As Ryki releases her debut EP, we get some insight into the singer about the role prayer plays in her life, her musical phases and being signed to Universal on her 18th birthday
Tell us a little bit about RYKI, where you grew up and how did things work out for you, so far, to get where you are today?
I grew up in Pretoria. I’ve always been singing, gigging, and competing, writing songs and been involved with the arts, like dancing and acting. I planned to become a producer after school, do a few courses and get to know my instruments so that I can support myself and be a vocalist at the same time. The first few months of my gap year, I did a few demos for a producer who needed vocals. He sent it to Universal to promote his production and they ended up asking for my contact details. I signed at Universal Music on my 18th Birthday. It fell into my lap straight from God. I remember praying over my gap year and when people ask me what did I do, I tell them the same, PRAY. I didn’t hustle like most musicians to get there but I most definitely do now.
What was your musical diet growing up? Was there a certain style of music that was always on repeat?
I had phases of music styles. In Grade 9 I liked these sad, depressed slow songs. Almost like the ones you hear at the sad moment in series. In grade 10 I listened to a lot of Indie, Rock bands and underground folk vibes. In grade 11, I listened to a lot of Hip Hop, Trap and SA local Hip Hop. Grade 12, I went through a House phase. I love most music and respect every style. Right now I listen to basically anything that makes me feel something.
Let’s talk about your music. How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
I’d just say it’s mainstream pop with a underground vocal and emotional writing style.
What makes the perfect pop song in your ears?
Lyrics are important but the build up in the different melodies are what makes it perfect for me.
You have worked alongside artists such as Kyle Watson and TiMO ODV, are there any other upcoming collaborations we can look forward to?
I love collaborating! Most of my favourite songs are alongside someone else. But I’m working towards growing my brand as an individual a bit more now. You can expect a few more collabs in the future but not too soon.
‘Throw You Down’ is your most recent single. What does the song mean to you?
It’s one of the first songs I felt completely happy with. I felt like myself and like I would listen to it in the car and not have terrible criticism popping up in my head all the time. It’s good to be hard on yourself but I felt like it was the beginning of becoming more like a respectable artist with a definite music style and atmosphere.
When you aren’t in the world of music, is there something really far removed from it that you like to indulge in?
If I’d have to choose something completely outside of the arts and if I was smart (haha) I’d like to be an optometrist.
What can we expect from your self-titled EP launching in March?
Every song sounds different, but my vocals tie it all together to sound like ‘Ryki’. I worked with two of my very good friends, David Balshaw and Bubele Booi (Throw You Down, What Could We, Bad Intentions). They brought out the best in me in the most beautiful place, Cape Town, the one and only Sketchy Bongo, Ameen Harron and best song writer Caleb Williams, Deemo and the amazing Kyle Watson.
The EP is not only self titled because it’s my first EP, but because this is me. This is how I sounded in each phase from 2015 to 2017. I found myself as an artist from day one of recording till the last song I did on the EP. This is listening to me grow and find Ryki’s sound from ‘Such a mess’ to ‘Bad Intentions’.
Watch the video for ‘Throw You Down’ below and download her EP here.