How I Just Signed 3 Record Deals!

Runway Vertical Records Space Banner

This is a very exciting week for me!

Every musician has probably dreamed of that moment when they can say those magic five words …

I have just been signed!

The words that somehow seem to legitimize an artist’s creed, making them a professional in the business as opposed to being a hobbyist who’s unlikely to be taken seriously in the music world. Lets face it… the music industry sees a load of revenue and there’s money to be made.

So how did I get signed not once, but three times in such a difficult period for music? Well, the answer begins with my unique perspective on the music business…

I am now a consultant for musicians who wish to crack that elusive code that is keeping their careers from taking off. The industry has changed immensely since the hay day of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I get to enjoy watching independent artists start to see what’s really ‘under the hood’. That Eureka moment, as my job is to upgrade their thinking as to how to navigate the industry in 2018 and 2019, which is nothing like it was in 2008!

With fellow Zim Artists B-Kay and Kazz in Victoria Falls
With fellow Zim Artists B-Kay and Kazz in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

It is not so easy to get a record deal nowadays. We live in a time where a lot of signed artists are trying to get out of their contracts or where some of the music legends outwardly protest at the measly sum they make despite having literally hoards of digital streams. The problem is usually that those artists don’t own all of their music rights and publishing. Independent self-published artists are literally killing it on Spotify right now.

Not that the music industry isn’t full of people who work hard and genuinely want to help artists. The major labels are just so big and high up that it’s not easy for them to have a handle on what’s going on at ground level, or to be able to change direction very quickly hence often being late to the party.

So how did I get three deals at once? To be honest, I’m already looking at signing even more deals as things progress, and here’s how…

I’ve started my own record label. I really had no intention to do so as I’m so inundated with everything else from the songwriting all the way to the production and touring. However, after reluctantly trying out TV shows like The Voice and X-Factor and even getting a record deal offer out of New York which I declined for good reason, I’ve come to the conclusion that starting my own label is the smartest move by far.

Ryan Koriya Singing live at Cafe Mambo Ibiza
Ryan Koriya Singing live at Café Mambo Ibiza Spain 2018 – Photo by © Mambo Group

I’ve constantly been on tour since 2012, performing solo and connecting with people in over a dozen countries a year spanning four continents. The important question of whether I’m good enough to achieve global success was answered during this time.

The powerful and overwhelmingly positive feedback I get from people across the globe continues to fuel my quest.

My main priority has always been to have an amazing product. With a smaller marketing budget, force-feeding the market is not an option, so making solid and emotionally potent art will go much farther for less.

I’ve also been studying and taking classes along the way as I have always been interested in learning all aspects of the music business.

Some factors that play into my decision are as follows…

  • 98% of all acts that sign to major labels fail (2015 figures)
  • Signing to a record company means they own the master recordings not me
  • Their financial investment means I’m in debt to them from day one
  • My creative control is to be compromised at some point with a label involved
  • Zimbabwean Pop is not something a foreign label may be built for
  • I would have to be in a queue of artists in order to release music which can take years

My chosen method gives me all the control I desire and it is certainly possible in 2018. Especially for someone like me who has the skill sets, knowledge, experience and drive to go it alone.  After all, a label is also the marketing and branding machine for an artist. Now I’m using those acquired skills to consult for businesses outside of the music world too.

Besides, a label needs money in order to function.

But why three signings instead of one?

Well, that is one of the exciting aspects of my decision. I’ve always had a wide spectrum of sounds musically and now I get to allow each style to fully breathe…

My acoustic/folk songs get to have their own brand name and record deal.

My pop songs get to have their own brand name and record deal.

My TV/film soundtracks get to have their own brand name and record deal.

I will go on to make other types of music and essentially also release them under new pseudonyms in future.

Ryan Koriya on ZiFM Radio
Taking my mom with me for the ‘Drowning In Space’ promotion at ZiFM Radio Zimbabwe

The reason why I’m going this route is largely influenced by the fact that I can…

  • Release music across difference genres with no hassle and market it accordingly
  • Release a lot more music than ever before
  • The more music I release, the more royalties I make (especially being the full owner of the master, copyright and publishing)
  • Release music as often as I like
  • Have full creative control and freedom to try different musical ideas
  • Help other artists to carve out their unique path to success as I also have a team of label interns who I’m training up for the benefit of their own careers

Now the marketing process begins, as that is largely what record labels are for, to get their artists out into the world and make them hoards of new fans.

Challenge accepted!

You can immerse yourself in the new world of Runway Vertical Records by going to the official website where you can hear some previously unheard songs and even signup to receive an immediate sonic feelgood gift from us.

www.runwayvertical.com

You can also find us on facebook, instagram and twitter

If you don’t tell your own story, someone else will tell it for you…

Ryan Koriya

Founder, CEO and Artist – Runway Vertical Records

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Zimbabwean Hans Zimmer – Film Soundtrack Showreel

Cellist

If you’ve known me a long time, you know that the first instruments I started on and love dearly, are the violin and the cello  

**Thanks to my non-private government high school, Prince Edward High in Harare, Zimbabwe, I took up the violin in the second term of form one (at 13 years old) and my first teacher was a lovely British exchange student called Roxana Saraby who got me plucking away on those strings very quickly.

(One has to start with plucking before graduating to holding a bow and getting that to make decent noises – it’s all very Jedi-like stuff) lol

Plus I’m left-handed and played them all right-handed (including guitars). It just made sense not to be facing the opposite way to the rest of the strings and violin section. It would look rather odd! Haha!

The boys would play soccer in the fields at break time and I would be up in the PE music room taking every moment I could to spend time with my new wooden friend which I couldn’t take home till I had proven my dedication to the project… which was easy!

It really was love at first sight!

Wolverine Violin
I drew Wolverine from X-Men and stuck him onto my violin!

** I say ‘thanks to my school’ as it is worth mentioning my family were nowhere near the income bracket to be able to send me for any music lessons which were usually private, or to buy a violin/cello, never mind afford to send me to the national conservatory.

By my first Eisteddfod as a beginner, I brought my school the only music Honours of that entire year, seniors included, which led to me getting half-colours just after turning 14 (still a school record in 120 years I believe). That meant I got to wear a snazzy new tie and had a special badge on my blazer.

At the next NIAA Eisteddfod, I was hit straight in the chest by the cello soloists who showed me what the 4 cellos sitting up in the PE music room could sound like! … just gorgeous!!!

We didn’t have any cello teachers so they had just sat there for years!…

Until that fine day!… it was an even stronger love affair this time! 

And so I took to teaching myself the cello, against the head of music’s strong advice. He was worried I’d mess up my violin technique… that didn’t stop me! In fact, I even used to skip boring old ‘Agriculture’ classes to go and teach myself cello using the tutorial books we had aplenty!

Needless to say my violin technique probably benefited from my understanding of the cello. Just like how today, being a guitarist only makes me a better bass guitarist in my opinion 

Prince Edward School String Ensemble
Prince Edward School String Ensemble, in my cream colours blazer right of centre.

It just went up and up from there, to full scholarships at the national conservatory for both violin and cello, playing in the Harare City Orchestra and much more.

My favourite film scores growing up would often be from Hans Zimmer who loves using strings in films like The Gladiator and of course The Lion King 

Today, I am very excited to reveal to you my latest film score which was composed and created to a film brief all in the same day.

There is much more of this to come and if you know anyone in the film world who would need my quick and detailed expertise, please do share it with them 

They may be film directors, music supervisors, film editors or people who work in TV, media or in marketing and advertising to mention a few.

Thanks for listening and sharing. Feel free to say hi if you have the time and thanks for being on the journey of a lifetime with me 

Wishing you all a superb weekend from my new home in Ibiza, Spain 

Ryan
Singer-Songwriter // Multi-Instrumentalist // Composer // Music Producer

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20 Eighteen // 1. Let Me Tell You Your Future

Drama Photo

Chapter One                                                                                                                  Tue, Feb 3 2018

Dearest Ryan,

Happy Eighteenth birthday from me, well, from you, exactly twenty years into your future!

Eighteen to Thirty Eight
Left: (18) High School Graduation – Right: (38) New German fans in Nyhavn, Copenhagen

It’s the year 20 Eighteen and today on the third of February, my birthday present was waking up to the sight of the first snow of the season!

Don’t worry! It’s not snowing in Zimbabwe in 2018 but it is snowing in Denmark, where I am working for the season.

Copenhagen Snow
I opened my blinds today on my birthday and it was all white outside! Waking up to the first snow of the season in Copenhagen

Now I know 100% what you are thinking about my being in a foreign country…

“Great! I must be a pilot, probably the captain of a Boeing 747-400 ER flying around the world in command of a whopping 412 700 KGs of flying aluminium!” I know this because boy, do you love planes! (I still do!)

Ed Force One - Boeing 747
The metal band Iron Maiden tour in their own Boeing 747 Jumbo and their singer Bruce Dickinson is the pilot! …cue man crush!!

Your ambition since you were literally old enough to talk Ryan, has been to become a pilot. The weirdest thing is, twenty years later, you’re not a pilot (yet) and I’ll explain why later. Something is going to come into your life so unexpectedly and change everything when you’re about twenty and you are going to love it!

Ryan's Bedroom

Ryan's Room
My bedroom walls as a kid were covered in aeroplanes and pictures that I drew of aeroplanes!
Aerobatic flying in a Decathlon
Aerobatic flying (mid loop) in a Decathlon whilst on tour in Queensland Australia 2015

My birthday is also on a Tuesday like it was in 1998. I am turning thirty eight today and boy do I have some hugely insane things to tell you! So many things I wish someone had told me when I was a teenager, and so many truths you live by that couldn’t be further away from the truth!  I will share some of my life-defining moments and life lessons but enough about me, let’s get back to you…

The one thing I remember about you waking up today, on your eighteenth birthday, is this slightly disappointing sensation when you realize that you look and feel exactly the same as you did yesterday! Somehow, all the fuss that people make about turning the big ‘one eight’ and ‘coming of age’, subconsciously puts the idea in your head that you make this radical change into someone new over night!

Which brings me to my next important point…

I love you man! I mean, seriously! You really need to know that! Right now, you are so incredibly hard on yourself and your self-esteem is shot to pieces! So much so, that you were nearly passing out on a cold bathroom floor in a lodge in Kariba or Vic Falls just recently (it’s hard to remember which one now) but you were flown up to play a wedding in your classical string quartet and you had no money, as always, since pocket money is a privilege you and your siblings do not get to enjoy like others may do. It’s a good thing you play a paid quartet gig once in a blue moon, which is also ironic, considering you’re going to be given a hard time about your music after high school, but that’s a story for another day.

Back to the quartet… so you couldn’t afford to eat and you practically fainted from hunger, but here’s the thing… your quartet colleagues even offered you some money to get food and you declined, like you always do! It’s not healthy dude, and we need to talk about it! You feel so guilty about asking for help, or about troubling others with your mere existence. You even pee on the side of the toilet bowl to make as little noise as possible and usually try and go undetected when you’re around people!

You are allowed to fill the space that you stand in Ryan! You are so sensitive to other people’s energies and you have no idea how powerful you already are in so many ways! That sensitivity is actually a super power as opposed to a weakness, which is what society would have you believe.

Here’s the mad part!…

You are certainly also a very confidant and outgoing person. Your friends and peers till today in 2018, largely have no idea, or struggle to even entertain the thought of you having been that insecure. After all, you are the Ryan who’s been on stage doing theatre since you were eight years old.

Academically, you were in the top three from grade one and in the A stream in high school. You are the same Ryan who picked up the violin at the age of thirteen in form one, kicked royal ass, and was awarded music half-colours by the first term of form two. You are the same Ryan who just won the National Best Actor Award of Zimbabwe at seventeen, who has been playing violin in the Harare City Orchestra and in the Sinfonietta. You are also now a centenary prefect and were a member of the Zimbabwe Air Corp! Let’s not forget your full scholarship at the Zimbabwe College of Music to study both violin and cello. The list goes on and on!

Drama Photo
Prince Edward School Drama Society in my colours blazer front right aged 16/17.
Prince Edward School Orchestra in my colours blazer just left of centre aged 15/16.
Prince Edward School String Ensemble
Prince Edward School String Ensemble aged 16/17
Air Cadet uniform – Air Force of Zimbabwe aged 15/16

So here’s some of what you don’t fully realise yet…

You are the first generation of a brand new country that has a very complex history, entangled in colonial upheaval, racial oppression, political greed and a history that is riddled with secrets. There is so much that people are just not talking about that really needs to be discussed and boy, are some of those things going to hit you square in the face and floor you! It’s going to hurt like hell!

Here are some of the topics I am going to broach with you and so much of it makes more sense looking back from the age of thirty eight.

Technology:

You studied computer science for O’Levels working on 286 desktop computers using floppy and stiffy drives that would have probably stored up to 1.44MB of data per disk! A friend of mine recently showed me his cell phone that holds 256GB of data! That means over 190 200 stiffy drives of data can fit into his pocket! …Whaaaat?!

By the time you leave school, you’re going to see the first cell phones released and you will buy your own cell very soon called a Mango C10 by Siemens. (Thanks again to the music). The technology advancements from then to 2018 are going to blow your cranial CPU!!

The photos of you from the nineties look a hundred years old compared to the ones I’m taking on my cell phone in 2018, not to mention that I’m making a documentary, also using my high definition phone camera!

IBM 286 Computer
A 286 Computer similar to the ones I studied computer science on.
Stiffy Drives
Stiffy Disks would each hold about 1.44MB (MB not GB) of data to store information on.
Siemens C10 Cell Phone
My first-ever cell phone was a Siemens C10 ‘Mango’ that could hold only 50 contacts and had no such thing as an SD card or external memory.

Mental  Health and Spirituality:

You’ve had some tough times just trying to be yourself in the society you’ve grown up in Ryan. You come from a very strong and resilient family and you’ve even run away from home.

Remember that time? You must have been about ten years old. It’s a good thing that at that age you only knew to run away (well, walk…) all the way to gran’s house that was a whole 9.2 KMs away in Southerton! I have some insights to share with you about all those unspoken energies and the guilt you were so strongly aware of and the emotional trauma that came with it.

Meme on Optimism and Love
My signature hashtag to promote positive thinking and compassion: #KeepYourLoveLightOn

Race and Culture:

Unlike the Rhodesia that our parents and their parents grew up in, you and most of your peers don’t really see the difference in skin colour. Even though, I know you still suffer from quite the identity crisis at eighteen. You’re ‘coloured’ but people always give you a hard time and they deny you a significant part of your cultural blueprint just because you are darker skinned than the traditional mixed race cliché. They seem to ignore the fact that Indian or Asian people mix too, not just Caucasians. Mom being called Sultana,  Vinay being your middle name and your strange duo-chrome eye colour are more clues to your diversity. Never mind the fact that your surname Koriya is literally from India and other surnames in the family are names like Omar and Mohamed. So don’t let any strangers tell you who you are buddy!

I know you still remember how tough it was on that first day you had to put your hand up during a grade one ethnic diversity monitoring session at the age of six. I imagine it was to illustrate how the schools were finally mixing after Independence. Your classmates and teachers only cooled it after you took your birth certificate to school to prove your ethnicity!

Well that day is still something you sometimes talk to foreign people about, to help paint a picture of the racial pressures that come with the Southern African region and its complex history, never mind globally.

My Family
The famdamilly just before I left for my #DIStour in August 2016

Relationships and Sexuality:

You are a student at an all-boys school but thanks to all your music and acting, you’ve made so many female friends and appear quite the stud and yet you are so frustratingly inept at this ‘birds and the bees’ thing, like many of your peers. Zimbabweans are a very sheltered and conservative people compared to other parts of the world.

You’re going to have your first kiss later this year and it’s going to be fairly awkward and quite traumatic (involving a dead cat!) You’re going to have your first ‘sort of’ girlfriend for three months next year and your first serious girlfriend when you’re twenty one. There will be racial tensions and I’m so proud of how you will go on to deal with them. You often struggle with the courtship process though, and you’re only going to really start to figure it out in your mid thirties! I’ll get more into that later.

Zimbabwe College Of Music.
Musicamp Concert at the Zimbabwe College Of Music.

But for now, Happy Birthday Ryan and enjoy your last year of high school! You’ve done amazingly and remember, as I said… don’t be so hard on yourself! You’re doing so, so well!

I’ll write again soon.

Much love

You (twenty years in the future)

Fields Shopping Mall in Copenhagen
Shopping in Copenhagen Denmark at the end of 2017. Brrr!

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The African Alchemist (Documentary)

I'MPOSSIBLE The African Alchemist

 

A New Web Documentary Series Called I’MPOSSIBLE

Subscribe to the YouTube Channel today and watch the previews and catch the first episode when it is released.

Season One

Just how much can one determined artist who lives out of a suitcase and has no home base do on their own?

Impossible is a mindset!

If you say you can, you’re right. If you say you can’t, you’re also right!

Despite the odds … #iAmPossible!

The first season focuses on my latest international tour that started in my native Zimbabwe, taking me and my guitar to 27 cities in 13 countries in the space of a year.

The episodes will delve deeper into the how, the where and the why!

The Drowning In Space tour (#DIStour) is in support of my latest digital single that was recorded in the magical Victoria Falls Zimbabwe.

This marks the 5th year in a row I have played in as many countries on each cycle, spanning 4 continents. All independent, without management, booking agents or any outside assistance in today’s over-cluttered music landscape where the industry only tends to get involved once you’ve landed on the moon in your own home-made spaceship.

Just how much can one determined artist do on their own? Quite a lot it seems …

 

I’MPOSSIBLE Preview #1 – Yes, We Speak English In Africa + Ethnic Diversity

Judging by the numerous conversations I have with people from all over the world, I had to start off by addressing common misconceptions.

I spend a lot of time having to explain why I speak English (which is my first language) and advocating the idea of a Zimbabwean Ed Sheeran or Zimbabwean John Mayer (Global Top 40/Pop Artist) as opposed to the clichéd World Music,  Afro-Jazz etc

 

I’MPOSSIBLE Preview #2 – You Can’t Build When You’re Always In Survival Mode

Despite my circumstances, one mindset I have adopted to help me achieve success is to not just be surviving… but somehow make sure I am surviving… forwards!

Life begins where fear ends

Never give up!!

 

I’MPOSSIBLE Preview #3 – The Snow Hath Returned!

After family goodbyes at the airport, it was time to hit the skies, starting with South Africa then moving onto Europe and Scandinavia… It’s cold in Scandinavia! Brrr!!

 

I’MPOSSIBLE Preview #4 – Zimbabwean Ed Sheeran

Like Ed Sheeran, I write pop songs, play acoustic guitar, perform solo whether it be in a pub, club or on a festival main stage, but instead of looping a beat or my voice, I play live drums with my feet (kick, snare, hi-hat) and sing my own vocal delay in real time, live.

Here’s what some more fans have to say about it…

 

I’MPOSSIBLE Preview #5 – Ibiza – The Kygo Effect

I love Dance music. I have released a Beatport-charting House single that was remixed by a few hundred producers and I would love to pitch my vocals to and write a single with Kygo, and a few other Dance Artists I digg like Coldplay, Calvin Harris, DJ Snake, Alan Walker, RudimentalAvicii, Roger Sanchez and Bob Sinclar.

I went to Ibiza to see if it could become my European base while I somehow work towards my dream move to the US.

 

I’MPOSSIBLE Preview #6 – The Dream Team

The #DIStour culminated in the US where I was based in my dream location of Nashville TN for the Summer. A town that I’d love to live in and assemble a dream team to keep this stellar rocket flying way past the moon!

Allow me to demonstrate some of why I love the US and its music culture…

 

Please share this page/these videos and help give this project a great start as I continue to work towards inspiring others and continue sharing how I am single-handedly building the seemingly impossible with the help of a few powerful mindsets.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel to get each webisode as it is released: http://www.youtube.com/RyanKoriyaVideo

Signup by email on www.ryankoriya.com and get insider access to my adventure of a lifetime!

Ryan

The African Alchemist

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Drowning In Space – Open Up For Some Air!

Drowning In Space Banner

The soundtrack to real life…

I wrote Drowning In Space in Copenhagen Denmark around October 2015, ironically in the very room I’m sitting in right now as I type this.

I had just completed a 10-country tour on 4 continents (for the third year running as captured in the Official DIS music video below). Back then, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to come back to this pub covers circuit but here I am! I hoped I’d have broken through some of the ‘online’ static to get my own songs out to more people/contacts and to finally see some sort of ‘break through’.

I have found my journey incredibly solitary as the world around me seems to be hanging on by both hands trying to make sense of things and to just get by, never mind having time or energy to worry about the singer who believes in a sense of community and bringing people together.

Hence my feeling like I’m ‘Drowning In Space’. The view up here is incredible but where’s everyone else?

Copenhagen is a superb city and it hasn’t all been doom and disappointment since I was last playing this circuit. I got to return home to Zimbabwe and spend 8 months in that lush paradise I grew up in, despite 2016 being strongly peppered with challenges on a national scale. I even went on to tour the new single to 10 countries on 2 continents in 13 weeks (making that the fourth year in a row) with some wonderful memories being made into the end of the year:

#DIStour

 

It seems the Western World had its fair share of major upsets during 2016 that delivered many a blow including the passing on of great musical legends like Bowie and Prince, all quite early on in the year too! It certainly didn’t end there with stars like George Michael and Carrie Fisher also seemingly deciding the great gig in the sky may be a better option.

Feeling oh so weightless like I’ve left the earth
In search for life, for life among the living

Brexit and Trump also became major upsets of the year and I remember waking up on both of those mornings thinking, the heaviness I felt when I wrote Drowning In Space is what many people were now clearly feeling as well. After all, being an artist does involve being plugged into the surrounding consciousness and becoming a part of social commentary. Even if it’s before most people are aware that is what the mood of the times is.

DIS talks about how alone I felt in a world seemingly populated by fellow compassionate human beings, watching as people allow the gap between their individual hearts and the hearts of others around them continue to widen, which just can’t be a good thing! Cue the current trends in intolerance and mass misinformation.

Is there anybody else here breathing?
Coz your chest is not moving…

I actually wrote Drowning In Space for a Trance Producer in the US who turned it down and so I decided to record it myself, using old software on my broken laptop, in a backpacker’s in Victoria Falls, mixing and mastering it on headphones but that’s a whole other story for another time!

For now, the message to take home from my latest offering is this…

Keep spreading that love and keep being good to fellow humans, especially in person. Connect with people and give what little light you may have to share, that’s how you get recharged too!

We’ve got to show the world
Show the world
The world how we love

Make Your Own Good News

There is so much good that came from 2016 that we shouldn’t forget about. Not that many of us know much about the good stuff as it doesn’t get much airtime in today’s drama-hungry media culture.

Keep spreading that light anyway regardless of the lack of mass praise!

Keeps shining on, this light that I’ve been giving out
In the search for love, for love among the loving

Read the full lyrics here

 

‘Drowning In Space’ was recently released on my birthday in February and is out now globally on all major digital platforms…

http://www.ryankoriya.com/music

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New Music Video – Wide Open

Wide Open Dancers

Greetings from the recording studio in beautiful Victoria Falls.

My birthday was ten days ago and I had aimed to release this video by then! The fact that I am only getting there today reminds me of a very apt saying that I’ve had respect for ever since I first heard it…

When it comes to achieving your dreams, you can decide ‘what’
but you don’t get to decide ‘when’.

There is so much in the business of turning something from your head into something real and as an artist, you learn that things often take much more time than you would like. The real world obstacles are always a challenge, particularly getting the right people to notice you and more importantly to understand your vision.

This marks my first release of 2016 and the first of a new cover series I’m launching which will see more releases coming soon as I continue to carve out my musical landscape and vision in what is one of the most interesting and booming industries out there 🙂

A friend sent me the new music video to the Chemical Brothers song called ‘Wide Open’ which was uploaded by them at the end of January and it immediately stole my heart.

It is so close to something I’d do, especially in vibe and intensity. I paused work on my new original single ‘Drowning In Space’ in order to immediately start recording my own version of Wide Open.

The music video features a fellow Zimbabwean who I think is a very talented dancer who is studying dance in the UK. I can already picture her in videos on MTV Trace Urban or dancing on stage alongside the Biebers and Beyoncés of this world one day. With any luck, I’ll be one of her collaborators in the pop world too.

Introducing Tasi Lightfoot:

Wide Open is written by:
The Chemical Brothers and Beck

Ryan Koriya:
Vocals, Instruments, Music Production, Studio Engineering, Programming, Mixing, Mastering and Video Editing

Filmed in Zimbabwe and The UK

Dancers:
Tasi Lightfoot
Connor Davis

Choreography:
Tasi Lightfoot
Matt Walker

Subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE to be the first to get the new video releases

Download this song free on Soundcloud HERE (up to the first 100 downloads)

www.ryankoriya.com

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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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What I’m Doing Right Now:

Me in CapeTown

It’s Halloween, the last day of October and I’m in Copenhagen, Denmark just 90 minutes away from playing my last gig here.

This is a snap shot of what I’m working on right now in the bigger scheme of things which is prompted by the ever-inspiring Derek Sivers and his great writing.

  • Tonight, I’m tying off a 3-month RK live gig residency in Copenhagen, Denmark. I’ll be in Sweden then Norway in a few days to play my last European/Scandinavian dates of 2015 having been to Australia, New Zealand and The UK before this
  • I’m writing and demoing new songs for my next single and EP (I’m heading into the recording studio after closing the tour)
  • I’m populating my new blog African Astronauts and working on the promo video for its official launch
  • I’m recording songs for my upcoming YouTube covers series (project name and details yet to be revealed)
  • I’m learning new skills and various techniques to keep growing as an individual and as an artist
  • I’m mentoring various artists on how to work towards and achieve the career goals they desire
  • I’m helping various friends and colleagues navigate emotional challenges and work towards achieving a healthy mind-spirit balance
  • I’m taking more time off my busy schedule to be face-to-face with and meet new people, try new things, perform live more, and generally spend less time plugged into the matrix.

Twenty years ago people would process 300* tasks a week manually. Nowadays, just because we can get 3000* tasks processed in a week using the convenience and power of technology, doesn’t mean we have to process 3000 tasks a week! I believe everyone should be able to take even more holidays in 2015 with the same level of productivity or more. Instead, I see more ‘busy’ and less ‘love’ or ‘attention’ for those around us. A smart phone or laptop doesn’t give you a hug and attention quite like a real person can! I’m being more aware of knowing when to turn off the digital devices 🙂 RK

*I just picked a random number to help illustrate my point
Birthday Dinner In Perth
Birthday dinner with long time friends in Perth Australia 2015

Why?

‘Why?’ I find this to be one of the most powerful questions when it comes to pretty much anything anyone does, desires, works towards. Kids go through the infamous ‘whyyy?’ stage and there is merit to staying curious as an adult.

The main reason why I’m doing all of the above comes down to this…

I am building an international career as a world-class performing and recording artist. In an age where you have to build your own space ship if you wish to fly to the stars. I am creating a fulfilling life of artistic expression that is shrouded in love for fellow mankind. Music has the power to heal wounds that aren’t physically visible.

Ryan Koriya : Business Owner | Singer | Songwriter | Producer | Multi-Instrumentalist | Voice Over Artist

www.ryankoriya.com

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Do You Know?

Do You Know?

What was the first thing you did without having to ask for permission?

Who buys your attention and who earns it?

Do you really care as much as you would like to, and are you going to end up with who you want to or just who you can? Do you really know yourself or are you living in a stranger?

Do you want to know yourself? Is having ‘knowledge’ really the lack of ignorance?

Don’t try to be what they want you to. Who is ‘they’ anyway?

If you could live your absence, would you like what you heard?

Are you listening or are you thinking? … Are you listening or are you waiting to be listened to?

Is there a significant difference between the two? Are you free? Do you make your own decisions?

Are you aware that you make decisions constantly and was the last decision you made the right one?

If you made the decision on how you really felt within, then it was the right one.

If it took you to the wrong place, then you were there for a very good reason and it will probably seem the right place only when you finally leave it.

A perfect life situation only looks that way from the outside looking in.

Do we ever get anywhere in life or are we always going somewhere?

Our task is to evolve. Time is the key to our happiness.

Time is the key to our sadness. Time is everything… Time is like a silent god.

But aren’t they all silent? Do you realize that sadness is a power?

It is the power that gives you happiness. We have to know what grief is, to enjoy the feeling of completeness.

People are the most significant cause of our happiness, and sadness.

We can’t read up on our life’s lessons, we have to live them.

People, are like volatile chemicals: bring them together, and you will always get a chemical reaction of which the full result can never be pre-determined.

We can’t declare love or name it, we breathe it in like the air we had nothing to do with creating. Love is an emotion we can feel and experience: pain, joy, despair, sorrow, fear … love is, not one thing but many.

Do you love yourself?

Do you love anyone?

Does anyone love you?

Did you ever wonder…

… Why?

© Ryan Koriya

————————————————————————-

When I was about 17 years old and growing up in Zimbabwe, I wrote the words above, they just came out, introspective and questioning life, like most of the writing I did as a teenager, and still do. These words however, nearly didn’t make it past a few minutes of existence, but they did, thanks to Hemal…

I was visiting one of my best friends, Hemal, who lived a road away from me in Belvedere and we cycled to Prince Edward school together everyday, (till we were over 16 then Hemal drove to school. I had a driver’s licence but wasn’t fortunate enough to have a family car at my disposal). Nor did we have a computer at home, which is why I was sitting at the desk top (tower) computer in Hemal’s dining room one day. We studied computer science at school and I would practice my typing skills when I had the chance. A, S, D, F, G etc.

I would therefore sit at Hemal’s computer (his dad’s computer really), and just type out random nonsense to work on my typing speed. After accumulating said nonsense, I would delete it all and log out.  One day, Hemal took a peek over my shoulder at my nonsense of the day and said…

Dude, I hope you’re not going to delete that! It’s awesome!

I’d never really thought of keeping my digital ramblings since I didn’t own a computer and I’m sure those were the days of CD-ROM or stiffy drives. But saved it I did! I may have just emailed it to my Yahoo account using the dial up connection they had. I do wonder what other gems I deleted various times before that day.

The funny thing is even after all this time, I still keep finding myself coming back to various bits of this written work when in deep and meaningful conversations with people. I imagine I will one day use parts of it in my songs or maybe do a ‘Sunscreen’ type mantra to a cool dance beat. lol

Ryan

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The Magic Of Berlin:

The first time I ever saw Berlin was for three quick days in August 2013. I had heard so many great things about this Bohemian city and after spending a whole month in Amsterdam whilst touring the Netherlands, it was time!

I took a train from Amsterdam to Berlin (en route to Denmark for the first time) and only a few steps from getting off the train, this is how I knew it was going to be special!

I was on my way up some escalators in this massive bee hive of a grand station that is Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof when I heard a loud voice over some kind of loud system. A man booming away in German, not the kind to possibly be talking about train timetables or suspicious unattended baggage, then my eyes raised up above the floor level to reveal what was a spectacular first sight…

Berlin

Berlin

A woman sitting on a chair in the middle of the station floor, starting to play the cello in between her legs as a single couple danced the Tango. This scene was enveloped by a whole choir framed by a specially built makeshift structure. The choir then broke up into Tangoing couples shimmying across the station floor!

Berlin

If this is my introduction to Berlin, I’m in love already!!!

I ended up watching this whole affair for about an hour before going to address my hunger issues. Mind you, this was stumbled upon at about 11pm.

(See more of my colourful Berlin photos by clicking here)

Berlin

My train had arrived about two hours late I think it was. Talking about German efficiency, they seemed quite embarrassed by the whole thing and I was even reimbursed some of my ticket by filling in the forms that were handed out as we arrived into town. I went on to have a superb three days of music, connecting with people and learning about this new playground I’d discovered.

So it wasn’t any surprise that the following Spring, I was back in Berlin, just fresh from releasing my first-ever single Ghostrider from my temporary base in The Netherlands, having run out of funds and no success with any of the few connections I tried to make with the local scene. Things tick over a lot slower in Holland, time I just didn’t have, and I was sure my best bet was to get to Berlin to tap into some of that magic! All I had to use as a wand was my guitar, my voice and the last 20 Euros in my pocket. Just to clarify, when I say ‘twin bed’ I mean two separate beds on either side of the room…

Captain’s Log | May 25, 2014:

 

For the record, this was the lowest point of my 2014 but I lived to tell the tale and to keep the music going. After that initial ‘excitement’, by day three, things started to come together…

Room in Berlin
This was the magical room, which I ended up renting while I was living in Berlin.

Captain’s Log 2 | May 25, 2014:

 

I had managed to stay upright and proved Berlin was a better bet for a more Bohemian approach. I had just handed over the clock position to Stephen who is one of our Berlin musicians, sat back and enjoyed the show…

Berlin
The World Clock at Alexanderplatz in Berlin

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