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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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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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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How Said Name Was Birthed:

Sky Divers

Where to begin? … with the name of course.

African Astronauts:

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!”

CAP3B

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

Ryan Koriya | Ghostrider (Deep-Space Edit):

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.

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