Where to begin? … with the name of course.
I am an artist; a singer, a songwriter, a producer, a multi-instrumentalist, but when it comes down to it, I am a singer. I love singing and that’s what I want to do… Sing!
For me, singing is meditation, it is fun, it is healing, it is prayer, it is self-expression, it is my connection with other people, it is my release… Singing is my true passion!
When I meet people who ask what I do for a living, they often offer advice as people usually want to help. Advice that often demonstrates their lack of understanding of the business as it is today, which is not like it used to be, as with most industries, since the advent of the amazing internet. I often term this as BM (Before the Matrix existed) and AM (After the Matrix came to exist).
In an attempt to explain what it’s like being an artist today, barring the very, very lucky few, I say ‘humour me for a minute’…
Twenty years ago, if you wanted to be an astronaut, you’d have to be one of the lucky few chosen and capable ones, who were trained up by NASA and got to fly to the moon! Like… Wowzers!
Today, if you want to go to the moon, you have to build your own rocket! I mean, figure out how oxygen tanks work, learn about rocket science, chemical, electrical and space engineering, figure out how to build a crapper that works in zero gravity and so much more!
You just wanted to fly the thing to space, after all you’re an astronaut, that’s your chosen career. Well, not until you build a rocket by yourself matey! The sky’s full of them! Plus, you don’t have the zillions of dollars in budget or the multitudes of genius-level people that are behind such NASA projects.
Then after years of not giving up, of trial and error, of sweat and tears, of heart ache and many amazing moments too of course, you finally land your little ol’ rocket on the moon and there you find the music industry guys who say “Ah, welcome to the moon, now that you’re here, let’s talk business!”
One of the main points is that since the internet leveled the playing field, pretty much anyone can dream of, and actively pursue a career in music/the arts when before, it was only the few super stars who got to enjoy such privileges as having their songs recorded, with fans in different countries having access to those recordings. Now comes the problem of a very oversubscribed industry (understatement of the year) so this journey is not for the faint-hearted, especially if you have no financial support and come from a continent like Africa which is about as far from the Pop music ecosystem as the moon itself!
So yes, people think the idea of a home-grown Zimbabwean aiming for the same job that John Mayer or Ed Sheeran has is absurd! Just as ludicrous an idea as Africa having a space program. I must be a nutcase! Well, welcome to the mad house! lol
I am a fully capable musician who lacks the benefits of having grown up in the main ‘incubators’ of today’s Pop world, whether it be London, New York or Los Angeles etc. Where people like Adele and Amy Winehouse get to attend Arts Schools that can connect you to the elusive gatekeepers of this industry once you graduate. I can’t even afford to pay rent most months never mind consider such formal avenues!
So my chosen path has been the longer road involving self-development which labels don’t really get involved with nowadays. As one industry guy in LA told me when I played him my demo,
We don’t really do development deals anymore. It’s like trying to sell a half-cooked meal, so we go for the full ready-to-go meals, the cream at the top, which is in abundance (thanks to the internet). You have great songs and a great voice. You need a producer to make your songs radio ready…
This was a huge setback seeing that good producers want to be paid (like musicians do too)… I’m usually living off the smell of an oil rag! Where am I going to meet someone willing to donate time and resources for free or swaps?! This is where I decided, fine, if I have to learn to cook the whole shebang myself… challenge accepted! This way, I never have to go hungry ‘creatively’ until the right connections are made.
That was in late 2009 so it feels great to be standing in my metaphoric kitchen that is now in pretty good shape!
What I also see, is my unique African background filled with optimism and resourcefulness, coupled with my unusual story as being more of a strength than a weakness, especially once this rocket really starts to gather speed.
Most of the World seems yet to catch on to that general notion of the talent being harboured south of the Equator. Some contemporary artists are often tempted to hide their African connection as a result, but onward I fly, my personal journey is well underway but my best efforts are yet to be seen. I’m only just getting started and I hope you enjoy the ride as much I do 🙂
Ready for launch!
Ryan Koriya | Ghostrider (Deep-Space Edit):
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Ghostrider is my first (twin) single released independently in 2014 and in ‘rocket’ terms. I built the whole thing myself doing all of the following: Songwriting, Vocals, Music Production, Studio Engineering, Mixing, Performing of Instruments, Programming, Music Studio Editing and Music Video Editing! I managed to save up enough to pay someone to Master the track for me (Phew!)
This was recorded when I was touring in Copenhagen Denmark in February 2014.