Meet The Women In My Life – Part 13 – Raquel

Since International Women’s Day, (which was the 8th of March 2019), I’ve been sharing one interview a day.

To celebrate them, I’ve interviewed the women in my life to share their perspective on things. I included parents, siblings, cousins, aunties and even friends.

It’s no secret that we live in a male-dominated global culture and women are often at the shorter end of the stick, especially when they are more than capable to do what men can do in society, and often more! People are people, regardless of gender.

The coin does flip both ways so I look forward to doing one for the guys too.

Today’s interview is with a special lady I met in Zimbabwe. She had come over to spend six months improving her English (yes, in Zimbabwe, where the language is indeed widely spoken). We got on very well and thus began a beautiful relationship. Meet Raquel…

Be proud of the woman you are. Make your wishes come true… The secret is to believe in yourself, then the magic really starts to happen

Interviews coming each day for a month so make sure to subscribe, options found to the right or in the menu above, (or at the very bottom on phone browsers).

Women's Day 2019 - Raquel Contador

I’ve asked all the ladies the same questions and this is what they had to say…

Raquel Contador

Current location: Madrid, Spain

Born in: Barcarrota, Badajoz, Spain

Raquel Contador - 35 - Hospitality School Director and Food Blogger
Raquel Contador – 35 – Hospitality School Director and Food Blogger

What makes you a woman?

Well, my physiology makes me a woman. In this sense, I am so sensitive – not just because I am a woman, hehe. I also like to feel comfortable with my look, and to dress well.

Raquel in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe
Raquel in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe

Who is one of the women you respect the most and why?

Well, firstly my grandmother, she is great and she teaches me a lot about values in this life. Moreover, she is very positive and much younger inside and I love it. On the other hand, I really appreciate the hard working women with families and with jobs… I don’t know how they manage these two!!!

If you were a man, what do you think life would be like as compared to now?

As a guy, I think life would be more simple and I would feel more confident in some ways.

Raquel having a great time on a cultural exchange in, Bradenton, Florida
Raquel having a great time on a cultural exchange in, Bradenton, Florida

What do you struggle with the most in life?

Well I am so happy with myself just now. A lot of work to be done within although I’ve had a lot of experiences.

I don’t like people who use others just as a means to get ahead. Unfortunately, it’s happening a lot. I like honest people who make life easier for others and who make people smile.

Raquel Contador in Bradenton USA at a tapas meeting
Raquel in Bradenton USA at a tapas meeting

What do you enjoy the most in life?

I like the Little things… I love surprises and spending time with people with light and good energy. A glass of wine, a sunset and a good chat, or just “feeling” things that make me want to dance… You know hehe! Plus I love reading, engaging in real conversations and when life is in flow.

Raquel and me in London
Raquel and me in London

What one thing would you like to tell all the women out there?

Be proud of the woman you are. Make your wishes come true… The secret is to believe in yourself, then the magic really starts to happen.

Raquel hanging out with the ladies in Zimbabwe
Raquel out with the ladies in Zimbabwe
Raquel Contador on a trip to Washington and New York
Raquel on a trip to Washington and New York

What one thing would you like to tell all the men out there?

I think men are lucky because things are simpler in a good way and in a number of ways. They should try more to support the ladies as a family and as workmates.

What is your dream?

Easy! My dream is to continue living life as a gift everyday, and I would like to find someone to keep “tasting” life with, to share the magical times with. Well… Maybe, to get a chef boyfriend  who can “make my foodie ideas real” hehehe!

Raquel at work in Madrid
Raquel at work in Madrid with her food and hospitality students

Anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to say that one of the best things to happen to me was to live in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. This trip helped me a lot to have another view of life. There, I learnt to live and appreciate “every day” to say yes to the spontaneous things and take in every moment as if it was the last thing in my life. To meet you Ryan was so important in my life and I am so happy to be interviewed by you and having you in my life.

Raquel and me in Copenhagen Denmark
Raquel and me in Copenhagen Denmark

Check out Raquel’s cool foodie blog here

Thanks Raquel xo

Don’t miss this whole month’s Women’s Day special and get sent the next interview by subscribing to the right side of this page (or at the very bottom on phone browsers) or by clicking here

Share the love 🙂

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.

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

Share the love 🙂

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:

Signup by email on and get insider access to my adventure of a lifetime!


The African Alchemist

Share the love 🙂

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

Tasi Lightfoot
Connor Davis

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)

Share the love 🙂

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.

Victoria Falls by Tom Varley (

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!

Share the love 🙂

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…


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)

Share the love 🙂