Riva Taylor is a pop artist who stepped onto the music scene as a young girl. She has stared in musicals and went on to release number of albums. Her sound is a cross between London Grammar,Jessie Ware and Sam Smith. Now Riva is back with her new single My Mouth and we are catching up to chat all things music and more.
ASBO: How did you first get started in music?
Riva: I’ve been doing music as long as I can remember. I guess I was initially encouraged by my friends and family who asked me to sing for them. At 7 I was in the west end, 12 I got my first record deal. It was always something I loved and that just felt natural. A hobby that got out of hand at times and became ‘Work’ but didn’t feel like it!
ASBO: How did your environment influence your musical ability?
Riva: Music was always playing in the house and while my parents aren’t hugely musical they were always encouragers and appreciators. Mum loved musicals which I guess was my introduction to it all when she took me to see Les Mis, her favourite musical, at the age of 6, (then had to put up with me singing the songs non stop and begging them to let me audition for a part after that!) My dad was a big fan of kate bush, Genesis, Dire Straights, Annie Lennox. I grew up with my ears keyed into the 80s. I still love the sense of nostalgia when listening to those artists!
ASBO: How did you discover your musical style?
Riva: It’s been a journey! And much trial and error both in the studio and performing to audiences! I think most singers continue to evolve and experiment with styles and it’s what is right for them at that particular time that we hear and hopefully connect with. I think the few years I took out of music to study at university where I listened to a lot of old rhythm and blues music definitely keyed my ears into a different music style which helped pull me out of the previously more classic style. I also think writing more songs with different writers in different countries, each of whom have their own unique feel has been a huge influence and learning curve for me these past few years.
ASBO: How would you describe your process in terms of making music?
Riva: I like to write the basic lyric idea down first and work up a song from that. For me a song comes directly from the sentiment. I often envisage how I would move to the music too in a song’s early stages. For me it’s a full 360 degree approach. Words, music and movement/performance have to work in tandem for me to feel confident in giving the audience my all.
ASBO: What influences your creativity?
Riva: Extreme situations unfortunately! High and low...or new experiences. For instance, I’ve had a couple of ‘troughs’ over the past few years, as we all do. Finding light in those situations has meant for me, getting creative and writing. Very often going out of the Uk to do so. My next single is one of those. Called ‘Chaos Killed the Thrill’. I wrote that in Berlin. I know I also perform best when I’m unwound and find myself in a neutral, relaxed state. Again, as most people do in any job they undertake! I feel creative there. Yoga helps get me to this place
ASBO: How wo-uld you describe yourself an artist?
Riva: Performer, singer, songwriter. I love to create an interesting dynamic with my set, take the audience on a bit of a journey!
ASBO: What can you tell us about your new single?
Riva: My Mouth is a song about not speaking out even though you know deep down you want to or should. The first time I heard it back in the studio I knew I wanted it on the album. It’s a track I connect with and I hope others do too.
ASBO: In terms of your music in general what is the vibe that you want people to get when they listen to your songs?
Riva: I hope there is a blend of provoking an common emotion through my music and writing. But also the feeling of dynamic. I’d like them to imagine it live.
ASBO: As an artist how important is your sense of style to you?
I think the most interesting artists have an undefinable style. A blend. They have created something familiar and secure but with added newness. I’ve learned over the years that no one in the music industry is competition. There is room for every individual artist to really shine. There is no space for two artists sharing exactly the same style to have this impact. The hardest question I am asked is ‘what’s your style’ it very often involves me cobbling together a singer from a few artists!
Words: Seneo Mwamba