African Alchemy:

Samora Machel Avenue

Tonight, I packed up my belongings and moved out of a room in the Danish capital of Copenhagen’s Amager district in which I’d lived for the past three months tying up a three-month residency of gigs.

An interesting fact hit me as I filled my suitcase with the various belongings that had been allowed enough time to park outside of their small permanent wheelie home …

These last three months mark the longest period of time that I’ve lived in the same room since April 2012!… true story! (It is now November 2015!)

Since 2012, I’ve been no less than a rolling stone, going to The UK (multiple times), Belgium (twice), The Netherlands (at least five times), Germany (three times), Spain (once), The US (twice), Australia (twice), New Zealand (once), Zimbabwe (three times), South Africa (twice), Zambia (twice), Denmark (five times), Sweden (twice) and I’m off to play in Norway for the first time in two weeks 🙂

Most people ask two things, first… ‘why?’ and secondly… ‘how?!’

I finally read the book called The Alchemist a couple of weeks ago and now I see why people have been bringing it up and recommending it to me for years. It’s a story of a boy shepherd who spends years walking with his sheep and goes on an incredible international journey in search of his own personal legend that ends up making him very, very rich and wise. He even gets to marry the woman of his dreams, quite literally.

Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, over shadowed by financial difficulties, I’ve never been one to let my circumstances limit the size of my dreams (and I am very ambitious by nature). I’ve always been interested in getting bigger, better and going far in whatever I set my heart on.

Your attitude determines your altitude

African Alchemy:

How does one go from being grounded in Africa for two and a half years with an empty bank account to performing on four continents numerous times, playing solo and releasing new music by carrying around about fifty kilograms of luggage and recording gear, as shown in this video?:

The How (abridged):

In mid 2012, I had about 100 USD to my name and was living by the majestic Victoria Falls where I moved to from Harare knowing no one in that town apart from a face or two I’d seen at the festival I played there. Why did I move there?

It was the way that place made me ‘feel‘ whenever I was there for a few days at a time to perform. There’s a sense of calm and a sense of community in that transient little town by the mighty Zambezi River.

tom-varley-victoria-falls-zimbabwe
Victoria Falls by Tom Varley (www.facebook.com/tomvarleyphotography)

I had started focusing on following my heart/intuition more, no matter how crazy it seemed and did less worrying about what people are ‘supposed’ to do or what is ‘expected’ of me…

By November that year, I flew back to London armed with my new EP recorded in my backpacker bedroom studio. Still low on cash,  I had never been to any of the countries mentioned above apart from The UK, The US and the ones in Africa. Focusing on what I did have, I opted to use my newly acquired European passport to actually see places I would have found it hard or impossible to get to on a non-EU passport. I was and still am a full-time musician and I couldn’t afford to rent in London or anywhere really so it was time to improvise with the accommodation thing.

Bedroom Studio
My bedroom studio in Victoria Falls at Shoestrings Backpackers in 2012

My main focus was to keep performing and growing as an artist. Nothing great ever came without sacrifice and yes, of course I’d like to have my own home one day. I totally plan on owning a wonderful home that will be fully paid for by my art/skill. I may not have much money right now but I am very aware and grateful for the many other riches I already possess.

Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.

One of my greatest tools is to focus on what I do have and to start from there. I can get very far, when at the start of each day I am aware of my travel-friendly passport, my network of friends/family, my musical/artistic talents, my sense of humour (audience members often tell me I should become a comedian lol), my various computer skills, my intrinsic optimistic nature, my great passion for singing, my huge desire to excel, my boundless energy and current good health along with the other gifts I already have at my disposal including the very day itself that I get to live through. Life is a precious gift!

When starting to build your dream from scratch: If you learn to use what you already have, you won’t need what you have not, the rest will manifest in time – Ryan Koriya

Dream Time

Which brings me to…

The ‘Why’:

To build a successful music career takes quite a lot of money and support from the relevant sectors of the entertainment industry. I was quite deficient in both of these at the time and so rather than give up or be tied down by an office job to pay for a small room in an expensive city, thus relegating my music to the lower ranks of my time and energy banks, (with such an evolving industry as is the modern music world that is full of new possibilities), I opted to start building my career from the ground up. Brick by brick on my own, fan by fan, show by show, song by song, lesson by lesson, new skill by new skill, hurdle by hurdle.

Most importantly, like an Olympic athlete who trains every single day, I am now a musician who is at the top of his game, ready to perform and entertain at the drop of a hat having just sang in public (gigs) for around 210 hours (actual singing time) in the last three months alone, and that’s not including any singing I did in practice.

Besides, isn’t travelling globally and performing music what the well-known successful artists do?!

So that means I am now already living the dream. Being an artist is a lifestyle and it is who I am everyday. I create and perform, I have people in the countries listed above and more, who have already heard my music and who have met me in person, or know someone who has met me.

The fandom has begun, it may be small now, but it is already pretty spread out and bubbling. I’m building a career to last unlike the prominent flash-in-the-pan mentality of today. One day, I envisage all of these RK supporters becoming one big community of fans when the crucial hype machine finally kicks in.

Cairns Couple
New fans in Cairns Australia with their bird upon shoulder in 2015 🙂

Thinking back, as a Zimbabwean kid who took four years and three months just to get out of the then sanctioned country overcoming what seemed like a dead end situation, dreaming about a successful international music career, it now feels like it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but more a matter of ‘when’!

I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul

– William Ernest Henley

Going for gold!

www.ryankoriya.com

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8 Comments

    1. Thanks Leah,
      I appreciate the wonderful support that you’ve shown from day one 🙂
      It was awesome getting up to mischief with you and your family in the UK over the Summer. Go for gold and be amazing with your new clothing design. Girl, you gots this! x

  1. Hi Ryan,

    Your article was my first reading today which is fantastic, because I can learn english from this hehe… Congratulations for this post and for your know how! Of course, your are an African Alchemy and I am glad this book helped you to understand more yourself and give you energy to go for a glod as you are always doing even in a better way. I am lucky to meet you and this article is so great, so true… I am seeing how you are doing itfrom 2012 and even like that I continue to be amazed. Bravisimo Ryan!!! Go for a gold!!!! you will 😉

    Abrazos from Spain

  2. Great blog entry. I guess you chose African Astronauts because the stars are the limit. The scope of your dreams is boundless. Your passion and music are incredibly infectious. Keep achieving brother.

    1. Thanks brah!
      We have all come a long way and it’s amazing to think how the place we come from has quietly become our secret weapon, offering a wealth of experience and a desire to keep growing sun-ward. See you when I’m back down south 😉

  3. Wow! Inspiring article indeed. Reach for the stars, even if you fall short you’ll land among the stars.
    P.S Got the link from Asad.

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