Rayna Sheds Light on Abusive Relationships on 'Sinking': Listen

Acacia Evans

Rayna, the musical name of 21-year-old Nashville “dark pop” musician Claudia Christensen, is searching for community with the songs she puts out to the world.

“If one person can hear this song and feel the message within the music, then it’s served its purpose,” the 21-year-old writes to Billboard of her first-ever single, the profoundly affecting “Sinking.”

“The song is about the cyclical nature of abusive relationships, the constant lies and apologies that manipulate you into staying in a relationship where you feel like you’re literally sinking underwater,” she tells Billboard. “It’s about the confusion and pain that comes with that, while still going back to that person because you love them.”

With an assist from New Jersey rapper Indy, “Sinking” is filled with a feeling of unease as it tracks the cognitive dissonance of being in love a partner whose love is perpetually conditional.  “With every lie I take, maybe I know that I’m sinking,” she sings over a woozy, hollowed-out production from Sean Rogers.

Directed by Slater Goodson, the video matches the emotional tone of the song — a series of too-close vignettes finding couples, queer and straight, walking on eggshells as abusive partners break the boundaries of trust, only to impose affection on their partner again. It’s interspersed with images of Rayna, awash in shades of bisexual lighting, the only respite for the viewer until the video’s emotional end.

Watch the gripping video for “Sinking” below: