival, LaRae coined the acronym as Dependent On Alcohol for their album. The track is nostalgic and dark, uplifted by the back harmonies, distinctive rimshot, and the sharpness of the snares and percussion that give it that distinctive Afro beats, reggeatón, and dancehall sound.

“I looked for a mood, I always go in with a mood,” LaRae said.

As an artist, LaRae seeks to continue telling more stories that reflect the stories and visuals that exist in their mind and memory.

“There is a lot of beauty in telling a painful story,” LaRae said.