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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Something She Said Really Hit Home!

Okay, let me set the scene:

It’s about August 2012 and I’m living at a backpacker’s lodge called Shoestrings in stunning Victoria Falls Zimbabwe. I am renting a twin room for myself and spend my days recording using my makeshift bedroom studio. The sun is bright and the energy is potent. This is also where Exsouliation this blog’s theme song was recorded…

Studio1

I had moved back to Zimbabwe to record material, knowing it would benefit from the more positive ‘sun-filled’ energy of home seeing as my songs in London were turning out to be quite depressing with all the uphill battles I had to face when recording my first demo in an abandoned hospital building in Fitzrovia. Plus I really struggle with the British Winters!

The plan was to record in Zimbabwe for about six months… I had now been there for nearly two and a half years! My laptop died shortly after arriving in 2010 and it took me 11 months to save up for this new one pictured above, but that’s another story.

Something She Said Really Hit Home!

I was dating a lovely Spanish girl who was in Victoria Falls for six months to improve her English (now there’s a sentence a lot of people will find surprising, talking about how Zimbabweans do indeed speak English very well) 😉

Fast forward to the European Summer of 2013, we are now living in London and she says to me (paraphrasing a little)…

Last year when I was still getting to know you in Victoria Falls, I thought, I must be dating a mad man! You sat there in your little room by your computer on which you were recording a supposed new EP, tinkering away everyday. You had about  US$20  to your name and then you tell me with a straight face….

‘My plan is to complete my EP, and release it by the end of the year then play an EP Launch here in Victoria Falls and in Harare (the capital). Next, I will fly back to London to assemble my first UK backing band, play an EP launch gig there (and now being on an EU passport), I’d love to go and check out places like Holland, Germany and hopefully go play at a close friend’s wedding in Australia in January’…

… I was amazed! How could you possibly think any of this is doable considering your current circumstances? Then, I watched you go and do literally everything you set out to do! It’s amazing how optimistic, passionate, resourceful and driven you are! So inspirational!

She made me realise how I’m so used to having to manifest so much from the seemingly impossible, otherwise, I’d have stopped being a musician years ago! It just doesn’t work on paper!

I had just come back from being in Australia for three months, to play at my friend’s wedding and then went travelling down the East Coast.

I had finished the EP in Zimbabwe, pressed the CDs, played a few launch shows and composed an original soundtrack which all helped fund my flight back to London in late November. By mid December, I was in Holland for the first time and by mid January, I was in Australia for the first time. I then went on to play in Belgium, Spain, Germany, Denmark all for the first time and also returned to the US later that year (having been there for the first time in 2009 to have my hopes dashed). By Christmas, I was back in Zimbabwe and about to do it all again a second time in 2014! The music train was back on track!

On January the 24th 2014, I landed in London and started my audio diary…

Captain’s Log | January 24, 2014:

(PS: My younger brother has told me that he did get to fly to Botswana once)

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