BY ANUJ RADIA
A young girl with big dreams and determination… that’s how 15-year-old Leicester based Riya describes herself. Add great voice, soulful, clever and insightful lyricist to the mix and you have a girl that is destined for success.
Not to make too fine a point of it, but at just 15, Riya is setting off on a journey that most girls of her age really only dream of!
Preparing to release her first single ‘No Time’ on 6th July, Riya looks set to make waves in the music industry, having already grabbed the attention of top music producer Shayal as well as a certain national talent show (although she was too young to enter!).
Set to an easy and fun afrobeat vibe, ‘No Time’ is definitely a track for Generation X, picking up on their obsession with phones and social media:
“It’s a happy song about letting go of your worries and having a good time with your girlfriends. The underlying theme is girl power and having fun, but what really sparked it was the fact that my generation are so immersed in their phones and sometimes you’re trying to have a conversation and no-one’s really listening, hence the lyrics.”
Born and raised in Leicester, Riya was surrounded by music and dancing. She started singing around the tender age of seven, but found her true calling at the age of 10 when she started to play the piano: “During my very early years I can remember listening to my dad’s collection of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Mariah Carey and Coldplay along with my own more recent influences from Sia, Adele, Rihanna and Drake amongst many others.
“I used to sing all the time as a child but the day I discovered the piano around age 10 was when things really started to fall into place. Everything just felt right and it didn’t take long before I was ‘connected’ whenever I played. I had found something where I could express myself and let my emotions run free.
I was so excited to get my first piano at age 12 and if that was a turning point, the day I wrote my first song at age 13 will be a day I’ll never forget; the look on my dad’s face after I played it to him was a mixture of pride, happiness and shock!”
Since that day, Riya’s parents have helped nurture her talent, encouraging her to follow her dreams… and three years on that support and hard work is paying off.
Her big break came last Summer as she took the stage at Leicester Mela for her first major live performance. She was spotted by leading music producer Shayal, who took her under his wing and worked with her to produce the first of a number of singles that will undoubtedly pave the way for a great career in the music industry.
Shayal says of his new protégée: “As a music producer you’re always looking for something new, exciting and that gives you goosebumps. The first time I heard Riya sing and saw her perform I knew she had what it takes… she’s not just a great singer and dancer, but she writes her own songs, that not only means something to her, but that will resonate with her peers. I know she has what it takes to make it to the top!”
Riya’s debut single ‘No Time’ releases via iTunes, Amazon and other digital stores on 6th July on JP Records.