PHOTO CREDIT: Varvara Photography
SHE wraps flavours of the East with Alternative and Electro-Pop…
sounds of the highest order. Listen is the latest track from Rivita and I was curious to find out about the London-based artist. She is off to study in New York very soon so I ask her about that, seemingly unmissable, opportunity. I quiz Rivita about her upbringing E.P. and the type of music she was raised on; what it was like winning an award at the Indian Music Video Awards 2017 and whether there are stark contrasts between London and her home in New Delhi. With her music collecting so much love and support, I was curious what her plans were for the remainder of this year.
Hi, Rivita. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam! I am doing great thanks. My week has been pretty busy so far -just the way I like it!
For those new to your music, can you introduce yourself, please?
I am an Electro-Pop singer/songwriter, music producer and film-maker. I write Pop songs with an Eastern influence – and I also make music videos
Listen is your latest song/video. What was the idea and inspiration behind that song?
The main idea and inspiration behind Listen was the unrest that has been going on globally: as a musician and artist, I truly believe that if we all stop for a minute and listen to each other and negotiate then surely we can find a way to introduce peace in the world. The video features people from all across the globe sending a message of peace, unity and diversity.
It won at the Indian Music Video Awards 2017 and nominated at the World & Music Independent Film Festival. What was it like receiving these kinds of accolades?
It has been a great honour and I am absolutely humbled: this kind of recognition towards my work has made me work even harder towards my new music and videos.
You are a filmmaker and composer – and clearly, have an eye for visuals. Is music something you immerse yourself in and spend a lot of time conceiving?
Yes, definitely. Anyone who knows me knows that I spend long hours into the night working on my music – writing songs, producing, filming and editing.
I am also a perfectionist which does not make things easy on me: I have to keep working on something until it feels absolutely right!
Split between New Delhi and London, you must see two contrasting music scenes. What is it like in New Delhi when it comes to new music? Is it quite thriving there?
There is a lot of budding talent in India. The underground music scene here is quite vibrant and, when explored, you will find some extremely eloquent pieces of music
I hear you are moving to New York soon. What is the reason behind that? Are you excited about creating music in such a huge and vibrant city?
I am moving to N.Y. to study at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications where I have been offered a scholarship. I am very excited to explore a new landscape of the music industry!
I know a new E.P. is forthcoming. What can you reveal about song titles and the ideas explored on the E.P.?
Yes, my debut E.P. is forthcoming. I have been pretty secretive about it so far mainly because how close the songs are to my heart. I believe that, with this E.P., I have really gone and searched my soul and said things I have felt for a long time.
I was greatly influenced by my recent trip to China and Spain – while writing these songs – and I am absolutely elated by the sounds and thoughts that I have been able to explore in my writing. I will be releasing a single from my E.P. in June – the single is called While the Love is Gone.
Any tour dates in the U.K. or India coming up (to promote the E.P.)?
It is early days as I am still in the end stages of production of the E.P. We will start booking tour dates in May once the production of the E.P. is out of the way!
It seems D.I.Y. and taking control of your work is quite important. How far does that extend? Will you literally write the song and take care of every process until a track is released?
Yes, usually, I take care of every detail – writing, production; distribution, promotion etc.
I discuss my work with my close friends and, luckily, I am surrounded by people who give me their honest opinion and advice.
Since I have a very particular sound, I like to work alone to maintain the authenticity of it. This does not mean I do not work with other people – I work with other musicians often; if there are live instruments that I need on my tracks or if I am going to be performing live.
I also love collaborating with other artists and art forms: you will find Mahamaya Group of Fusion Dancers performing on my music videos. I have been producing music for Barbados-based band Steady Rockin. My upcoming music is going to be mastered by a renounced studio and mastering engineer from London.
PHOTO CREDIT: Monica Goyle
Do you feel more artists should become more involved in their own work and less reliant on studios and other bodies?
Ah. It totally depends on the artists, their abilities and what they want or expects out of their music. It takes years and years of research and studying learning the skills of a music producer, mixing engineer and mastering engineer. If an artist needs the support of a professional music producer then they must invest in what is best of their career.
Take me back to the start. How did you get started in music? Was it something you have always been passionate about?
It is true, I have always been very passionate about music.
I picked up the guitar when I was twelve, and started writing songs, I become much more serious about music and decided to practice it professionally at the age of nineteen.
This led to me moving to London where I studied at the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music towards a Bachelor’s degree – later moving onto a Master’s degree in Film & T.V. Composition at Kingston University.
Who, would you say, are the musicians that inspired you most growing up?
As a kid, I was really into Alternative-Rock bands like Linkin Park, The Calling; Blink-182, Simple Plan etc. Later on, I also got into Pop and RnB music – I was quite inspired by artists such as Jay Sean and Shakira as they incorporated their culture into their music and made it unique.
PHOTO CREDIT: Varvara Production
If you had to select the album that has meant the most to you, which would it be and why?
Timeless by Sergio Mendes. I love Brazilian music and I believe Sergio Mendes is the Holy Grail of modern Samba. It is truly a rich album. Sergio collaborated with many contemporary artists on it such as will.i.am and John Legend. The album is genuinely timeless.
What advice would you give to any new artists coming through right now?
The advice I would give to any new artists is that they should concentrate on creating and not so much on networking. If you do not have material to share then there is not much point in networking and knowing people.
Also, it helps to be versatile: if you can take care of a lot of small details yourself – gets things done much quicker so invest in learning new skills.
Who are the new acts you recommend we check out?
I have been digging the music by upcoming artist Bishop Briggs, lately.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that)
I have been totally addicted to Jason Derulo’s new track, Swalla.